The stand-out result of the second round of matches of the 2013 Brasileirão came at the Estadio Morumbi as Ney Franco’s São Paulo side thrashed Vasco de Gama 5-1. After a goalless first half, two goals by Tricolor striker Luis Fabiano, one each from Thiago Carleto and Aloisio and a late own goal battered the Rio based club into submission. The result puts São Paulo top of the early stndings with two wins from two and leaves Vasco in mid-table.

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Elsewhere, Cruzeiro earned a point against Atletico PR, Botafogo pinched a 2-1 win at home to the Neymar-less Santos and Vitória triumphed 3-0 at Náutico as the pack try to keep pace with the leaders.

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Things don’t look so good for Flamengo who were beaten 2-0 by Ponte Preta. The Mengão are in serious debt and could already be facing a struggle this season. They have failed to score in both of their opening fixtures.

As focus in Brazil turns towards the Seleção’s friendly with England in Rio on Sunday, the most intriguing league match-ups will be between Botafogo and Cruzeiro on Saturday and Atletico Mineiro’s clash with São Paulo the following day.

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The Botafogo/Cruzeiro fixture is an early season test of both clubs’ title ambitions while Ronaldinho’s Mineiro need to get some points on the board quickly after losing their opening game of the campaign; a task easier said than done with São Paulo in such good nick.

MARK GODFREY

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