By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense comprehensively beat cannon fodder Atlético-GO 4-1 on Sunday evening to move into fifth place in the 2012 Campeonato Brasileirão. It proved a disappointing weekend for Rio’s three other clubs as Vasco, Flamengo and Botafogo all lost, as Cruzeiro took top spot after round six.
Cruzeiro reached the top by defeating Vasco 3-1 at São Januário on Saturday. For all their possession Vasco created next to nothing, while Cruzeiro were amazingly practical on the counter.
The game had been quiet until it exploded into life in the 40th minute. Argentine playmaker Montillo released a deadly accurate drive from the edge of the box which gave Prass no chance and Cruzeiro the lead.
Wellington Paulista’s delightful chip doubled the Minas side’s advantage in the second half but Rodolfo’s looping header put Vasco back in the game just two minutes later. There was to be no heroic comeback however; Tinga’s low cross was converted by Ramon to end Vasco hopes.
Things continue to go awry for Flamengo as they lost 2-0 to Grêmio. The Rubro-Negro played terribly and were completely controlled by their hosts as they suffered their first defeat of the competition.
Without a recognized number ten Vagner Love and Hernane remained in cold isolation in attack. Meanwhile, Grêmio seized the initiative. Marcelo Moreno opened the scoring on 32 minutes with a beautifully crafted goal. Picking up Souza’s low cross he cut past two defenders and goalkeeper Paulo Victor before finishing.
Joel Santana sent on Bottinelli for the second half but before he could have an effect Mengão were two down, Werley glancing in Edilson’s inswinging corner at the near post. With any more such spineless showings Santana could be the next to exit Gavea.
Botafogo frustrated their fans as they lost 2-1 to Ponte Preta at the Engenhão. Ponte’s counter-attacking scheme worked to perfection on fifteen minutes as Lucas’ through ball allowed Nikão to go past Jefferson and give the visitors the lead.
But the Alvinegro failed to respond until they were awarded a penalty just before the interval, which Andrezinho converted. The second half was more of the same with none of Botafogo’s playmakers managing to break down their stubborn opponents.
Botafogo created no danger and Ponte once again put their noses in front after Nikão provided for Ricardinho, who fired across Jefferson. Ponte deserved their snatch-and-grab three points; Fogão paid with a lack of imagination from a sterile midfield.
It was all smiles for Tricolores this weekend as Fluminense beat Atlético-GO 4-1. Flu had fallen behind early on but the turnaround leaves them just two points off Cruzeiro at the top.
Youngster Samuel scored his first goal for the club, equalizing after Ernandes’ beautiful ling-range effort had given the home side the lead. Samuel was also involved in Flu’s second.
He was fouled for the free-kick which Deco whipped in and Gum headed home. An own goal at the start of the second half gave Flu breathing space and from then on they coasted towards the finish post. In injury time Marcos Júnior was tripped in the area and Deco tucked away the resulting spot-kick to make it four.