By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Two of the top teams in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (Brasileirão) faced off at Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre last night with third-place Flamengo falling 2-1 to second-place club, Internacional in the 23rd round of the Brasileirão.
It’s a tumultuous time for the Rubro-Negra with head man Maurício Barbieri already under fire before last night’s match after the club’s ouster from the Copa Libertadores at the hands of fellow Brazilian club, Cruzeiro, last week, and their most recent loss to Ceará on home soil at Maracanã Stadium on Sunday, September 2nd.
Meanwhile, Inter is riding high having kept seven consecutive clean-sheets in the Brasileirão and not conceding a goal since their 2-1 defeat to América-MG back on July 26th. The club from Porto Alegre is second in the division standings and fans are already envisioning hoisting the Brasileirão championship trophy.
Inter drew first blood early last night when Pottker got behind three Flamengo defenders in the goal area and banged home the game’s first goal. Flamengo stayed aggressive but could not get on the scoreboard in the first period.
In the second, Inter lost two great chances to blow the game open but a missed shot and a great save from Flamengo keeper Diego Alves kept the Rubro-Negra in the match.
At the 57th minute, Flamengo scored the equalizer when Vitinho launched a long-range rocket that clanged off the crossbar and into the net.
But, Flamengo fans wouldn’t have long to celebrate as only two minutes later, off a corner kick, Inter’s Rodrigo Dourado rose between a sea of Flamengo defenders to score the eventual game-winning goal.
With the 2-1 loss, Flamengo dropped to fourth in the standings with 41 points, two points behind Palmeiras. With 46 points, Internacional surged to the top of the standings sharing the top spot with São Paulo.