The Rio team now has 51 points in 21 games
Flamengo and Fluminense tied in their respective matches
Botafogo, with a double from the Spanish-Brazilian Diego Costabeat Bahía 3-0 this Sunday in the match for the twenty-first day of the Brazilian Championship and remained the leader of the League with a solid advantage of eleven points over Palmeiras, their runner-up in the standings.
The Rio team completed 51 points in 21 games (16 wins, 3 draws and only 2 losses) and for several days they have had a wide advantage over their pursuers, which they have managed to manage with 17 days left until the end of the tournament.
In addition to winning their home game, Botafogo benefited from the setbacks of two of its pursuerssince Flamengo and Fluminense tied their matches, and is now followed by Palmeiras (40 points), which beat Vasco da Gama 1-0 with difficulty, and by Gremio (36 points), which beat Cruzeiro 3-0 .
The leader, led by Portuguese coach Bruno Lage, dominated the match played at home, the Nilton Santos stadium in Rio de Janeiroand won with two goals from Diego Costa in his first game as a starter and another from the youthful Luis Henrique.
The 34-year-old former Atlético de Madrid striker, who Botafogo hired just two weeks ago to replace the injured Tiquino Soares, the League’s top scorer and whose return is still uncertain, He only needed three minutes to open the scoring after receiving an assist from Victor Sá inside the area.
Diego Costa extended the score 5 minutes into the second half with a header after Gabriel Pires took advantage of a mistake by Marcos Felipe and found the forward free inside the area.
Luis Henrique completed the scoring 30 minutes into the second half in a deadly counterattack launched by Hugo and in which the youth went ahead of his markers, eluded the goalkeeper and kicked towards the empty goal.
Despite the large score in favor of the locals, The duel between Portuguese coaches Bruno Lage and Renato Paiva was quite even and had opportunities for both sides, but Botafogo counted on the accuracy of Diego Costa and the effectiveness of goalkeeper Lucas Perri, who thwarted several scoring opportunities for Bahía.
While Botafogo consolidated its leadership, Bahía fell dangerously to sixteenth place in the standings, threatened with falling into the last four, which are punished with relegation.
Palmeiras, current Brazilian champion and second in the standings, kept pace with the leader by beating Vasco da Gama 1-0 with a goal from Raphael Veiga after a foul in the 19th minute of the second half.
The team led by Portuguese coach Abel Ferreira had difficulties to win at home, the Allianz Park stadiumto a Vasco who knew how to defend himself and in which the Chilean defender Gary Medel stood out.
And Gremio took advantage of the draws between Flamengo and Fluminense to jump to third place in the standings with their 3-0 victory over Cruzeiro, with goals from Uruguayans Luis Suáres and Felipe Carballo and midfielder Pepe.
Flamengo, which was third in the classification, missed the opportunity to get closer to the leader by giving up a 0-0 draw on Saturday in the Maracaná stadium against Internacional that left them in fourth place in the standings and 15 points away from Botafogo.
The Rio team, current champion of the Libertadores, owner of the most valuable team in Brazil and which started the League as the great favoritehe left the stadium booed by his own fans after their helplessness against an Internacional that played with several reserves.
The tie further aggravated the crisis in Brazil’s most popular club after this month was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Libertadores by the Paraguayan Olimpia and left Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli on the tightrope again.