Two quickfire rounds of fixtures saw the Brazilian top-flight explode back into action following a difficult international break for the nation’s national side, as Fluminense boss Fernando Diniz’s double-duty saw him experience unfamiliar lows whilst managing the Seleção. For former Brazil boss Tite, a return to the Brasileirão was confirmed as he took the helm at underperforming Flamengo, as the well-resourced side look to get back to competing for the biggest titles – and could we have a title race on our hands?
A side certainly hoping for one is Red Bull Bragantino, whose steady but sensational improvement has seen them rise to second – and in their away meeting with struggling Santos in midweek, a headed opener from top-scorer Eduardo Sasha provided the perfect start. The 31-year-old went into double figures for the season twenty minutes later, doubling the visitors’ advantage from the spot in an excellent first half, and Eric Ramires provided the third in the second half in a highly impressive eventual 3-1 win for a Braga side who haven’t lost since August.
⚽️ GOL DO RB BRAGANTINO! EDUARDO SASHA!
Brasileirão Série A | Santos 0-1 RB Bragantino pic.twitter.com/GQUZwe8uaz
— Chute Certo (@realchutecerto) October 19, 2023
Copa Libertadores finalists Fluminense were their opponents at the weekend, as they looked to extend their unbeaten league run to eight against their off-colour opponents, having lost just once at home all season. In a rare occasion where they weren’t dominating possession, Pedro Caixinha’s men still created the better of the opportunities, and again it was a case of Sasha scoring early from the spot – his 17th-minute conversion would be the only goal of the game as his team moved within seven points of the top spot – the dream is on for the club from Bragança Paulista!
A difficult spell for surprise title favourites Botafogo saw them sack Bruno Lage after just fifteen matches, as their exceptional early-season form started to fade. After a fantastic win at Fluminense in Lúcio Flávio’s first match, Fogão made a similarly positive start in their midweek trip to struggling América Mineiro through a deflected opener from Júnior Santos. A superbly worked goal from Martín Benitez provided a shock equaliser shortly later, but the show was to be stolen by Santos, who doubled his tally with a vicious left-foot winner in the second half to secure the three points.
ELE TÁ INSPIRADO! ⚡️🐊
O segundo golaço do Júnior Santos na partida ⚽️🎯 #VamosBOTAFOGO
— Botafogo F.R. (@Botafogo) October 19, 2023
As Flávio looked to make it three wins from three on Saturday, Athletico Paranaense stood in their way, but an early bullet header from Brasileirão top-scorer Tiquinho Soares indicated that Botafogo meant business in the first period. Their lead would last less than 20 minutes as an excellent cross from Tomás Cuello found Pablo unmarked to tap in a simple equaliser. In a tight second period, neither side looked impressive enough to deserve the three points – and 1-1 was the final score, as Bragantino’s excellent form meant that Fogão found their lead at the top reduced again.
Tite’s first match since returning to club management with his hugely well-received appointment at Flamengo was a trip to face Cruzeiro in Belo Horizonte – and as Mengão looked to finally find a manager they could stick with for long-term stability, their new boss certainly made the perfect start when Ayrton Lucas opened the scoring after showing remarkable composure in the box. Things went from bad to worst for Cabuloso when they conceded a penalty shortly later, with Pedro’s spot-kick putting the visitors two ahead in a match that would finish 2-0, in a perfect start for the new man in charge of the Rubro-Negro.
A bigger occasion was to come for the Copa Libertadores holders, who contested the Clássico dos Milhões against Rio neighbours Vasco da Gama in Tite’s first home match this weekend. Desperate for points as they struggle at the bottom end of the table, Vasco impressed in an even but goalless first period – and in the second they peppered the goal even further through Pablo Vegetti especially, but the only game of the game would arrive from the left foot of Gerson with fifteen minutes remaining, as the man capped by his new manager in 2021 scored his second goal in three matches in a cruel derby defeat of their city rivals.
For Cruzeiro, attention also turned to derby day action as they contested the Clássico de Mineiro against Belo Horizonte enemies Altético Mineiro, who they had not beaten away in five years. Favourites after a fabulous midweek defeat of Palmeiras, Galo had the majority of the early chances, but the wait for the deadlock to be broken went on beyond the interval after which they made numerous changes.
As Zé Ricardo’s visitors became increasingly threatening in the second half, the sides remained level, until one of those half-time substitutes made the difference – only at the wrong end, when a cross from William was diverted into the Atlético net by Jemerson, sending the three points to Cabuloso in a dramatic away clássico victory.
GOL DO CRUZEIRO!!!!!
Atlético-MG 0 x  Cruzeiro
⚽️ Jemerson (GC)
— Central Do Cruzeiro (@Centralcec1) October 22, 2023
Soundly defeated by red-hot Bragantino, Santos sought a response away to Internacional, but they instead made the worst start to a game by any Brasileirão side this season. A sloppy own-goal from Keyvson put them behind after less than a minute, before a magnificent goal from their own youth product Alan Patrick made it two 15 minutes later. Further goals from Enner Valencia and Wanderson made a dismal first-half finish with the score at 4-0 to Inter, and an excellent bit from Fabricio Bustos shortly after the break showed that Eduardo Coudet’s men were not taking their foot off the gas.
It was six before the hour mark through a ruthless second from Valencia, and the seventh came from Luiz Adriano with fifteen to play – a late consolation didn’t prevent a nightmare 7-1 defeat for Peixe, in the worst performance of a dismal season for the Vila Belmiro club.
🇪🇨 Enner Valencia gets his brace!
What a fantastic goal for Internacional against Santos! 🇧🇷
— Warriors of Ecuador (@EcuadorHeroes) October 22, 2023
In the midweek Maracanâ fixture, an absolutely outrageous finish from Yuri Alberto saw Corinthians race into the lead into their midweek meeting with Fluminense, before another fine finish from Lima quickly levelled the scoring. 22-year-old Alberto was in fine goalscoring form though, sprinting onto Maycon’s through ball to re-establish Timão’s lead just minutes later, before things went from bad to worse for the hosts when Fábio Santos dispatched a spot-kick conceded by Marlon.
3-1 down with a mountain to climb in the second half, Flu halved the deficit when Lima doubled his tally with another stunning hit, before super-sub Jhon Arias levelled it with the final goal of the thriller with ten to play, rounding off a magnificent night of Brazilian action.
— Fluminense F.C. (@FluminenseFC) October 20, 2023
Re-energised by a stunning 6-4 win at Goiás before the international break, Bahia looked to continue their resurgent escape attempt under Rógerio Ceni in their midweek match against Internacional at Fonte Nova – and at the end of an uneventful first half, the match was lit up by a fine solo effort from 22-year-old Biel, his fifth league goal of the season. Winning 3-2 in the Grenal derby against Grêmio in their last outing, Inter were unable to find the net on this occasion as an impressive second-half display helped the Salvador club to another huge victory.
⚽️ GOL DO BAHIA! BIEL!
Brasileirão Série A | Bahia 1-0 Internacional pic.twitter.com/oxKy5aJzKy
— Chute Certo (@realchutecerto) October 19, 2023
Dimitri Payet’s first Brasileirão goal was decisive in Fortaleza’s midweek defeat to Vasco, their first league defeat in five – but as they faced Bahia in a meeting of two northeastern clubs on Saturday, they found themselves behind early again when captain Kano rose highest in the box to grab his first goal of the season from a Biel corner. Despite giving up a lot of the game’s possession, Ceni’s men continued to create the better of the chances against the Copa Sudamericana finalists, and this was rewarded when Rafael Ratão got his third goal in six late on to make it a sensational three consecutive victories for his side.
DIMITRI PAYET GOOOOOOL pic.twitter.com/9iatvGDmjs
— 𝕵𝖔 (@Jo_8313) October 19, 2023
A home defeat during the week to Athletico Paranaense meant further frustration for Grêmio, whose downturn in form has seen any slim title hopes fade, and things did not get any easier as they travelled to Morumbi to face Copa do Brasil holders São Paulo in round 28. In a meeting between former El Clásico rivals James Rodríguez and Luís Suarez, a fine delivery by the former led to the opening goal which was headed in by Michel Araújo.
In a convincing performance by the hosts, outstanding midfielder Pablo Maia’s third goal of the season doubled their advantage in the second half, before a horror back-pass from debuting teenager Wesley Costa to gift Luciano concluded a night to forget for Tricolor.
Elsewhere, a late equaliser from Giuliano didn’t prevent Corinthians from slipping further down the table with a 1-1 home draw to bottom side América, Goías escaped the relegation zone with a win and draw against São Paulo and Cuiabá respectively and Coritiba scored zero goals and took zero points in defeats to Cuiabá and Palmeiras – the second of which provided a bizarre moment which sums up this season for Thiago Kosloski’s team.
O Coritiba 2023 explicado em uma jogada “ensaiada”. pic.twitter.com/C5mmG8HUT5
— Leandro Requena (@leandrorequena) October 22, 2023
Player of the Week: Biel
The first outfield player to be picked as our Player of the Week twice this season is Gabriel Teixeira, commonly known as Biel. Just 22 years old and brought to Bahia after impressing on loan at Grêmio as they sealed promotion from Série B last season, the diminutive, technical winger had a part to play in his side opening the scoring in both games this week, with a decisive moment of brilliance against Internacional and a punishing delivery for Kanu against Fortaleza.
As he finds his best form at the business end of the campaign, Rógerio Ceni will be hoping he can hold onto the highly promising forward – and avoiding relegation would be paramount to any hopes of doing so.
Biel (22 anos) é o vice-líder em assistências e participações em gols entre os sub-23 da Série A na temporada 2023. 💎👏
⚔️38 jogos (27 titular)
⏰140 mins p/ participar de gol
👟58 chutes (29 no gol)
🛠11 grandes chances criadas
💯Nota Sofascore 6.95 pic.twitter.com/EA8q2sftLh
— Sofascore Brazil (@SofascoreBR) October 23, 2023
By the time you are reading this, the Brasileirão will likely already be back underway – the ‘Choque-Rei’ derby between Palmeiras and São Paulo and a huge Clássico Alvinegro between Corinthians and Santos will headline rounds 29 and 30, covered in next week’s round-up!
By: Martin Crawford / @crawford7martin
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Mauro Pimentel – AFP