BY MARK GODFREY
Two of Rio de Janeiro’s giants went head-to-head in the latest round of the Brazilian championship, producing a five-goal thriller in the process. The Flu-Fla derby swung this way and that, as Fluminense and Flamengo tried to get their respective, stuttering campaigns back on track. Both clubs have been inconsistent this season, with reigning champions, Fluminense, particularly disappointing as they flirt with the relegation zone. It was Flamengo, however, who took the three points from the clash at the Maracanã, winning 3-2 in a game that marked the debut of former Arsenal left-back, André Santos.
The league is still headed by Cruzeiro, who lead on goal difference from Botafogo with Coritiba just behind them in third place.
Copa Libertadores winners, Atletico Mineiro, continue to hover just above the drop zone. They have failed to win since their historic win over Olimpia and are now weakened by the loss of young starlet, Bernard, who has been sold to Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine for around £25million.
Things are even worse at São Paulo whose slump towards the foot of the standings continues. They only head Náutico on goal difference after going down yet again, this time 2-1 to cross-town rivals, Portuguesa. Next up for them is the visit of Atlético PR, the league’s form team, who have won four and drawn one of their previous five games. After that they travel to Rio to play Flamengo, who will be buoyed by their derby win and their leap up the table. New boss, Paulo Autuori, already has a massive task on his hands to drag the early season league-leaders away from the danger zone.