By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense surrendered first place in the league after a disappointing draw against lowly Goiás. Round 35 was a bad week for all Carioca sides, not one managing a victory in the 40th season of the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, which began on May 8th and is scheduled to end on December 5th.
Botafogo and Vasco drew ties, while Flamengo, who enjoyed a resurgence of form when Vanderlei Luxemburgo joined the club as coach, were brought crashing back down to earth with a humbling lose to relegation threatened Atlético-MG.
Ceará 2-2 Botafogo
Botafogo kissed goodbye to any chance they had of winning the national title after this stalemate in the Castelão. Loco Abreu bagged a brace, but replies from Magno Alves and Geraldo crushed Botafogo fans’ dreams.
The visitors dominated the early stages, keeping the ball well in midfield while their hosts chased shadows. In the eleventh minute, an excellent team move was finished off by Loco Abreu to give Botafogo the lead. Ceará almost drew level immediately, Jefferson saving superbly from first Magno Alves and then Márcio Rosário, before Alves finally restored parity.
And the hosts went in at the break a goal ahead after Geraldo rose above Jefferson to steer in Marcelo Nicácio’s cross. Botafogo started the second period brightly, and some excellent footwork from Jobson opened up a clear goal scoring opportunity, only for the striker to drag his shot wide. But Loco Abreu popped up again just before the hour mark, carrying the ball from the midfield before equalizing from fifteen yards.
Atlético-MG 4-1 Flamengo
Flamengo were thrashed in Minas Gerais as Atlético kept their survival hopes alive. Obina got the rout underway, converting Renan’s shot after Marcelo Lomba parried. And a rash moment from the Flamengo goalkeeper allowed Atlético to double their lead. Rushing off his line, Renan Oliveira poked the ball round him and rolled the ball into the empty net.
Flamengo failed to attack cohesively, and were reduced to wild long range efforts, before Brazil international Diego Tardelli put the result beyond any doubt with an effort from the edge of the area. Renan Oliveira added a fourth goal to the board before Marquinhos scored a consolation for the 2009 champions.
Fluminense 1-1 Goiás
Fluminense rescued a point after falling behind at the Engenhão, but it wasn’t enough to keep them top. Deco and Conca, marked rigorously by Carlos Alberto and Amaral, were given precious little opportunity to stamp any authority on the game. As a result, Fred, starting his first game for four months, was denied the service he craves.
Rafael Moura gave Goiás the lead after nineteen minutes, getting goal-side of Leandro Euzébio to head past Ricardo Berna. Fred’s rustiness was there to see, as he missed two good chances in the second half to bring the scores level. But seven minutes from time, the Tricolor got the break their perseverance merited. Diguinho was tripped in the box, and Conca scored from the spot.
Vasco 1-1 São Paulo
It was honors even in an exciting game at São Januário stadium. The first half was an open affair, and both Fernando Prass and Rogério Ceni were forced into sprawling action within the first ten minutes. Vasco’s Eder Luis submitted a contender for miss of the season, heading over from almost underneath the cross bar.
However, he made amends on the hour mark with a fine curling effort from 25 yards that gave Ceni no chance. Seven minutes later, São Paulo were level when Lucas Gaúcho nipped in between two Vasco defenders to steer home a cross. Zé Roberto had another great chance to win it for the home side in injury time, but he blazed over.