By Jayme Monsanto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Saturday was a prolific day for the Carioca teams in the Brasileirão. Both Flamengo and Fluminense were victorious in their showdowns against São Paulo and Santo André, and on Thursday, Botafogo defeated Atlético MG.
With these results, Flamengo inched closer to the G4 group (the top four teams in the ranking, who earn a spot in the Libertadores da América competition). Botafogo moved one step out of the relegation zone and Fluminense left the lanterna, the last position of the table, but is still in great danger of being relegated to Série B.
Flamengo 2 x 1 São Paulo
Despite the rainy day, 60,000 rubro-negro (ruby-black) fans packed the Maracanã stadium on Saturday to witness Flamengo’s match against São Paulo. Many expected the Carioca team to be defeated, since São Paulo is the current national champion and Flamengo weren’t able to count on key-player Adriano, who was on duty with the Brazilian national team.
They seemed to be right in the first half, as São Paulo started the scoring with a goal by Hernanes in the 25th minute. Flamengo’s reaction came only in the second half, when Toró suffered a foul inside the goalbox in the 55th minute. Petkovic took the penalty kick and missed it, as goalkeeper Rogério Ceni caught the ball. The referee said there was a violation of the rules and commanded them to repeat the penalty kick. This time, Petkovic didn’t waste his chance and scored.
The tiebreaker goal came only in the 35th minute, when Petkovic armed an offensive play. The Serbian player passed the ball to his teammate, striker Zé Roberto, who scored.
Fluminense 2 x 1 Santo André
Fluminense defeated Santo André in a clash of two clubs currently fighting against relegation. The Carioca team started ahead, scoring two goals in the first half. Alan was responsible for the first in the twentieth minute. Fred scored the second, ending a three and a half month drought with a penalty kick in the 44th minute.
In the second half, Santo André’s coach Sérgio Soares made some substitutions which improved the team’s performance and almost changed the outcome of the match. In the fifteenth minute, Camilo (one of the substitutes) scored with a header. After that, Santo André tried desperately to score the equalizer, but Fluminense managed to sustain the pressure until the ninetieth minute.
Botafogo 3 x 1 Atlético-MG
Before this match, Botafogo had been stuck in the relegation zone for eight consecutive rounds. Its opponent, Atlético-MG was in the fourth position in the ranking chart, so everyone had been expecting a Carioca defeat, and a humiliating one at that.
Incredibly, Botafogo trampled the Mineiro team, opening a 3-0 advantage still in the first half. The goals were scored by André Lima, Lúcio Flávio and Reinaldo, in the 8th, 12th and 32nd minutes, respectively.
In the second half, Atlético-MG diminished the Carioca lead, scoring in the nineteenth minute, with a penalty kick.