By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio’s big four clubs returned to the pitch this past weekend in the Campeonato Brasileiro (Brasileirão) Série A, round six, with mixed results: Flamengo drew with Vasco 1-1 in a wild match that featured four ejections, Botafogo lost 1-0 to América-MG, and Fluminese defeated Atlético-PR 2-0.
Maracanã was the site of the grudge match of the weekend as Flamengo faced off against longtime rivals Vasco. An exciting first half saw Vinícius Júnior score the game’s first goal off a rebound at the 13-minute mark. Moments later, Vasco would draw even thanks to a Wagner header at the 17th minute.
A fast-paced first period was brought to a halt in the second period as Vasco appeared to take its foot off the gas pedal, content to play for the tie. Sub-par performances from Flamengo’s Diego and Paquetá would lead to the inevitable 1-1 draw.
The memorable moment of the game came in stoppage time when a heated confrontation broke out between both clubs after Riascos shoved Éverton Ribeiro in the back. The skirmish resulted in two red cards for each side and the expulsions of Rhodolfo and Cuellar for Flamengo and Riascos and Breno for Vasco.
It was a much tamer affair in Belo Horizonte as Botafogo played a game it would soon like to forget against América-MG. The Fogão showed little life in Sunday’s match, with a single goal from Juninho late in the second period enough to pull out the 1-0 win for América.
Finally, Maracanã would open its doors once again as Fluminense faced off against Atlético-PR. The Tricolor would draw first blood with a goal against. A rocket from Jadson was blocked by Atlético’s keeper but deflected off of Thiago Heleno and into the net at the 23rd minute. At the 35th minute, Flu would double the lead thanks to a Marcos Junior goal to seal the 2-0 win.
After the weekend’s action, Flamengo fell from first to second place in the table with eleven points. Fluminense is in fifth place with ten points. Vasco and Botafogo occupy the ninth and tenth positions respectively with eight points each.