By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Vasco Da Gama recorded two crucial wins to put breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone last week, whilst at the top, Fluminense stayed ahead of Corinthians with help from neighbours Botafogo, and Flamengo earned two precious draws.
Vasco 3-1 Santos
Vasco put in a masterful performance on Tuesday evening to beat Santos despite missing five first team players. Fagner put them into the lead on the half hour after an incisive pass from Eder Luis and as Santos pressed for an equalizer, a counter attack doubled Vasco’s lead, Rafael Coelho sweeping the ball home. With fifteen minutes to go, the home side were reduced to ten men when Jumar was given his marching orders and Santos looked like they might snatch a point when Danilo pulled a goal back, but Eder Luis wrapped up victory in injury time with a wonder goal, dribbling round three defenders before finishing.
Goiás 1-1 Flamengo
Deivid rescued a point for Flamengo on a rain soaked night after Flamengo’s defense leaked a sloppy goal as Leo Moura failed to clear his lines. Twelve minutes into the second half, Rafael Moura was dismissed for a dangerous lunge on Maldonado, and Flamengo came out of their shell. Deivid headed an easy chance wide before making amends in the 91st minute, equalizing from twenty yards.
Fluminense 1-0 Avaí
Many title winning teams have a beacon that shines in times of adveristy, and if Fluminense go all the way in the Brasilerão, no one will deserve more of the plaudits than Darío Conca. In a game of sparse quality that neither side deserved to win, the little Argentine again proved the difference and ensured his side took maximum points. Avaí worked hard to close down space whenever Flu looked threatening, but with eight minutes left, Conca found space in the box at a corner and shot into the top left hand corner.
Corinthians 1-1 Botafogo
Corinthians went ahead in just the second minute, Bruno César scoring with a stinging left footed effort, but halfway through the first half Botafogo were level, Loco Abreu rising to head home Herrera’s cross for his sixth goal in as many games. After the restart, Herrera thought he had given the visitors the lead, latching onto a loose ball to finish calmly, but the linesman wrongfully ruled out the goal for offside and the game ended 1-1.
Vasco 3-2 Goiás
Vasco twice fought back from a goal down to beat the visitors. Felipe gave Goiás the lead after he was allowed to run into the area and unleash a vicious shot. Eder Luis, who has been in inspirational form of late, then leveled for Vasco, but they fell behind again when Jones scored after intelligent build up play from Valmir Lucas. In the second half Vasco continued to pummel the Goiás door until it finally gave way, Max equalizing with an angled shot across goalkeeper Harlei. With ten minutes to go Zé Roberto won the game after Eder Luis picked him out with an astute pass.
Grêmio Prudente 1-1 Fluminense
Rodriguinho gave Flu the lead on 33 minutes after Conca crossed from the left. The striker met the ball beautifully, smashing home from twelve yards. He should have doubled his side’s advantage on the hour when he was through on goal, but shot straight at keeper Giovanni and the miss was punished after 72 minutes, when Willian was given the space on the right side of the penalty area to shoot into the bottom left hand corner of the goal.
Botafogo 1-1 Flamengo
A slow game sprung into life late in the first half when Lúcio Flávio gave Botafogo the lead with a magnificent curling free kick from 25 yards. Flamengo responded in earnest, Renato forcing Jefferson into a smart save just before the break but Botafogo started the second period brightly, Loco Abreu and Alessandro both missing good chances to double the lead. Alessandro’s night was to go from bad to worse after he felled Angelim in the area and was dismissed and though Petkovic missed the spot kick, Leo Moura followed up to equalize.