Just two matchdays into the new campaign, Fernando Diniz’s men alongside Botafogo are the only two sides with a perfect league record in the most competitive top-flight in the world. There were also no less than three managers making their dugout debuts with their new clubs as Brazilian football got busy again, on and off the pitch.
Corinthians’ appointment of Cuca was controversial to say the least, as the 59-year-old was drafted in to replace Fernando Lázaro following a home Libertadores defeat to Argentinos Juniors. Timão’s neighbours at São Paulo also opted for change, with club legend Rogério Ceni making way for Dorival Júnior, whilst Argentine manager Jorge Sampaoli had a tasty trip to face Internacional in his first league match leading Flamengo.
The former Marseille, Sevilla and Argentina boss looked on track to claim the three points when midfielder Gerson – previously signed by Sampaoli in France for €24 million – got the opener with 30 minutes remaining. That was before Maúricio got involved – the promising forward producing the ultimate super-sub performance to turn the game on its head and send the Beira-Rio fans into delirium with a gorgeously taken late winner. A brilliant football match, a statement result for Inter and a crisis resumed for the Libertadores holders.
O golaço de Mauricio, na virada o Inter contra o Flamengo.
Inter 2×1 Flamengo pelo Brasileirão. pic.twitter.com/abt3QPK10v
— ⚽ (@DoentesPFutebol) April 23, 2023
There was also frustration for Palmeiras, as their hosts Vasco soared into a shock 2–0 lead, just as they did last week in their win over Atlético Mineiro. Mauricio Barbieri’s young home side couldn’t hold onto their lead on this occasion though, as headers on either side of halftime from Rafael Navarro and Artur closed the deficit with half an hour remaining. 2–2 would be the final result, an outcome to greatly encourage Vasco who take an impressive four points from a tough opening pair of fixtures on their return to the top flight.
The weekend’s biggest scalp belonged to Goiás, however. Following the hostile reception to new Corinthians boss Cuca, the São Paolo giants headed to Serrinha as favourites to build on their opening victory over Cruzeiro last week. Despite star man Rogér Guedes giving Timão the lead, the night would eventually turn ugly for the visitors as an equaliser from Matheus Peixoto preceded a couple of late daggers from Esmeraldina defenders Lucas Halter and Apodi to seal a special 3–1 victory for the managerless hosts.
— TNT Sports BR (@TNTSportsBR) April 24, 2023
One of the newly appointed trio did get their desired result, at least – São Paulo supporters held a large banner in appreciation of sacked club icon Rogério Ceni as his new successor Dorival Júnior steered SPFC to a 3–0 win over struggling América, though the comfortable scoreline did perhaps flatter the hosts. There was also a first three points for Cruzeiro, who impressed before a raucous home support in their 1–0 victory over Grêmio, for whom Luis Suárez still awaits his first Brasileirão goal.
“Genius doesn’t age.” Those were the words of Fluminense manager Fernando Diniz on his 33 year-old playmaker Ganso, who dazzled alongside his teammates in a dominant 2–0 win over Athletico Paranaense – Flu fans are believing the hype as their team are playing the best football in Brazil at the minute. They sit at the top of the table alongside Botafogo, who edged out Bahia in a hotly contested Monday-night fixture in Salvador thanks to a superb winning goal from substitute Tchê Tchê.
Bahia 1×2 Botafogo
⚽️ Tchê Tchê
🥾 Tiquinho Soares (2)
🏆 Brasileirão Série A | 2ª rodada
— Diário de Gols, infos e Stats (@DiarioGols) April 25, 2023
Elsewhere, Fortaleza produced a fantastic performance in a 3–0 away defeat of Coritiba to continue impressing under Renato Pavia, Santos and Atlético Mineiro both remain without a win after playing out a goalless draw at Vila Belmiro and a debut equaliser from Red Bull Bragantino’s new young Uruguayan striker Thiago Borbas rescued an away point late on against Cuiabá.
Player of the Week: Maurício
One of the standout young players in Brazil last season, Maurício got his 2023 league campaign up and running with his emphatic brace from the bench against Flamengo. Capable of playing as a 10 or off the right wing, the exciting 21-year-old demonstrated his eye for goal as he inspired Internacional to their headline victory – Fortaleza winger Yago Pikachu is a commendable honourable mention, having also bagged a brilliant double from the bench at Coritiba.
Maurício nos últimos 4 jogos de Brasileirão
• 5 Gols
• 1 Assistência
• 2 Winning Goals
Os jogos? Athletico, São Paulo (F), Palmeiras e Flamengo.
BIG GAME PLAYER. pic.twitter.com/wXIE2BlVn6
— DataFut | Brazilian Stats (@DataFutebol) April 23, 2023
After domestic cup ties this midweek, it’s a box-office fixture list next weekend as the state Clássicos return – Flamengo host Botafogo in the Clássico da Rivalidade at the Maracanã on Sunday, whilst Saturday’s focus will be São Paulo for the great Paulista Derby between Palmeiras and Corinthians, the most decorated rivalry in Brazil. Bring it on.
By: Martin Crawford / @crawford7martin
Featured Image: @Juanffran / Getty Images