As the fifth round of games in this year’s Brazilian championship are concluded, the lead has changed hands as previous tabletoppers, São Paulo suffered their first league defeat of the season. They were expected to cruise to victory on Wednesday against lowly Goiás in the Morumbi Stadium, but were shocked by a Rodrigo goal in just the second minute of the match and were unable to overturn the deficit despite dominating.

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The team to take advantage of this slip were Botafogo. The club from Rio known as Estrela Solitária(Lone Star)took control at the head of the table with a 2-0 win at Ponte Preta. The veteran Dutchman, Clarence Seedorf, scored the opener in the 32nd minute with a second coming from Antônio Carlos just four minutes later.

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Botafogo’s stay at the top of the league may be short-lived. The unfashionable, but-so-far-undefeated Coritiba club could leapfrog them if they can dispatch struggling Náutico on Sunday evening. Hunting them up in the race for top spot are Grêmio who visit Belo Horizonte to take on last year’s runners-up, Atletico Mineiro. Ronaldinho and Co haven’t had the best of starts to this campaign and find themselves rock bottom. O Galo have hit the net just once in their three games to date and are looking to bounce back from defeat at Vasco de Gama. A much-needed win would take them out of the bottom four.
Cruzeiro drew 2-2 with Internacional to take them into second place, while Bahia and Vitória are also remain in touch with the leaders. Reigning champions, Fluminense, will jump into the top three with a win over Goiás on Sunday.

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Flamengo finally got their season up-and-running with a fine 3-0 win against 10-man Criciúma. Two goals for Gabriel and another from Hernane did for the home side who were playing with one player less from the 18th minute when striker Fabinho was given his marching orders for headbutting Elias.

Things don’t get any better for Santos currently. Having lost their prized-asset, Neymar, for around £50 million two weeks ago, they now also find themselves down-amongst-the-dead-men. Winless after four games, they must get something from their next two crucial fixtures, at home to fellow strugglers Atletico Mineiro and at highflying São Paulo, to pull clear of trouble.

STANDINGS 09/06/13

1. Botafogo RJ 5 3 1 1 8:5 10
2. Cruzeiro 5 2 2 1 11:6 8
3. Coritiba 4 2 2 0 5:3 8
4. Bahia 5 2 2 1 6:6 8
5. Sao Paulo 4 2 1 1 7:2 7
6. Vitoria 4 2 1 1 7:3 7
7. Gremio 3 2 1 0 4:1 7
8. Vasco 5 2 1 2 5:8 7
9. Fluminense 3 2 0 1 6:3 6
10. Criciuma 5 2 0 3 6:10 6
11. I’nacional 5 1 3 1 8:7 6
12. Corinthians 5 1 3 1 3:3 6
13. Atletico-PR 4 1 2 1 9:9 5
14. Flamengo RJ 5 1 2 2 5:5 5
15. Goias 4 1 2 1 3:7 5
16. Nautico 4 1 1 2 3:7 4
17. Ponte Preta 5 1 0 4 5:9 3
18. Portuguesa 4 0 3 1 3:4 3
19. Santos 4 0 2 2 3:6 2
20. Atletico-MG 3 0 1 2 1:4 1

MARK GODFREY

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