First matches in new Brazil 2014 World Cup stadium
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff (in red) kicks a soccer ball during the inauguration of the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza December 16, 2012.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil ● The Arena Castelao, the first of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup stadiums to be completed, held its first matches on Sunday – a doubleheader in the northeastern Copa do Nordeste.
But despite the inspiration of having World Cup record goalscorer Ronaldo in the stands of the stadium opened by President Dilma Rousseff last month the teams managed only one goal to mark the occasion.
Fortaleza and Sport drew 0-0 before Bahia beat Ceara 1-0 with a goal from former Brazil and Manchester United midfielder Kleberson.
The matches were preceded by a ceremony attended by Ronaldo, Brazil’s sports Minister Aldo Rebelo, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke and Jose Maria Marin, president of the Brazilian Football Confederation.
Sunday’s matches in the Gaucho championship in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul were cancelled after the tragic deaths of more than 200 people in a fire at a night club in the city of Santa Maria.
The state’s top clubs Internacional and Gremio posted messages on their websites declaring three days of mourning and put their flags at half mast in their stadiums.
The main attraction was to have been former Brazil coach Dunga’s first game in charge of Internacional at Caxias.
Brazilian champions Fluminense drew 1-1 with Botafogo in the season’s first major “classico” in the Carioca (Rio) championship.
Fluminense, also the Carioca champions, went ahead through winger Wellington Nem after a one-two with right back Bruno in the 38th minute.
Botafogo hit back after the interval when former Dutch international Clarence Seedorf, who came on as a substitute, crossed for central defender Bolivar to head the equaliser.
Brazil ace Neymar saved Santos from defeat with a last minute penalty, his fourth goal in three matches, for a 1-1 draw with Bragantino in the Paulista (Sao Paulo) championship.
Neymar, who helped Santos win the Paulista title the last three years, was tightly marked and unable to repeat his brilliant performances of previous matches.