In the penultimate set of games before the Brasileirão's World Cup sabbatical, Corinthians maintained their position at the head of the table. They are closely followed by Ceará and Fluminense, both of whom enjoyed home victories.
Corinthians 2-0 Internacional
With Jorge Henrique joining Ronaldo on the Corinthians injury list, Iarley made a rare start for the home side at the Pacaembu. Mano Menezes again packed the midfield, playing both Danilo and Bruno César alongside the more defensively minded Elias and Ralf. It was Inter who enjoyed the better start, however, testing Felipe with a series of long range efforts. The Timão goalkeeper had to be at his best to claw away Andrezinho's curling shot.
With 38 minutes gone, Corinthians were awarded a controversial penalty. Danilo went down under pressure from Gonzalo Sorondo, but seemed to be returning to his feet after managing to get a pass away. Sorondo was nonplussed, and rightly so. Roberto Carlos stepped up and hit a low spot-kick which crept into the corner after Lauro appeared to have stopped it.
It was another of Corinthians' ageing tios who made it 2-0 after the break. Iarley received Elias' pinpoint ball in the area, and turned smartly to finish into the roof of the net. The scoreline rather flattered the home side, and it was Inter who had the best chances in the remainder of the match. There were to be no more goals, however, as Felipe continued to frustrate the Colorado with a string of fine saves.
Ceará 2-0 Avaí
Newly-promoted Ceará have been in brilliant form since the start of Série A, picking up impressive wins against Cruzeiro, Fluminense and Vitória. They left it late against Avaí at the Castelão, but two goals in the last 15 minutes ensured another win for Vozão. Misael, one of the side's stand-out performers, broke the deadlock in style, running onto a long ball, dribbling easily past his marker, and slotting low into the corner.
It was another breakaway goal that secured the three points for the team from Fortaleza. Avaí's perilously high defensive line was exposed when centre-back Emerson missed his header, leaving Tony with a clear run on goal. The former Botafogo man drew the 'keeper before unselfishly squaring for the onrushing Lopes, who couldn't miss. Ceará up to the dizzy heights of second place.
Gameweek 6 Round-up
Fluminense continued their impressive form with a 2-1 win over Vitória at the Maracanã. Fred bagged the Tricolor's first, profitting from a kind rebound after Marquinho's shot was saved. The away team looked to have earnt a point when Jonas headed in an 85th minute equaliser, but they were denied thanks to Alan's late goal. Flamengo also recorded a tight victory, beating Palmeiras 1-0 at the Pacaembu. It was Vágner Love who came back to haunt his former employers, cutting in from the left and drilling home.
Botafogo threw away a two-goal advantage to lose 3-2 to Atlético Paranaense at the Baixada. Joel Santana's men dominated the first half and took the lead through Herrera, who spun past his defender to finish via the legs of 'keeper Neto. The impressive Edno brought down a high ball and played in Lúcio Flávio, who drilled in at the near post to double Botafogo's lead. The game looked to be over, but the Furacão had other ideas. Veteran Paulo Baier pulled one back before half time, before equalising with a deft free-kick in the second period. The winner came from Alex Mineiro, whose shot was deflected just beyond the reach of the despairing Jefferson. Botafogo now without a win in three games after a promising start.
Atlético-GO remained rooted to the bottom of the table after Tadeu's glorious free-kick condemned them to a 1-0 loss against Grêmio Prudente. Improving Goiás won their second game on the bounce, shocking title hopefuls São Paulo at the Serra Dourada. It was São Paulo who took the lead thanks to an unstoppable Marcelinho Paraíba free-kick, but the Esmeraldino reacted with goals from Bernado (from the penalty spot) and Jonílson. Vasco also remain in the relegation zone, after a home loss to Guarani. In a poor game, it was a goal from Roger (the current artilheiro of the Campeonato) that separated the teams.
Vanderlei Luxemburgo will be disappointed to find his Atlético Mineiro side hovering around the foot of the table after they went down to a third consecutive defeat; losing 2-1 to Grêmio at the Olímpico. The Tricolor have specialised recently in goals from dead-balls, and last night it was Hugo who twice benefitted from Fábio Rochemback's excellent delivery to head home. Ricardinho netted the Galo's only goal with a deflected shot from outside the area. In Belo Horizonte, Cruzeiro were held to a 0-0 draw by Santos, a result that sees the sides remain in 6th and 5th spots consecutively.
(Photo credits; (1) Junior Lago, (2) Felipe Gabriel.)