The Brazilian Serie A never ceases to amaze me. The obvious, inevitable, just never happens. Itâ€™s incredible. With five games to go, the title race is WIDE open. Consistency does not exist in the Brazilian Serie A dictionary. Good, bad and ugly do and are evident every single week. The reality of that is with five games of the season left, three points separate the top five teams. I love it.
Last season, we saw Corinthians throw away the title after going on a seven game win-less streak. After their great comeback win against Avai last weekend (they were a goal and a man down and came back to win 2-1 with a late Liedson goal), you were thinking that the title must be theirs now. But Corinthians and Brazilian football are not that simple. Along comes this weekend and they lose against bottom team America MG. Incredible.
Also incredible is that their main title challengers Vasco have one point from their last six available and Botafogo blew another great chance to go top by going and losing at home to Figueirense. Itâ€™s not the first chance Botafogo have had to go top and itâ€™s not the first time theyâ€™ve bottled it either. What is wrong with these teams?
Unfancied Figueirense meanwhile are creeping up the table and incredibly are only now five points behind the league leaders Corinthians with five games to go. Those two play each other Sunday 27th of November at the Orlando Scarpelli stadium. What a game that promises to be. You would think the title must be just a little too far for Figueirense but you never know. Assuming Vasco finish in the top four then 5th spot would be good enough for Libertadores qualification. That is now a real possibility for the underrated boys from Florianopolis.
Vasco can, I suppose, be excused for losing against a resurgent Santos with Neymar and Borges in fine form but they really should have beaten a woeful SÃ£o Paulo 10 days ago. Those points dropped could haunt them because they have some difficult fixtures ahead including Fluminense (gameweek 37) and Flamengo (gameweek 38).
On the 30th of October, Flamengo lost to Gremio 4-2 in a match that saw the power of hatred prove decisive. Ronaldinho was making his return to the Estadio Olimpico for the first time after snubbing a move to Gremio in favour of Flamengo. Gremio fans turned out in droves to offer their fanatical support and direct verbal abuse at their former idol Ronalidnho (okay, probably more verbal abuse). Ronaldinho started his career at Gremio of course. It worked a treat and Gremio came back from 2 goals down to win 4-2. Flamengo followed that result up with a 5-1 against relegation threatened Cruzeiro this past weekend and are now only three points of the top. Thiago Neves scored a hat trick in that match.
A few vids worth sharing. The first is the fans reaction to Gremio’s fourth goal and the second a vid from regular Brazilfooty reader Gino who was at the match.
Fluminense have been very impressive and are now just two points adrift of Corinthians. Crucially, they have more wins than all of their title rivals (18) and if teams are tied on points at the end of the season, I believe this will be the deciding criteria ahead of goal difference. If only they didnâ€™t lose at home to Atletico Mineiro two weeks ago they would be top and favourites.
Four teams go down remember so all to play for at both ends of the table. So many possibilities, permutations, surprizes. Itâ€™s unbelievable. Itâ€™s all to play for (biggest understatement ever!).
Share your passion for Brazilian football: leave a comment; join the debate, follow on Facebook and Twitter. Give this post the thumbs up clicking one of those buttons below (Facebook like, Tweet or Google +1).