Rio de Janeiro, Oct 19 (IANS) Clarence Seedorf’s Botafogo rallied late to keep its Copa Libertadores hopes alive with a 3-2 victory over Vasco da Gama in Brazil’s Serie A football championship.
Botafogo had striker Bruno Mendes to thank after the 18-year-old scored twice in the space of 18 minutes in the second half at Rio’s Engenhao Stadium Thursday, reports Xinhua.
Earlier, Botafogo’s Elkeson cancelled out Carlos Alberto’s opener but the Vasco midfielder made it 2-1 by bundling in a Felipe cross just before half-time.
After the match former AC Milan and Real Madrid star Seedorf lavished praise on Mendes, who repaid coach Oswaldo de Oliveira faith in his first start for the club.
“It hasn’t been easy for him to come into this team,” Seedorf said. “But he has talent, a good head on his shoulders, a strong work ethic and desire to help the team.
“He has a lot of ability but the most important thing is to have the right attitude. Congratulations to him.”
Mendes has now scored three goals in his first three matches for the club, the first two as a substitute.
He expressed surprise upon hearing Seedorf’s glowing endorsement and said he would “keep the words in his heart forever”.
“I am very grateful to hear that from somebody like Seedorf,” Mendes said. “I will never forget it. I was given a chance by the coach tonight and thankfully I was able to play well, like the rest of the team.”
The result takes Botafogo to seventh in the standings and leaves Vasco fifth with seven matches remaining.
The top four teams qualify for next year’s Copa Libertadores, considered the most important club tournament in South America.