Brasileirão Week 17: Tiquinho the Talisman, Brilliant Bragantino and Flamengo’s Shocking Fallout

No less than 32 goals across ten Brasileirão matches this weekend, as another matchweek with much to talk about on and off the pitch unfolded in the most competitive top-flight in the world. There were plenty of debuts too, with the mid-season transfer window intensifying as another star name was welcomed to Brazil over the weekend – 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner and two-time European champion James Rodríguez has signed a two-year contract with São Paulo, in another high-profile addition to the division. For now, though, an action-packed round of fixtures takes centre stage. 


Flamengo’s away encounter with Atlético Mineiro was always the headline fixture of the round, as visiting manager Jorge Sampaoli returned to his former club who were incredibly without a league win in seven. An accurate Paulinho finish gave Atlético the lead on 33 minutes, and their performance was not at all bad, but a late Mengão turnaround would provide a bitter blow as a vicious late Giorgian de Arrascaeta free kick equalised before relief turned to ecstasy with teenager Wesley França’s match-winning dink.


Galo’s slump continues, and it should have been a perfect weekend for Flamengo who rose to second, but the weekend’s dominant story would soon emerge as a post-match bust-up between striker Pedro and fitness coach Pablo Fernández – where punches were thrown and relationships were seemingly destroyed – prompted a huge reaction, including several statements, and confusion still remains over what comes next after the chaotic incident. 





In Curitiba on Saturday, Athletico Paranaense and Cruzeiro met as two of the league’s patchy mid-table sides on the outskirts of the top six, and we were treated to the weekend’s goal-fest. The visitors handed a debut to new €3m signing Arthur Gomes, and within ten minutes he headed open his account for his new club – before 30 minutes later, the former Sporting CP winger peeled off at the back post to seal a sensational first-half debut brace.


Madson halved the deficit for the hosts before half time though, and Cabuloso’s resistance was at last broken when substitute Pablo finished a well-constructed Athletico move with ten to play. Incredibly, Cruzeiro’s top scorer Wesley raced up the other end to re-establish the away lead just minutes later, but their hearts would be broken again when goalkeeper Rafael Cabral conceded an 87th-minute penalty, and Manchester City legend Fernandinho made no mistake from the spot to ensure a 3-3 result. 



A similarly poised face-off on the same day featured Fortaleza and Red Bull Bragantino, as two of the league’s several surprise packages sat within close range of the Libertadores places. Braga had remarkably lost just three of their 16 Brasileirão matches this season, and on the daunting trip to face Juan Pablo Vojvoda’s well-organised Leão, their start to the game was hugely impressive and rewarded through goalscoring wing-back Luan Cândido’s headed opener.


As the hosts pushed harder for an equaliser after the break, the all-important second goal was instead to arrive for the visitors – 20-year-old substitute Bruninho with a brilliantly taken sucker-punch strike. Uruguayan striker Thiago Borbas would polish a fantastic scoreline for Pedro Caixinha’s men with his fifth of the league campaign, and the 3-0 win would take the travelling side up into the top six. 



Despite a much-needed three points being the expectation, Eduardo Codet’s first home match in charge of Internacional was still a challenging one against high-flying Cuiabá, but a beautiful finish from right back Fabricio Bustos quickly settled the nerves at a packed Beira-Rio. António Oliveira’s men were not going to let go of their impressive run easily though, equalising through Raniele’s header to set up a fascinating second half which looked to be heading for a draw – but on 88 minutes, Deyverson was decisive for Douradão once again, and his ice-cold finish keeps their exceptional run of form on track.


Also impressive on the road were Palmeiras, who rose to expectations to secure a comfortable 4-1 win at América Mineiro where Rony stole the show with an impressive double, as he and his teammates looked back at their formidable best after a wildly out-of-character run of five without a win was ended last week. The champions now sit third in the table, whilst América languish six points from safety. 



Interim Coritiba coach Thiago Kosloski’s first four matches at the helm amassed a miraculous ten points, lifting them from the bottom of the table, but divine intervention was the least they needed as they headed to runaway league-leaders Botafogo on Sunday. Gustavo Sauer’s opener for the hosts was sublime, but Bruno Gomes’ equaliser – a goal-of-the-season contender – was even better, an extraordinary lob that breathtakingly flew over Lucas Perri.


Unfortunately for them though, leading league scorer Tiquinho was on the pitch, and quickly put his side back in front before he and Sauer bagged braces in a 4-1 win, Bruno Lage’s first since his arrival to Brazilian football. For fellow Rio side Fluminense, it was last year’s Brasileirão top-scorer who was decisive – as Germán Cano latched onto an inviting Jhon Arias delivery for the only goal of their meeting with Santos, which came with just 13 minutes to play, and takes Fernando Diniz’ men to fifth in the table. 



Elsewhere, an important fixture at the bottom end of the table went the way of Corinthians whose quality shone through in a 3-1 defeat of bottom side Vasco, Grêmio dropped from second to fourth by only managing a 1-1 draw at Goiás and São Paulo were highly frustrated by a goalless draw at home to struggling Bahia. 


Player of the Week: Deyverson


Cult hero figure Deyverson is a striker with a highly enviable goalscoring record throughout his career, and in an over-performing Cuiabá side this campaign, his goals have been decisive. In their superb win over Internacional this weekend though, his all-round game – which was well-exemplified in the build-up to his winning goal – was vital for Douradão as he led the line alone, and at 32 years of age, looked like he was playing the best football of his career. On form with four goals in his last six, and causing conversation with a bizarre celebration and post-match monologue, Brazilian football is better with Deyverson, and his highly gifted left foot, in it. 



As we enter August and the Brasileirão nears the second half of a thrilling season, next week’s round of fixtures his fronted by high-profile clashes between Fluminense and Palmeiras as well as São Paulo and Atlético Mineiro where James Rodríguez could be spotted – all will be covered in BTL’s Brasileirão round-up.


By: Martin Crawford / @Crawford7martin

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Mauro Pimentel – AFP