Brazil Serie A - Brasileirao Report: Week 30 (Oct 15-16)
Corinthians and Vasco da Gama share league leadership in exciting Brazilian title race.
The race for the 2011 Brazilian championship is hotting up, as after 30 rounds of the championship, five sides are still in the running for the title. Corinthians remain top of the table on the same points as second-placed Vasco da Gama, while Botafogo, Flamengo and Fluminense are all close by.
Unlike in past seasons, four of the top five clubs are based in Rio de Janeiro, however, Sao Paulo's Corinthians must surely be considered the team to beat, after having claimed 16 victories from 30 matches up until now.
The stakes are high but there will only be enough room for one winner. Will Corinthians be able to hold onto their advantage, or will one of the Rio-based sides end up victorious?
Flamengo leaped into fourth-place of the Brazilian championship, after edging Ceara 1-0 in a controversial encounter that saw three men sent-off, including former World Player of the Year Ronaldinho. 'Dinho' was dismissed for a tussle with Heleno, who was also ejected in the 50th minute. Ceara were reduced to nine-men late on in the match, after Osvaldo received a second yellow card.
Deivid had given Flamengo the lead in the 40th minute, a goal that ended up deciding the match in favour of Brazil's most popular club, allowing them to remain in the hunt for the title.
Corinthians continue to lead the championship with 54 points, after beating Cruzeiro 1-0 at the Arena do Jacare stadium on Sunday. The only goal of the match arrived in the 64th minute when Paulinho beat Cruzeiro goalkeeper Fabio with a well-placed right-sided shot from just inside of the area.
To the relief of Corinthians, Cruzeiro's Argentine playmaker Walter Montillo wasted a penalty-kick - Montillo fired the ball way above the crossbar. Cruzeiro have struggled a great deal this season and find themselves only one point above the drop-zone.
The last time Corinthians won the Brazilian championship was in 2005, by the hand of now-Manchester City outcast Carlos Tevez. According to recent reports Corinthians could land the Argentine international by the end of the season.
At the Engenhao stadium, Botafogo proved too strong for relegation candidates Atletico Paranaense, with a 2-0 win, thanks to a goal in each half from Antonio Carlos, in the 16th minute, and from Sebastian Abreu, ten minutes from full-time. Abreu slotted home a penalty-kick, to increase the Uruguayans score tally to ten goals this season.
With the three points, Botafogo remain in third-place of the Brasileiro, only two points behind league leaders Corinthians and Vasco da Gama.
Vasco da Gama made light work of Atletico Mineiro with a comfortable 2-0 victory courtesy of goals from Elton and Fagner, in the 2nd and 18th minute, respectively. With the win Vasco remain level on points with league leaders Corinthians, but with an inferior goal differential.
Having only returned to the Brazilian top-flight last year, Vasco have been in stunning form and are one of the main contenders to win the title, their last having come in the year 2000. Earlier in the year Vasco won the Copa do Brasil for the first time, when they beat Coritiba in the final.
Brazilian Championship - Round 30 Results
Ceara 0 - 1 Flamengo
Figueirense 2 - 1 America
Botafogo 2 - 0 Atletico Paranaense
Cruzeiro 0 - 1 Corinthians
Internacional 4 - 2 Avai
Palmeiras 1 - 2 Fluminense
Santos 0 - 1 Gremio
Atletico GO 3 - 0 Sao Paulo
Coritiba 0 - 0 Bahia
Vasco 2 - 0 Atletico Mineiro