On Saturday night Clarence Seedorf sat quietly, listening intently to his instructions. In case of emergency, the responsibility was his. The 36 year-old four-time UEFA Champions League winner respectfully confirmed he understood what was being asked of him, thanked the flight attendant and settled back in his seat next to the emergency exit.
Hours earlier, Seedorf had acted calmly while those around him panicked, coolly stroking home his first goal in Brazilian football to set his Botafogo team on their way to a 2-1 win in Goiania.
Seedorf - or, ‘Se-dorfie’ as he has affectionately been labelled by the nation’s finest commentators - opened his Fogão account shortly after the hour mark when his sumptuous free-kick left Goianiense goalkeeper Márcio a spectator as the ball soared into the top corner of his goal. The home side had taken 23rd minute lead, Márcio himself strolling up field to score from the penalty spot. But the game changed after Seedorf's strike, and Fellype Gabriel headed a winner at the second time asking just ten minutes later.
Their second league victory on the bounce, Saturday’s win leaves Botafogo 7th in their hunt to secure Libertadores football for next season, and coach Oswaldo de Oliveira was delighted with the way the team bounced back following a midweek Copa Sudamericana defeat to Palmeiras – a match in which Seedorf asked to be left out, his coach revealed.
“Seedorf was fatigued,” said Oswaldo. “He even spoke to me and said you had better not play [me].” The Dutchman has instantly settled into his role of leader since arriving in Rio as the highest-paid foreigner in the history of Brazilian football, forming the fulcrum of a very midfield-heavy Botafogo side since his arrival.
“He made the difference,” added his coach. “We improved second half… we won the 90 minutes in the second 45.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, Ygor’s 34th minute header was enough to give Internacional victory over Palmeiras while newly-promoted Portuguesa saw off Figueirense in São Paulo - Bruno Soares poking the hosts ahead before Ananias cut inside to drill home a second that condemned bottom-placed Figueirense to their eighth defeat of the season.
Sunday saw second-placed Vasco held at home to Corinthians and Neymar-less Santos go down 3-0 to Náutico in Recife. Patrick gave the home side the lead on the hour mark before Kim was allowed to run almost unchallenged from the halfway line before slotting his finish under Aranha; Kieza raced away to round off the scoring in the last minute.
Fluminense sit third after two goals in two minutes arrived late-on to give Flu a 2-0 win away at Coritiba, closely followed by Gremio in fourth who saw off Bahia in Porto Alegre – late goals from Souza and Marcelo Moreno enough to grab all three points after Leandro Fahel had equalised Elano’s opener. Sao Paulo sit sixth after Ademilson’s goal saw off Sport, while Cruzeiro went down 2-1 at home to Ponte Preta.
Results and Highlights