Brasileirão Week 26: Clássico Win for Coudet, Flávio’s Fogão Flourish and the Game of the Year at Goiás

From incredible goalfests to gripping clássicos and outrageous screamers to last-minute winners, the Brasileirão was at its absolute best this weekend, leaving nothing to be desired with another international break now around the corner. In a week where Bruno Lage was sacked after just 15 matches at league-leaders Botafogo whose glistening form had started to fade under the 47-year-old, vital matches at both ends of the table provided exceptional entertainment – with quite the supply of goals. 


In desperate need of a victory having drawn six of their last seven, Goías hosted fellow relegation candidates Bahia in the weekend’s opener, and within fifteen minutes Everaldo gave the visitors the lead with the striker’s first goal in eight league matches. Just minutes later, their lead was doubled with one of the most extraordinary goals of the season – former Benfica right-back Gilberto, standing over a free kick just inside his own half, spotted Tadeu off his line and caught him out with a perfectly dipping long-range effort to put his side two goals ahead, leaving everyone at Estádio da Serrinha stunned in the process. 



Guilherme Marques was picked out well by João Magno to quickly half the deficit before the half-hour mark, but Esmeraldino found themselves two behind again as Everaldo doubled his tally with a deadly finish after making a punishing run in behind. The half entered stoppage time with the visitors 3–1 in front, but a foul by Rezende allowed Guilherme to half the deficit again from the spot – before a sensational first period had a sixth goal when, just minutes after being substituted in to facilitate a change of shape by Armando Evangelista, Matheus Babi rose highest in the box to incredibly level the scoring at 3-3 going into the break. 


Energised by a stunning end to the first half, the home support were celebrating even louder just five minutes after the restart when fine work from Hugo allowed Magno to net again, giving his team the lead for the first time in the thriller – but almost straight from kick-off, his thunder was stolen when a similar goal saw Everaldo secure a memorable away hat-trick for Bahia, bringing the sides level again.


Rógerio Ceni’s men weren’t done there, as the ding-ding encounter swung in the opposite direction AGAIN through substitute Rafael Ratão’s third of the season, officially making the match the highest-scoring of the season. Despite the hosts’ efforts, the tenth of the evening was a sixth for Tricolor courtesy of Biel in the closing stages, sealing a famous 6-4 victory on an extraordinary night in Goiânia. Futebol! 



Porto Alegre was in focus for one of the matchweek’s several clássicos, as Internacional entered one of South America’s most famous fixtures against city rivals Grêmio sitting just three points outside the relegation zone, having lost out in a dramatic Copa Libertadores semi-final defeat to Fluminense in midweek. In a moment that was a long time coming, the match exploded into action after five minutes when Enner Valencia scored his first Brasileirão goal at the eleventh time of asking, giving Inter an early lead – one which they held onto until the half-time whistle, dominating the play and creating numerous opportunities to go even further ahead. 


Fears that they could pay for their missed chances were eased just five minutes after the break, when Wanderson ensured that his first goal since June was worth the wait, excellently doubling the hosts’ advantage with a solo effort. Poor goalkeeping from Sergio Rochet allowed Grêmio back into the game as full-back João Pedro got a second goal in three, but the visitors’ open defence was instantly exploited for Alan Patrick to score Coloradão’s third just three minutes later, incredibly the first time Inter have scored more than twice in a league game this season. A fine Luis Suárez free-kick ensured that he got in on the act again in the clássico, but it was too little and too late for Renato Gaúcho’s side to stop the points from going to the red side of the city. 



The news of Bruno Lage’s sacking was well-received by Botafogo fans who feared that Luís Castro’s decision to switch to Saudi in June could cost them a first league title this century – former player Lúcio Flávio’s first game in interim charge was a significant one against Rio neighbours Fluminense, and under pressure without victory in four, Júnior Santos showed superb composure to remind everyone just why this Fogão side remain clear at the top of the Brasileirão table. It went from an ideal start to a dream start just two minutes later, as league top-scorer Tiquinho Soares provided another flash of goalscoring brilliance to stun the Maracanâ crowd and give his side a dream 2-0 lead. 


Of course, it has been a historic week for Fluminense who secured a place in the Copa Libertadores final for just the second time with two late goals against Internacional at Beira-Rio, but a competitive race for the top-six places has Fernando Diniz’s men needing to find consistency if they are to compete in next year’s Copa in the event of a defeat in the final to Boca Juniors. The second half however saw Botafogo at their resolute best, excellently restricting Flu with key contributors Adryelson and Lucas Perri looking back on form, in the end securing a significant 2-0 away win to put an end to an untimely mini-crisis at Engenhão. 



Another team who won’t be at the Maracanâ for November’s Copa Libertadores final are Palmeiras, whose heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Boca had them hosting the Clássico da Saudade against Santos on a huge low. The mood at Allianz Parque was lifted when Zé Rafael’s slight touch took Gabriel Menino’s delivery beyond João Paulo to open the scoring, but Peixe captain Tomás Rincón’s header quickly equalised in first-half stoppage time to send the teams in level at the break. 


Threatened by the prospect of a first-ever relegation from Brazil’s top-flight, Santos have pulled two vital wins out of the bag under the interim leadership of Marcelo Fernandes – another significant contributor at Vila Belmiro has been 20-year-old Marcos Leonardo, and with 20 minutes to play, the striker came up with a seismic 12th Brasileirão goal of the season to give his team a shock away lead which they went on to protect – a fabulous three consecutive wins for Peixe, compounding a dismal few weeks for the reigning champions. 



Fortaleza’s midweek win over Corinthians booked them a place in a historic first-ever Copa Sudamericana final, in yet another terrific moment in Juan Pablo Vojvoda’s highly impressive reign – Emanuel Brítez’s early concession of a penalty allowed bottom side América Mineiro to take a shock early lead at Castelão on Sunday, however. Having opened the scoring from the spot, Gonzalo Mastriani wasn’t finished yet, doubling América’s advantage with a wicked left-foot finish just minutes later in a hugely surprising start in Ceará.


Without an away win all season, Fabian Bustos’ visitors were in dreamland, but a header from Juan Martín Lucero quickly halved the deficit as o Leão fought to continue their exceptional form. Ten minutes into the second 45, an excellent cross by Thiago Gallardo set up Imanol Machuca to equalise, before the turnaround was complete when sublime one-touch football led to left back Bruno Pacheco’s explosive winner – sending Fortaleza back into the top six in a perfect week for the northeastern club. 


Defeated Sudamericana semi-finalists Corinthians were still awaiting a first victory since the appointment of Mano Menezes as they hosted a managerless Flamengo on Saturday, having won just one of their last seven Brasileirão outings – it was their opponents who dominated the majority of the first half though, forcing Timão captain Cássio into several saves as the teams went down the tunnel level at the break.


Following a dull first half, a moment of genius was required to lift the game off the ground, and it soon arrived courtesy of Gerson. The former Marseille man, no stranger to a stunning goal, waltzed beyond Gil in search of the perfect angle before unleashing a beautifully accurate effort that dipped into the top corner. It was a goal fit to win any game, but when Léo Pereira was penalised for a handball in the box with ten to play, Timão veteran Fábio Santos confidentially sealed his side a point – but the visitors will regret not taking three on the balance of the match. 



A glistening recent run of form has seen Atlético Mineiro explode back into top-six contention, but they faced a Coritiba side re-energised by a derby victory despite their perilous league position on Sunday. After scoring a vital goal at Beira-Rio last week, it was Hulk who inspired Galo again this time around, demonstrating the power he can generate with his head by opening the scoring with a fabulous diving header after a goalless first half. 


In a surprisingly timid performance by the hosts, Thiago Kosloski’s Coxa always looked in with a shout, and their response to Hulk’s opener was an explosive one when Matheus Bianqui found his first Brasileirão goal out of absolutely nowhere, beating Éverson with a fantastic long-range hit – before in injury time, a Coritiba counter saw their new cult hero Islam Slimani grab an unlikely late winner with a diving header of his own, in another message of defiance from the largely written off club from Paraná whose commendable away performance yielded just a second win on the road this season. 



Elsewhere, Athletico Paranaense and Red Bull Bragantino couldn’t be separated after scoring a first-half goal each at Ligga, whilst a first Brasileirão meeting between Dimitri Payet and James Rodríguez resulted in a goalless draw as São Paulo were held at Vasco. 

Player of the Week: Everaldo


Coming into the gameweek with three league goals to his name this campaign, late bloomer Everaldo’s goal tally has now doubled thanks to his sublime hat-trick at Estádio da Sarrinha on Saturday, in what is incredibly the first scored by any Brasileirão player this season. Peeling away at the back post to put Rógerio Ceni’s men in front before striking again with a clinical finish later in the first period, his treble was sealed just minutes into the second in a game where he also assisted Rafael Ratão with a sublime ‘trivela’ cross – an attacking masterclass.



An extended Brasileirão round-up will cover twice as much action next week, as the season’s run-in approaches in a hugely dramatic season in Brazil. Fixtures such as the Clássico dos Milhões between Flamengo and Vasco await, and it will all be covered in BTL’s round-up!


By: Martin Crawford / @crawford7martin

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Buda Mendes / Getty Images