by Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – All four Rio clubs took maximum points in round fourteen of the Brasilerão 2010 at the weekend, with Flamengo finally scoring after a three-game drought, and Botafogo continued their surge up the table with an impressive away victory on Saturday. The good form continued into Sunday, with Vasco narrowly beating Grêmio Prudente in São Paulo and Fluminense soundly overcoming a weak Internacional side to increase their lead at the top of the table to four points.
It has been a great week for the Laranjeiras outfit, who were finally able to present new signing Deco to the media and over 40,000 fans at the Maracana Stadium. The Portuguese international midfielder, on a reported R$750,000 per month, should be fit for round fifteen next week.
Flamengo 1-0 Ceará
Flamengo finally managed to get on the score sheet, albeit from the penalty spot, after a run of three games without a goal. Club captain Petkovic scored on the stroke of half time in a game the Rubro Negro dominated in midfield, but again looked toothless in attack. Renato was the most creative player on the field for Mengão, but new signing Leandro Amaral, looking devoid of both full match fitness and confidence, spurned three good chances to give them the lead in the first half. Ceará started the second period brightly, and Marcelo Lomba had to make two smart saves in the first fifteen minutes to maintain the home side’s lead, but the visitors faded, and the defending champions saw the game out with their slender lead under little pressure.
Atlético-GO 0-2 Botafogo
Botafogo jumped into third place for 24 hours with a comfortable victory over bottom side Atlético-GO. The trio of Somalia, Maicosuel and Jobson were in scintillating form, and linked up expertly throughout the game to cause countless problems for their hosts. After pressing for the first half, Botafogo reaped the dividends of their sustained pressure early in the second half when Somalia neatly finished off a pacy team move. Jobson made sure of the points ten minutes from time after being set up by playmaker Maicosuel.
Grêmio Prudente 1-2 Vasco
Vasco are a different proposition after the World Cup break, and their purple patch shows no sign of ending after an excellent display against Grêmio Prudente earned them another three points. By the time Vasco went 1-0 up in the eighth minute, courtesy of an Eder Luis half-volley, Felipe and Zé Roberto had already spurned great chances to give them the lead. Once in the lead, Vasco continued to play the better football and when João Vitor equalized for the hosts on the hour mark it was completely against the run of play. However, ten minutes from time Vasco were awarded a penalty after Jonathan was blatantly felled in the area. Nilton saw his spot kick saved, but he managed to score from the follow up to take the points back to São Januário.
Fluminense 3-0 Internacional
Muricy Ramalho’s men continued their quest for the Brasilerão title with a comprehensive 3-0 win in the Maracanã on Sunday afternoon. Inter coach Celso Roth had one eye on the Copa Libertadores final this week and decided to field a weakened side, a decision that looked foolish after just twenty-two minutes by which time Mariano and Washington had already given Fluminense a two goal lead. Internacional looked like they would rather be somewhere else all afternoon, and it was little surprise when Emerson Sheik finished off Conca’s pass to seal victory and a four point lead at the top of the table.