Fluminense Falls Short In Clássico Vovô

Bastos’ 66th-Minute Strike Secures 1-0 Win for Botafogo in the Rio derby. 

Today, June 11, 2024, Botafogo clashed against city rivals Fluminense in what is commonly known in Brazil as the “Clássico Vovô” which translates to the Grandpa Derby. 

This historic game played at Botafogo’s home ground, the Estádio Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro, dates back to the early 1900s and is one of the oldest and most significant derbies in all of South America.

 The game, which began at 8:00 PM local time (4:00 PM California time), was broadcasted for free to the United States via Botafogo’s YouTube channel, BotafogoTV.

Jonas de Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

 This marketing move of airing the games for free for countries outside of Brazil aims to spread the Botafogo brand and make the Brazilian league more accessible to those outside the country.

Both teams went into the match in very different circumstances. Botafogo, who was third in the standings, went in hot, coming from a 1-0 win away against Corinthians.

 Fluminense, on the other hand, have had a frustrating start to the season, with their last game being a disappointing draw at home against Juventude. But independent of what the standings were before the match, a derby is a derby, and when it comes to the Grandpa Derby, anything can happen.

Botafogo went into the match with a dynamic 4-4-1-1 formation, which, when attacking, would transform into a 4-2-4, a preferred formation by Portuguese coach Arthur Jorge.

 Fluminense, led by Fernando Diniz, took the field with a 4-2-3-1, a formation commonly used by the Brazilian coach. 

Both teams respected the magnitude of the derby and went in with their starting elevens.

Botafogo began with João Victor in goal and a defensive line composed of Damián Suárez, Bastos, Barboza, and Cuiabano. The midfield for the “Glorious” as Botafogo is known, was made up of Luiz Henrique, Marlon Freitas, Gregore, and Tchê Tchê. The offensive duo for Botafogo was composed of Junior Santos with Tiquinho in front of him. 

Fluminense also brought out their top guns for the game, with veteran goalkeeper Fábio under the posts and Manoel and Marlon in front of him in defense. The defensive flanks for the “Tricolor” were made up of Samuel Xavier and former Real Madrid star Marcelo. Fluminense’s midfield saw Martinelli and Lima as CDMs, with John Kennedy, Ganso, and Marquinhos in front of them. Leading the Tricolor attack was Argentinian goal machine Germán Cano.

 It must be noted that both teams were missing some star players due to the Copa America. Fluminense couldn’t count on Jhon Arias since he is on international duty for Colombia, and Botafogo had to play without Savarino, who is defending Venezuela at the Continental Cup.

The game, refereed by Flavio Rodrigues De Souza, was valid for round 8 of the Brazilian league. The match was very energetic from start to finish.

 Fluminense overall had more possession (56% to 44%) but failed to create much with it, having only 6 shots and 2 corners the whole game.

Fluminense FC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 Botafogo, on the other hand, had an offensive field day. With 19 total shots, 14 corners, and an expected goal (xG) of 1.68, the fact the game wasn’t a landslide is great thanks to Fluminense’s goalkeeper Fábio, who repeatedly denied Botafogo from scoring.

The final score of the Grandpa Derby was 1-0 for Botafogo, with defender Bastos scoring in the 66th minute off a corner perfectly taken by Damián Suárez. 

After the goal, Fluminense tried to react but was unable to create anything substantial. 

This defeat is enough to start raising attention from fans and pundits since Fluminense is now 1 point from the relegation zone with 3 extra games than the first team in the zone.

With this win, Botafogo moved to 16 points and as a result, will spend the night in first place, but will depend on other results to stay there since both Flamengo and Bahia have 14 points and are still to play their 8th game.

So there we have it, the Clássico Vovô delivered again. 

Today’s derby will go down as another thrilling encounter between two big teams, with Botafogo’s tactical prowess being just enough for them to come out on top and secure a crucial victory.

 As the Brasileirão continues, games such as these are what you can expect, because in Brazil, drama and excitement are what make the soccer ball go round!

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Nathan Azevedo Espindula
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