Following the month-long hiatus imposed in Serie A during FIFA’s Confederations Cup, Brazilian league action resumed with the nation split as to whether hosting the high profile international tournament was successful or not. Supporters of the Seleção enjoyed an impressive and comprehensive victory over world and European champions, Spain, in the final, giving Luis Felipe Scolari’s squad the confidence and belief that they can actually win football’s top prize on home soil next summer. Before the tournament, Brazilian fans’ expectations had been lowered somewhat having seen their team slide down the international rankings after a string of uninspiring performances.

riots1

The country hit the headlines for the wrong reasons when the mobilisation of people against the authorities as protests over corruption, spiralling prices and social inequality turned violent. Fears over safety and civil disorder must now be allayed before the big events in 2014.

The stand out fixtures in Round 6 of the national championship threw up two local Derbies to savour. Firstly, two of Rio’s big four, Botafogo and reigning champions Fluminense, faced off in a game which would likely determine who would go top of the table and it was Fogão who sneaked victory. Dutch veteran, Clarence Seedorf, scored the only goal of the game in the 84th minute which shot his side back to the head of title race. They overtook previous leaders, Coritiba, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Flamengo. They will be thankful, however, for the point earned having been two goals down and seemingly heading for their first defeat of the campaign.

santos

In the São Paulo Derby, it was Santos, seemingly becoming accustomed to life without Confederations Cup star, Neymar, who earned the bragging rights. Their 2-0 win at the Morumbi Stadium over São Paulo brought the two teams to parity in the standings. After a slow start, Santos are now climbing rapidly while their neighbours encouraging opening to the season is beginning to stall. They’ll be trying to get back on track in week 7 when they face Bahia, another team occupying mid-table after the first six games.

Elsewhere, Atlético Mineiro hauled themselves out of the drop zone by edging out Criciúma by the odd goal in a five-goal thriller in Belo Horizonte. Diego Forlan was amongst the scorers for Internacional in a 5-3 win against Vasco Da Gama, a result which maintains their position just behind the leaders. At the bottom, the basement battle between Náutico and Ponte Preta went the way of the São Paulo based club. The 3-1 defeat leaves Náutico rooted to the foot of the league with just one win in the opening six matches.

Games to look out for in week 7 include Internacional’s trip to champions, Fluminense, another Rio derby as Vasco meet Flamengo and the intriguing clash between title contenders Grêmio and Botafogo.

STANDINGS

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

MARK GODFREY

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