By Juan Arango
There have been lots of times when we look forward to something really big and in a snap of one’s fingers that dream evaporated.
Corinthians brass brought in Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo (photo) was supposed to be fit for making yet one more run at a title before he retires. There was history to be celebrated and made this year for the Paulistas and the only thing that could honestly fill the hearts of the Gavioes Da Fiel was the fact that Mano Menezes was signed on as national team coach after the World Cup.
There was so much talk of O Timao at the beginning of the season being the new Dream Team of South America as they were in a full-fledged march towards winning the one trophy that has eluded them in their 100-year history.
The final chance to win some silverware is slipping away especially after losing their last two matches to two teams currently fighting relegation. On Sunday, they lost to Atlético Goianiense at the Pacaembu. That was the last straw for Adilson Batista after he took over a team in first place and apparently cruising to Brasileirao title. Now the hole for Corinthians and whoever takes over for Batista will be that much deeper.
Since Batista took over for Menezes, the Timao’s performance suffered. They went 7-4-6 and lost the top spot in the league table.
Ronaldo has been nagged with injuries this season and he has not been the most fit player on that squad to say the least. Il Fenomeno has only played in three matches since May and has only contributed with two goals this season.
So what now? They are five points behind new leaders Cruzeiro with nine matches left. But here are a couple of issue facing them. Since beating Goiás 5-1 on September 4th, they have been on a horrid streak at the Pacaembu.
Their first loss at home of the Brasileirao loss of the season occurred at the expense of Gremio on September 11. That was their first loss in this tournament since they lost to last year’s eventual champs- Flamengo- ten months ago.
In this recent stretch, they have lost three of their last four. Their lone win came at the expense of cellar-dweller Gremio Prudente. This was part of the reason Corinthians even sniffed the top of the table. Then their home form went.
But if you think that is bad… we haven’t reached their road record. With only three wins on the road and earned only 14 out of 19 possible points so far this season.
Their season is hanging on a string but as much as there is alarm, there also needs to be some sort of calmness. Fluminense are now starting to tank a little bit. After suffering to beat Avaí, Flu have gone on a three-match winless streak.
In that time they have only scored one goal and have gone on a 237-minute drought. They had opportunities to expand on their lead only to see their attempts frustrated by by poor offense and even poorer play.
Let’s see if this final stretch becomes a race for the ages or a battle of attrition. Either way Cruzeiro will look forward to seeing either one of those scenarios play out as they are in the driver’s seat. They know, at least for now, that it’s not how you start.. but where you end.