Rio de Janeiro, July 19 (IANS) Sao Paulo went on the road to defeat Flamengo 1-0, narrowing the latter’s lead in the 2018 Brazilian league’s standings to just a single point.
Flamengo came up short at Maracana Stadium even though it had a big edge in ball possession and despite the return to the starting line-up of Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero, reports Efe.
Former Flamengo attacking midfielder Everton Cardoso da Silva gave Sao Paulo the victory by scoring the only goal of Wednesday night’s contest in the 48th minute, showing his respect for his former club with a muted celebration.
Flamengo unsuccessfully tried to find holes in Sao Paulo’s defense in the first half, but the game remained scoreless due in part to outstanding net minding by Diego Alves.
Three minutes after Everton scored on a close-range header, Guerrero nearly tied the game on a header of his own.
Colombian Fernando Uribe, who made his debut Wednesday night for Flamengo when he came on as a substitute, also squandered a chance in the 65th minute when his shot at an empty goal was off-target.
Guerrero was given the green light to play by Brazil’s football federation earlier Wednesday, a decision that comes after the Swiss Federal Tribunal in late May temporarily lifted a doping suspension imposed by the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The striker, who tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine in October 2017, had been set to miss the 2018 World Cup after the CAS extended his doping ban from six to 14 months.
But the court ruling allowed him to compete in Russia, where Peru was eliminated in the group stage.
With the win, Sao Paulo is now in second place in the Brazilian-league standings with 26 points.
Atletico Mineiro had been tied with Sao Paulo on points but now is in a third-place tie with Gremio after losing to that Porto Alegre-based club 2-0 on Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, last-place Ceara topped Sport 1-0, Vitoria beat Parana 1-0 and Corinthians defeated Botafogo 2-0.