A potential duel is between reigning champions Palmeiras and unlikely frontrunners Botafogo at the top of the Brasileirão table is in the offing as the 2023 campaign reached double figures in matchdays this week. Elsewhere in the standings, the gap outside the top six narrowed as several sides slipped up in a weekend of thoroughly enjoyable football. The European calendar may have come to an end, but we’re only just getting started in the most competitive major top flight in the world.
São Paulo hosted the spectacle fixture this weekend, as Sunday night’s ‘Choque-Rei’ clássico pitted a quietly resurgent SPFC against city rivals Palmeiras at Estádio do Morumbi. In a major test for Abel Ferreira’s visitors, São Paulo exerted plenty of pressure in large periods of the game and will come out of it feeling hard-done-by as Gabriel Menino’s beautifully placed opener gave Verdão an early lead, just nine minutes after VAR had rescinded a penalty for the hosts.
Unfazed by a challenging start to the match, Dorival Júnior’s men continued to dominate and created numerous significant chances but an error from Robert Arboleda allowed the national prodigy Endrick through to score emphatically – the 16-year-old’s third strike of the season secured a vital 2-0 win for his side who remain unbeaten.
GOLO DO ENDRICK 🇧🇷(2006)!!!!pic.twitter.com/SmIIH32Ho7
— Football Report (@FootballReprt) June 11, 2023
Fifth met fourth at the Maracanã on Sunday, as a Flamengo side on red-hot form welcomed unlikely high-flyers Grêmio to Rio. In an exciting encounter, a classic script-writing moment saw former Grêmio hero Everton Cebolinha finally grab his first Brasileirão goal of the season to take the hosts into the break a goal ahead against his first senior club.
Despite a commendable attacking effort from the visitors, led by the talismanic Luís Suarez, a fine finish from substitute Pedro gave Mengão the two-goal cushion before a third came from Bruno Henrique – his first goal since a long-term knee injury in a special moment for him, sealing a 3-0 win which was also a 300th Brasileirão appearance for Mengão favourite Everton Ribeiro. An enjoyable one all round for Jorge Sampaoli’s team.
Esse gol após 10 meses sem jogar vai ficar marcado na história de Bruno Henrique no Flamengo ⚽ pic.twitter.com/1g4buwwoLE
— ge (@geglobo) June 12, 2023
Following their priceless 2-0 victory over Fluminense two weeks ago – just their second win of a so-far dismal campaign – Corinthians would have looked to their next two fixtures against relegation favourites América and Cuiabá as perfect chances to find much-needed form.
What has transpired has instead thrown Timão back into a state of pure crisis, as Saturday’s 1-1 draw represented another pitiful let-down from the São Paulo-based side who were notably thrown off by the home atmosphere following Deyverson’s early opener for the visitors, eventually equalising through Ruan with ten minutes remaining. The result represents a continuation of the Dorados’ unlikely unbeaten run since the reappointment of António Oliveira, but Timão’s troubles remain the headline.
Internacional have also been a Brasileirão giant seriously underperforming thus far in 2023, but there was to be no cause for concern in their meeting with serious strugglers Vasco as they raced into an early 2-0 lead before 17-year-old wonderkid Rayan halved the deficit for the visitors.
A goalless second half still produced the moment of the weekend – Inter goalkeeper John with a truly jaw-dropping goal-line save to ensure the three points, a match-winning stop bound to make a strong case for save of the season. Fluminense could not hold onto their own 2-1 lead, though – Alesson’s late equalising header for Goías secured a valuable point for Esmeraldino which continued Flu’s drop-off in form which has seen them fade away from early title contention.
John Victor Maciel Furtado. John Victor Maciel Furtado. John Victor Maciel Furtado. John Victor Maciel Furtado. John Victor Maciel Furtado. John Victor Maciel Furtado. John Victor Maciel Furtado. John Victor Maciel Furtado. John Victor Maciel Furtado.pic.twitter.com/dDQ8B9zMtG
— Sport Club Internacional (@SCInternacional) June 11, 2023
A meeting of newly promoted sides Bahia and Cruzeiro was an entertaining one at Fonte Nova, as forgotten wonderkid Kayky lit up his first start on loan at Esquadrão with a magical goal which was cancelled out by another flash of brilliance from Bruno Rodrigues. Cabuloso turned the game around before halftime, taking the lead via Wesley, but Arthur Sales’ second-half equaliser ensured that the spoils would be shared at 2-2.
The weekend’s third 2-2 draw came from Belo Horizonte, where goals from Christian and Barcelona target Vitor Roque had Athletico cruising at halftime, but lowly América Mineiro would fight back with an unlikely late comeback courtesy of Wellington’s penalty rebound and Danilo Avelar’s 96th-minute header – the dramatic last touch of the game.
QUE GOLAÇO PORNOGRÁFICO!! Tudo começou com essa canetinha safada do Thaciano, que serviu ao Ryan para deixar Kayky na cara do gol e fuzilar o goleiro adversário, abrindo o placar na Fonte! 1×0 Esquadrão 🇳🇱⚽️
Créditos: Premiere/SporTV/Rede Globo pic.twitter.com/45FEX6dGH7
— ecbahia.com (@ecbahiapontocom) June 10, 2023
Elsewhere, the presence of Palmeiras breathing down their necks didn’t stop Botafogo from maintaining their lead at the top as a double from Brasileirão top scorer Tiquinho Soares took care of Fortaleza, Atlético Mineiro were frustrated as Bragantino held out for a 1-1 draw at Mineirão and Coritiba remain the only winless side in the Brasileirão following their goalless draw with Santos on Saturday.
Player of the Week: Matheus Cunha
Recently appointed Flamengo boss Jorge Sampaoli‘s decision to demote former first-choice keeper Santos to the bench in favour of 22-year-old Matheus Cunha is beginning to look like a masterstroke. The academy graduate is not only a noticeable upgrade with his feet in possession, but in Sunday’s visit of Grêmio, his shot-stopping also looked unstoppable, stopping numerous close-range goal-bound efforts to keep a precious hold of his clean sheet. The Brasileirão boasts some highly impressive goalkeepers, young and old, and Cunha looks to absolutely have the potential to be a significant addition to that list.
Matheus Cunha (22 anos) como titular do @Flamengo:
⚔️ 16 jogos
🚫 9 gols sofridos (0.56 /j!)
👐 55 defesas (3.4 /j!)
📊 86% bolas defendidas (!)
🧤 50% jogos sem sofrer gol (8/16!)
💯 Nota Sofascore 7.27
🔎 Com ele, o time só perdeu uma vez e tem 77% de aproveitamento! 💎🔐 pic.twitter.com/Kx7eSyTwDE
— Sofascore Brazil (@SofascoreBR) June 12, 2023
A ten-day break is in store now for the Brasileiro Série A’s clubs, so BTL’s Brasileirão round-up will be back in two weeks’ time with twice as much action covered to keep you on top of the goings-on in the Brazilian top-flight.
By: Martin Crawford / @crawford7martin
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Buda Mendes / Getty Images