By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Vasco’s battle to stay afloat in the Brasileirão Serie ‘A’ continued yesterday afternoon with a comfortable 2-0 win over Náutico at the Maracanã. The team remain in the relegation zone with one round remaining but could escape if they beat Atlético-PR and other results go in their favor.
Over 55,000 fans supported the Cruz-Maltino as the club took one more step towards what looked at one point a nigh-on impossible task. However, they were not given a helping hand as relegation rivals Criciúma, Coritiba and Bahia all picked up three points as well.
Vasco da Gama raced out of the blocks and went ahead after only five minutes, Edmilson scoring from the rebound after Yotún’s long range effort came back off the crossbar. Náutico had long since given up hope of staying amongst the Brazilian elite and offered little resistance to a determined Vasco outfit.
After such an early strike, the expectation in the stands was a thrashing, but it never materialized. Edmilson and Cris went close to doubling the lead but Ricardo Berna saved, leaving Vasco with a nerve-wracking second 45 minutes ahead of them.
Again they started quickly, Yotún forcing Berna into action again to keep the score at 1-0. The Vascaínos asked for Bernardo to enter and coach Adílson Batista duly obliged, substituting Marlone.
It would turn out to be a masterstroke with the number 31 scoring Vasco’s second four minutes from time, taking Vasco’s fight to the final round. They may not make it and the odds are stacked against them, but they have shown backbone against a string of adversities this year.
Elsewhere, Botafogo’s Copa Libertadores ambitions were dealt a massive blow as the club lost 2-1 to Coritiba. Deivid and Alex put Coritiba 2-0 up before Bruno Mendes pulled one back for the Glorioso.
Another Carioca outfit, Flamengo, suffered a Copa do Brasil hangover, losing 4-2 away to Vitória. The result leaves the Salvador club with a remote chance of Libertadores qualification.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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