By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo continued their good form under new boss Vanderlei Luxemburgo with a comprehensive victory over title chasing Internacional on Saturday evening. The 2009 champions have now earned seven points in their new coach’s first three games in charge, and have brushed off any threat of relegation.
Vasco suffered mixed fortunes, beating Corinthians in midweek before falling to lowly Atlético-GO on Sunday afternoon. And on Sunday evening, Fluminense and Botafogo faced off in a Rio derby in the Engenhão. However, the stalemate served no good for either side, putting a dent in Fluminense’s chase for the league and Botafogo’s pursuit of a Copa Libertadores qualifying spot.
ROUND XIII (game originally postponed for Corinthians’ centenary celebrations)
Vasco 2-0 Corinthians
Vasco dealt a massive blow to Corinthians, and in turn gave a helping hand to neighbors Fluminense, with a comfortable victory in São Januário on Wednesday night. Vasco started the game at a quick tempo, and had already tested Júlio César in the Corinthians goal twice before taking the lead in the tenth minute. Carlinhos, given time and space on the left hand side, curled in a venomous cross, and Zé Roberto was left unmarked to give Vasco the lead.
Cortinthians barely had time to assess their situation before it had gotten twice as worse. Felipe, who put in a man of the match performance, picked out Eder Luis with a weighted through pass, and the striker shot with his left foot into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. The second half resembled something of an exhibition match, with the hosts in cruise control, and Corinthians never getting back into the game.
Flamengo 3-0 Internacional
The Rubro-Negro brushed aside Internacional to secure their biggest win in the league this year. The side has seen a tactical reshuffle since Luxemburgo’s arrival; they take fewer risks in the middle, and counter attack with cat like precision. The first half saw the visitors dominate possession but go in at the break 2-0 down after goals from Deivid and Renato.
Flamengo’s first came from the penalty spot after Deivid was felled in the area before getting up to tuck away the kick. Their second was nothing short of spectacular, when Bolivar was robbed by Deivid, who in turn fed mifielder Renato to rifle home from the edge of the area. Internacional were barely given time to regroup for the second half, and within 40 seconds of the restart Deivid had wrapped up the points, Renato this time repaying the favor with the assist.
Atlético-GO 2-0 Vasco
Anailson and goalkeeper Márcio gave Atlético-GO a surprise victory over Vasco on Sunday afternoon as Carlinhos saw red for Vasco. Neither side looked convincing in front of goal, and the game had 0-0 written all over it, until ten minutes from time when a rare error from Vasco goalkeeper Fernando Prass gifted Anailson an empty net. The striker almost apologetically rolled the ball home. As Vasco pushed for an equalizer, they were caught on the counter in the 87th minute, and defender Dedé tripped Anailson in the area. Goalkeeper Márcio scored the resulting spot kick to secure victory for the hosts.
Fluminense 0-0 Botafogo
A game of few chances ended goalless on Sunday evening in the Engenhão. Fluminense welcomed back striker Emerson Sheik, in such prolific form before a thigh injury ruled him out for the last month, but he had a quiet game as service to the front was muted. Washington missed the game’s best chance, inexplicably deciding to try and chip Jefferson in the Botafogo goal when it looked like a powerful drive would see the ball hit the back of the net. Botafogo looked even less creative, and as the game neared its end their players resorted to desperate tactics, with both Caio and Antônio Carlos booked for diving.