Brasileirão Week 4: Flu Frustrated, Botafogo Still Unblemished and Yet Another Setback for Sampaoli

It wasn’t just the standout fixtures that caught the eye in Brazil this weekend as the goals flew in across the country once again. The most beautifully unpredictable top league in the world was indeed still at its erratic best – but we didn’t quite get a repeat of last week’s six red cards, despite the Clássico dos Gigantes boiling over at the Maracanã on Saturday. 


No such ill temper at Botafogo though – the Fogão faithful are well and truly on board the hype train as they continued their perfect league record with another fine performance in their 2-0 win over Atlético at Engenhão. Creating far more in the final third than their opponents despite totaling much less possession, Luís Castro’s men scored in both halves through similarly crafted goals from Victor Sá and 19-year-old Matheus Nascimento respectively, despite Castro serving a touchline ban following his red card in last week’s derby win over Flamengo. The visitors from Belo Horizonte will be far from happy with just one win from their opening four league fixtures. 



Fluminense wowed the continent with their outstanding 5-1 thrashing of Argentine league-leaders River Plate in the Copa Libertadores in midweek, but with the focus quickly turning to Saturday’s meeting with city rivals Vasco, it was back to frustration for Tricolor who were held to a 1-1 derby draw despite creating more than enough to earn the three points. A misplaced pass from veteran goalkeeper Fábio gifted VDG striker Pedro Raul the opening goal after less than a minute in a perfect Aaron Ramsdale impression, and despite the equaliser coming from Lima early in the second half, it was to be the only goal to come from the catalogue of chances created by Fernando Diniz’s side. 


It took him over 300 minutes, as well as a missed penalty on matchday one, but Luis Suárez has a Brasileirão goal – it came in the weekend’s goal fest as Red Bull Bragantino were the visitors at Arena do Grêmio. It was worth the wait, too – a viciously struck volley to level the score at 2-2 after Pedro Caixinha’s visitors had come from behind to lead. Everton Galdino thought his lovely solo strike from the bench would be the winner, but it was the late Thiago Borbas show again for Braga as the 21-year-old’s last-gap equaliser ensured that El Pistolero would not be the only Uruguayan striker on the scoresheet. 



Flamengo’s turbulent 2023 took another turn for the worse courtesy of a late goal from Erick which gave Athletico a 2-1 win, after free-scoring wonderkid Vitor Roque’s first-half equaliser – despite the high-profile appointment of Jorge Sampaoli, Mengão are easily the league’s biggest disappointment after four matches. Corinthians also continue to fall below standards set last season, rescued by a late Yuri Alberto equaliser after a beautifully worked Caio Alexandre opener had given Fortaleza a late lead in São Paulo – o Leão remain unbeaten as they continue to punch upwards under Juan Pablo Vojvoda. 


Cruzeiro lost forward Rafael Bilú to injury after just nine minutes against Santos, but his replacement – €3 million signing Wesley – proved the substitution to be a blessing in disguise by producing a decisive brace in a 2-1 win for Pepa’s Brasileiro Serie B champions, their third from four in a seriously impressive return to top-flight football. São Paulo also haven’t lost since the opening day, having maintained their unbeaten run since the appointment of Dorival Júnior with a 2-0 home win against Internacional – a victory sealed with a no-look finish from Luciano and a 20-yard postage stamp curler from Pablo Maia, not bad at all. 



América and Cuiabá met in Belo Horizonte having earned just a single point combined, so it was perhaps unsurprising when the game ended in comedic fashion – the hosts losing their 1-0 lead on 85 minutes to a Marlon own-goal before, minutes later, their goalkeeper Matheus Cavichioli saw red for saving the ball outside the penalty area. Defender Danilo Avelar had to deputise in goal for the resulting free-kick which, incredibly, was converted by Ronald for a sensational comeback win for Dourado. 


Coritiba join Coelho in staying winless, being dispatched by newly officially inducted City Football Group members Bahia despite Gabriel Boschilla’s first-half belter probably going down as the goal of the weekend. Finally, the weekend’s hammering was dished out by Palmeiras who blew Goiás back into the relegation zone with a 5-0 rout in which left-back Joaquín Piquerez caught the eye with a couple of assists and the wonderkid Endrick got his second goal of the season from the bench. 



Player of the Week: Biel


Bahia’s cheap pick-up of 22-year-old Gabriel ‘Biel’ Teixeira following his impressive loan spell at Grêmio from Fluminense could prove to be an absolute steal, and at this early stage, it is already strongly indicating so. The menacingly nimble winger is a joyous dribbler to watch and capped off a performance in which he ran Baêa’s attack with a brilliantly placed first-time strike from 20 yards. Keep an eye out – he’s absolutely one to watch as the season progresses. 



Twice as much action will be covered in one installment in next week’s Brasileirão round-up, as Brazil’s league table already throws up various unpredictable narratives prior to the season’s first midweek round of fixtures – it should be action-packed.


By: Martin Crawford / @crawford7martin

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Daniel Ramalho / CRVG