By Lisa Flueckiger, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Ronaldinho Gaúcho has played his highly anticipated first game for new club Fluminense and led the team to victory when he initiated the play that led to the only goal of the game against Gremio at the Maracanã on Saturday, August 1st. Fluminense is now in the top three of the Brasileirão Série A table just behind Atlético-MG and Corinthians.
Fluminense fans were looking forward to the first game of the former Brazilian national team player and had to wait several weeks after the announcement of the signing of the player, who came from Mexican club Querétaro.
In the match against Gremio, a battle for a spot in the G-4 of the table for the winning club, Ronaldinho made his debut playing the full ninety minutes. However, his display in the first half was modest, with him playing more of an attacking role.
In the second half, after he had moved to a central midfield position and Gremio had lost a player due to a red card, Ronaldinho reverted back to his old style of play on occasion.
The only goal of the game was initiated by a wide flank from the former Brazilian national player on to fellow new Flu player Wellington Paulista, who found Marcos Júnior in the box. Marcos Júnior headed the ball past Gremio goal keeper Tiago for the 1-0 final score.
Fellow Rio de Janeiro club Flamengo didn’t have as much luck. The rubronegro were leading their game against Santos with 2-0, but became sloppy towards the end of the game. Fla had to concede two goals from Santos and only draw their game 2-2.
Flamengo therefore remains in the middle of the table at the eleventh spot with twenty points. They already have nine points difference to the last of the G-4, Sport from Recife.
On the other side of the table, Vasco da Gama is sinking lower and lower. The cruzmaltinos lost their game of the weekend against Corinthinas with 0-3 and are now second but last. They share the number of points with fellow lanternas (lantern, usually the last of the table) Joinville and Coritiba.
In the Série B, Botafogo drew the match against Luverdense on Saturday, but remain leader with thirty points. The club from Rio is now two points ahead of second placed Vitoria, as well as Bahia, América-MG and Nautico, all with 28 points. The alvinegro, who changed their coach last week, therefore will not have much room for slip-ups in the next game if they want to remain in the top spot.