By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Vasco fought from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Santos at the Maracanã in the Brasileirão. With Carioca rivals Fluminense losing to Corinthians, a point was enough to take the Cruz-Maltino out of the relegation zone as they battle to survive as Serie ‘A’ heats up.
Vasco fans filled the stadium and, despite the most dreadful of starts, never turned on the players. Club idol Juninho Pernambucano was forced to withdraw after only seven minutes and the side visibly lacked leadership on the pitch.
The game was quiet for the opening twenty minutes before suddenly bursting into life. Bruno Peres fired Santos into the lead on 22 minutes with an angled drive that beat Alessandro.
Before Vasco had time to regroup, they were two goals down. Montillo curled in a free-kick and Gustavo Henrique, unmarked, headed home.
Vasco hit back almost immediately through Edmílson and the fans responded. They took the game to Santos as the second half kicked-off and went close through Jhon Cley and Marlone.
Thirteen minutes from time, substitute André pulled Vasco level with a wonderful swivel and shot. The fans went wild and were in full celebration mode when the scoreboard displayed the score from the Corinthians-Fluminense game.
That was because a late Pato penalty gave Corinthians a narrow 1-0 win over Flu. The blow came in at the 90th minute and possibly spelling the end of Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s unsuccessful spell at the club, meant the team slipped into the relegation zone with only five rounds remaining.
Botafogo’s Libertadores quest took a blow after losing 2-1 away to Internacional. Jorge Henrique put Inter ahead just before the interval. Dória leveled but Jackson headed the winner early in the second half as the rails continue to come off Botafogo‘s season.
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