Brasileiro: Round 3 Results
|Ponte Preta 2-2 Flamengo
Flamengo's first game post-Ronaldinho almost ended in an embarrassing defeat but a stoppage-time equaliser salvaged a point against newly-promoted Ponte Preta.
After a strong start going forward, a comedy of errors in defence, including a complete air shot by Magal, ended with Rene breaking the deadlock in the 15th minute. Both teams were playing attacking football and just before the half-hour mark Renato Abreu saw his free kick find the back of the net after an excellent run by Vagner Love to draw the foul.
The sodden conditions were making defending extremely hard and after Nikao's free kick was punched away by the keeper Joao Paulo arrowed in a wonderfully-caught volley. As Fla committed men forward they left themselves exposed at the back but their forward thinking paid off in the final minute. Negueba's cross from the left found Vagner Love who had freed himself of his marker to head the ball home and Roger was shown a red card for the hosts in the 95th minute.
It has been a hugely disappointing start as coach for Joel Santana and he has promised improved performances in the next two rounds with his side yet to win. Ponte Preta occupy 14th and will have been bitterly unsatisfied at sharing the spoils with the Rio de Janeiro club.
|Internacional 1-0 Sao Paulo
With Pablo Guinazu, Oscar and Leandro Damiao all absent Internacional manage to secure an excellent three points with a 1-0 win over Sao Paulo at the Beira-Rio.
Emerson Leao's side started the game positively and after Cicero saw his long-range free kick dribble narrowly wide of Muriel's goal, Fernandinho was thwarted by the keeper after using his pace to break past Nei and charge into the area. With 21 minutes on the clock the right-back went down after a soft challenge from Bruno Cortez. Andres D'Alessandro, making just his second appearance in six weeks due to injury, stepped up to take the free kick and found the top corner from just outside the box with a finish that belied his lack of match practice.
Both teams struggled to find the target but the Colorado's goal made them feature far more heavily in the action. Shortly after the restart Jesus Datolo threaded a defence-splitting pass to Dagoberto but he failed to test Denis as he stretched to make contact. Sao Paulo reacted by stepping up their attack but for all their talent they could not find a way through to the net. Inter could have nicked another goal on the counterattack but Marcos Aurelio sliced their best chance wide.
Dorival Junior will be pleased with his side's early season form without some of their key players while Leao really needs to turn the fortunes of his side around. Having invested heavily during the off-season results will be expected to turn around after just one win from their opening three matches.
|Vasco da Gama 4-2 Nautico
Vasco da Gama maintained their 100 per cent record with their third successive win coming against Nautico at the Sao Januario.
Having suffered elimination in the Copa Libertadores Cristovao Borges' side can concentrate solely on the Brasileirao and they set out to impose their superiority on the Recife-based opponents. Alecsandro slid home a clinical finish after 22 minutes to open the scoring before Felipe added another before the break with a fantastic strike from range after being allowed too much space on the ball.
Juninho Pernambucano put the game beyond Nautico when he burst between the defenders and slotted home from Diego Souza's cross, but Alexandre Gallo's side got a lifeline in the 67th minute when Martinez drilled into the bottom corner. It was short-lived though as just two minutes later Alecsandro finished off Felipe's exquisite dinked cross at the back post to restore the three-goal advantage. Araujo continued his positive start to the season with his second goal in three games as he rounded Fernando Prass and finished from an acute angle.
The result puts the Gigante de Colina at the top of the table on nine points while Nautico remain in the relegation zone and without a win this season.
|Santos 1-1 Fluminense
A host of Brazil's biggest names were absent as Santos and Fluminense split the points in a 1-1 draw at the Vila Belmiro.
Wason Renteria was given a rare start in the absence of Neymar but it paid dividends with just five minutes played. The Colombian beat Anderson to Edinho's pass on the half-way line and surged towards goal unopposed before clipping the ball over Diego Cavalieri and into the net. Twenty-two minutes later Fluminense equalised as Carlinhos won a penalty which he converted himself.
Carlinhos continued to provide a threat for Flu but it was Alan Kardec who came closest to changing the score with an acrobatic effort that flew wide. Samuel had a header ruled out for an incorrect offside later in the second half and the score seemed destined not to change.
Fluzao sit in sixth position but can look forward to welcoming players like Deco, Fred and Wellington Nem to the squad soon. Santos meanwhile have picked drawn all three of their matches this season but will be pleased given the absences of Neymar and Ganso due to their Copa Libertadores semi-final run.
|Best of the Rest
Hernan Barcos' emphatic strike was not enough for Palmeiras as they were sunk 2-1 away at Sport Recife. Gremio moved up to fifth position with a 1-0 win over Atletico Goianiense while Ronaldinho watched from the stands as his new club Atletico Mineiro drew 1-1 with Bahia. Everton Costa secured a 2-0 victory for Cortiba as they hosted Portuguesa and their Paulista rivals Corinthians also failed to take three points as they drew 1-1 with Figueirense. Three goals in six minutes from Cruzeiro saw them overturn a two-goal deficit to win their first game of the season 3-2 away at Botafogo.
|Player of the Round|
For the first time this season the accolade is not bestowed upon a Botafogo player but it does remain in Rio, this time with Felipe. The veteran midfielder displayed his supreme class as he controlled the middle of the park for Vasco da Gama. He displayed his boundless creativity after ramming home a thunderous strike in the first half when he added an assist with a beautifully crafted pass for Alecsandro. The experience of he and Juninho will be crucial if Vasco are hopeful of launching a successful title bid this year.