By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Vasco da Gama beat Criciúma 3-2 last night in the Campeonato Brasileiro at São Januário stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Juninho Pernambucano scored his second goal in as many games after resigning for the club to give coach Dorival Júnior successive victories in the league.

Vasco Win 3x2 in Brasileirão, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Juninho has made a successful return to Vasco da Gama, photo by Marcelo Sadio/Vasco Imagem.

The 38-year-old veteran Juninho opened the scoring on eight minutes with a trademark free kick, but was given a helping hand by goalkeeper Bruno. His long-range shot swerved but Bruno would be disappointed he did not avoid conceding.

São Januário erupted in elation at their idol. Buoyed by the crowd, Vasco upped the tempo, the visitors barely able to get near them during the opening half hour.

Éder Luís, Wendel and Rafael Vaz all had chances to double the Rio side’s lead but were thwarted by Bruno. As half-time approached Criciúma began to threaten on the counterattack, but Diogo Silva’s quick thinking in the Vasco goal prevented an equalizer.

Ten minutes after the restart, Vasco got their second and began to breathe a little easier. Another free kick, a different taker but the same result, and this time Rafael Vaz getting in on the act.

However, just six minutes later, Ivo gave a glimmer of hope to the visitors, Vasco retreated and on 71 minutes were punished. Diogo Silva failed to deal properly with a cross and Wellington Paulista was on hand to make the score 2-2. São Januário was silenced.

Their king rose once more. Juninho took another free kick and Edmilson, with his first touch of the game after coming on as a substitute, headed the winner.

Vasco now have thirteen points from nine games and sit in sixth place in the table. Their next match is against Goiás on Thursday.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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