By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With only ten games remaining in the season, Rio’s top four football (soccer) clubs took the pitch this weekend in a slate of critical games as the 2017 Campeonato Brasileiro (Brasileirão) Série A entered round 28.
To start the weekend, two of Rio’s big four went head-to-head as Vasco defeated Botafogo 1-0. The next day, Fluminense earned a 1-0 victory over Avaí, while Flamengo downed Chapecoense in another 1-0 match.
The matchup was a scoreless stalemate until the 69th minute. Thirty-six-year-old midfielder Nenê broke the deadlock with a long-range shot into the bottom right corner to lead Vasco to the 1-0 victory over the Fogão.
The win lifted Vasco to eighth in the Brasileirão standings while Botafogo remained in the sixth position.
The following day (Sunday, October 15th), Maracanã opened its doors once again as Fluminense took on Avaí. It was an important matchup for both clubs as they teeter on the brink of relegation.
League-leading scorer Henrique Dourado came up big for Flu with the attacker knocking in the rebound after the Avaí keeper failed to secure the block. It was Dourado’s fifteenth goal in the Brasileirão to lead all scorers in the 2017 campaign.
With the 1-0 win, Fluminense jumped five spots in the standings to the eleventh position. Meanwhile, Avaí fell further into relegation abyss at eighteenth.
Capping off local action in round 28, Flamengo traveled to Chapecó to battle Chapecoense at Arena Condá. A late-game goal from Diego would give the Rubro-Negra the 1-0 win and keep the club in the hunt for the G-6.
As of writing, Flamengo stands seventh in the standings while the loss dropped Chapecoense close to relegation territory at sixteenth.
The top six teams in the Brasileirão Série A standings will secure a berth in next year’s Copa Libertadores, while the bottom four will be relegated to Série B in next year’s Brasileirão.