More Drama: The Title Will be Decided in the LAST RoundBy: Bruno Romani | December 1st, 2008
When press, fans and clubs thought Campeonato Brasileiro already had a champion, another twist took place, postponing the title to the last round of the year. Sao Paulo needed a simple victory at home against Fluminense in order to lift the trophy for the third time in a row. However, Fluminense, whose performances under coach Rene Simoes improved a lot, made things harder one more time for Sao Paulo in 2008. Earlier this year, Flu eliminated Sao Paulo from Copa Libertadores, the club’s main goal of the season. This time, Flu took advantage of the anxious atmosphere at Morumbi and played better than the home team. At the beginning of the second-half, Tarta opened the score for the visitors and silence came upon in the stadium. The only time the fans reacted again was when Borges tied the match minutes later. The tension was tangible in the faces of the players and fans. Specially, because they know that Gremio is very much alive.
Gremio kept its chances of becoming Brazilian champion by beating Ipatinga with extreme ease. The only surprise for Gremio in this match happened in the initial minutes when Pablo Escobar scored for Ipatinga. However, by the 8th mark into the second-half, Gremio was winning 4-1. The 4-1 also sent Ipatinga back to second division (something this blog said it was going to happen in the second round of action). Next week, Gremio needs only one combination of results: It must beat Atletico-MG at home and Sao Paulo must lose to Goias playing in Brasilia (Goias was punished by the Desportive Court and lost the right to play at Serra Dourada). Any other result gives Sao Paulo the title.
The other club joining Ipatinga will be Portuguesa, another club that was promoted last year. The club tied at home with Sport in 2 goals. Too bad. Portuguesa is a traditional club, has good players and played well, but the results never came. Time to work hard again in serie B.
The other 2 spots for second division are completely open. Vasco visited Coritiba and won 2-0with goals by Leandro Amaral (who had great help by Alex Teixeira in both goals). The win, however, did not take Vasco away from the relegation zone because of the combination of scores in other key matches. Figueirense visited Botafogo and won. In the direct battle between Nautico and Atletico-PR, Nautico won. The results kept Figueirense and Vasco in the relegation zone, and Vasco still does not depend only on its results to escape second division. Santos has a slight chance of relegation, but the 0 draw against Atletico-MG was helpful for both sides.
The 2 remaining spots for Copa Libertadores are also open. The team benefiting the most from the weekend’s results was Palmeiras. After getting a zero draw against Vitoria (which is always a tough match), Palmeiras watched Cruzeiro and Flamengo failing miserably. Flamengo was beating Goias 3-0 with goals by Obina (2x) and Juan, but it let the rival to tie the match. The situation is critical for Flamengo. Cruzeiro managed to lose against the B team of Inter. And Cruzeiro missed a penalty with Fernandinho.
So for the last round, the title, two Copa Libertadores spots and two relegated clubs will be defined. 9 out of the 20 clubs are still fighting for something. Amazing tournament!
What to Watch in the Last Round
Sport – Coritiba (Nothing – Nothing)
Fluminense - Ipatinga-MG (Nothing – Nothing)
Grêmio – Atlético-MG (Title – Nothing)
Goiás – São Paulo (Nothing – Title)
Santos – Náutico (Nothing – Relegation)
Atlético-PR – Flamengo (Relegation – Libertadores)
Vasco – Vitória (Relegation – Nothing)
Figueirense – Internacional (Relegation – Nothing)
Cruzeiro – Portuguesa (Libertadores – Nothing)
Palmeiras – Botafogo (Libertadores – Nothing)