By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense conceded top spot in the Brasilerão on Sunday following two straight defeats, whilst Flamengo recruited former Real Madrid boss Wandelrei Luxemburgo, who collected four points from his first two games. Botafogo and Vasco collected two draws a piece in Rounds 28 and 29.
Fluminense 0-3 Santos
Zé Eduardo scored a second half hat-trick on Wednesday night to sink Fluminense. With the score goalless at half-time, Tricolor fans were jubilant to see striker Fred appear for the second period. Yet he cut a peripheral figure as Zé Eduardo gave Fluminense the run around. The man of the match scored an acrobatic bicycle kick on 56 minutes before a magnificent angled volley, and he took the match ball home following a simple tap-in third.
Guarani 1-1 Botafogo
Botafogo earned a point in Campinas after a game of little quality. Wingers Somália and Túlio Souza failed to dazzle, and the defense looked shaky, making several simple errors during the opening twenty minutes. It was no surprise when Botafogo fell behind to just such a lapse of concentration, and Barboza stole in to give the home side the lead. Loco Abreu equalised for Fogão on the stroke of half time, heading home Herrera’s cross.
Atlético-PR 0-0 Vasco
An excellent defensive display earned Vasco a draw in the Arena da Baixada against high flyers Atlético-PR. Paranaense were the more creative side, and Fernando Prass was forced into action on three occasions in the first half hour to keep them at bay. As the game wore on, the home team reverted to long ball tactics to try and break the deadlock, but to no avail.
Flamengo 2-0 Atlético-GO
The Rubro-Negro got off to the perfect start in Wanderlei Luxemburgo’s first game in charge. The quality in Flamengo’s passing saw a marked improvement, and the best chance of the first half fell to Willians, but he could only head over. Correa and Petkovic were formidable in the middle of the park, and the breakthrough came twenty minutes from time, when substitute Val Baiano met Marquinhos’ cross. With five minutes left, Diego Mauricio made sure of victory, finishing with his left foot.
Vasco 3-3 Grêmio
Vasco let a two goal advantage slip as they drew their fourteenth game of the season. On fifteen minutes Zé Roberto played the ball to Eder Luis, who calmly finished past goalkeeper Marcelo Gronhe, but the league’s leading scorer, Jonas, equalized for Grêmio before Cesinha gave Vasco the lead again on the stroke of half time. Midway through the second period Bastos made it 3-1, shooting from the edge of the area, but Grêmio fought back through Jonas and Gabriel, who equalized two minutes from time after a goalmouth scramble.
Botafogo 0-0 Palmeiras
Loco Abreu missed a penalty in a goalless draw as Botafogo went eight games without a win. Seven minutes into the game, Abreu’s shot struck the arm of Gabriel Silva, and the referee pointed to the spot. The Uruguayan stepped up, but sent his shot wide. Botafogo’s main threat came from Somália, as he picked out first Marcelo Cordeiro and then Loco Abreu, only for them to squander precious opportunities for maximum points.
Cruzeiro 1-0 Fluminense
Cruzeiro overtook Fluminense at the top of the Brasilerão with victory on Sunday afternoon. ‘Nense started brightly, as Conca shot from distance before Washington blazed over from close range. His wastefulness was punished after fourteen minutes, when Wellington Paulista rose above Gum to head in Montillo’s cross. Flu searched for an equalizer, coming close through Fernando Bob before Conca again threatened with his left foot, but this second successive setback was enough to see them slip from top spot.
Avaí 2-2 Flamengo
Two first half goals from Val Baiano were not enough to give Flamengo all three points in Florianópolis. Baiano gave Mengão the lead in the fourteenth minute after collecting Renato’s pass. The burly striker doubled the lead two minutes later when he picked up Renato’s cross and fired home. After the break, Emerson pulled a goal back for Avaí before Leo Moura was dismissed for the visitors. Two minutes later, Avaí were level through Pará, and the game ended in ugly fashion, with David and Rudinei sent off for Flamengo and Avaí respectively.