Rio de Janeiro: Santos suffered a 2-1 loss to Botafogo in their first match since the departure of Neymar to Barcelona.
Rafael Marques and Fellype Gabriel struck in the space of seven minutes as Botafogo dominated the first half at the Raulino de Oliveira stadium here Wednesday.
Argentine midfielder Walter Montillo reduced the deficit with a 71st-minute strike after a Santos counterattack.
The 29-year-old then missed the chance to equalize when, after a one-two with Willian Jose, he shot wide with only keeper Renan to beat.
Botafogo were without former AC Milan and Dutch star Clarence Seedorf who was a late withdrawal with a virus.
In other matches Wednesday, Sao Paulo crushed Vasco da Gama 5-1, Atletico Paranaense drew 2-2 with Cruzeiro, Flamengo lost 2-0 at home to Ponte Preta, Bahia and Coritiba drew 0-0, Victoria won 3-0 away to Nautico while Goias drew 1-1 with Corinthians.
I`ve always said the person who wins the world championship this year is the person who does the best job on the circuit, but that does not seem the way it is at the moment.