São Paulo: Another Brazilian Title ComingBy: Bruno Romani | November 24th, 2008
They did it again. Or almost. São Paulo is very close to clinching its 6th Brazilian title, the third consecutive. Today, the club went to Rio to take on Vasco, a very difficult match given that the home team is desperately fighting relegation. And São Paulo, who started the round 2 points ahead of Grêmio, went home with 5 points ahead of Grêmio with just two rounds to go. This is so because São Paulo beat Vasco 2-1 (goals by Jorge Wagner and Hugo) and Grêmio was humiliated by Vitória 4-2. The marks for São Paulo are remarkable. It hasn’t lost a match in 3 months (the last one was against Grêmio in August). After that loss, São Paulo found itself seating 11 points behind Grêmio, the leader at the time. Now, São Paulo is 5 points ahead of Grêmio.
There are reasons why Muricy Ramalho was the favorite to become the coach o the national team before Dunga pulled off that great victory against Portugal. Muricy may become the first coach to win 3 Brazilian titles for the same club. In fact, São Paulo may become the first Brazilian club to win 3 national titles in a row. Since 2006, the first year which São Paulo lifted a Brazilian trophy with Muricy, the club lost only 16 matches in the league. Vasco lost 19 only in the 2008 campaign. São Paulo needs only 2 points in the next two matches to make history. On Sunday, São Paulo plays at home against Fluminense, ironically enough, the club that eliminated São Paulo from this year’s Copa Libertadores.
For Vasco, the situation is dramatic. With the loss, the club no longer depends only on itself to avoid the second division. It is another very traditional Brazilian club going down One of the 5 that never visited the second division. Their defense is terrible.
As for Grêmio, the club was introduced by the same curse that hit the other clubs fighting for the title: losing by a large margin in an important moment. Cruzeiro, Palmeiras and Flamengo had to get the ball many time sin the back of their nets in moments of decision. This time, Vitória came back to score 4 goals and hand the title to São Paulo. Vagner Mancini, the good coach from Vitória, had his sweet revenge. In the beginning of the year, Mancini was fired from Grêmio without having a single loss. No explanations provided. If even without a loss Mancini was fired, imagine what will happen to Celso Roth now that his club sees the club slip through his hands after being on the top for many rounds.
Given that São Paulo and Grêmio are in the Libertadores, the other two spots are being fought by Cruzeiro, Palmeiras and Flamengo. Cruzeiro and Flamengo played one of those matches with heavy importance at Mineirão. What a match! 51 thousand fans watching the contest between Ramirez and Ibson – two good midfielders and symbol of their clubs. Cruzeiro scored with Fernandinho. Flamengo tied with Ibson. Cruzeiro scored with Thiago Ribeiro. Flamengo tied with Obina. At the end of the match, Ramirez (it had to be him) scored the third for the home team. The 3-2 could’ve been different if Carlos Eugênio Simon, the decadent ref which will represent Brazil in the next World Cup, had given a penalty to Flamengo. But Simon made another mistake and Flamengo is out of the top 4. This man has connections.
Palmeiras took advantage of that to even playing a pale football beat Ipatinga 2-0. Now the club of Luxemburgo seats in 4th and Fla in 5th.
It remains tough, but a few clubs see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fluminense beat the reserve side of Inter 2-0. Atlético-PR tied in 2 goals with Botafogo.
Other clubs are seeing the water level rise. Portuguesa just tied at home without goals with Goiás. Figueirense, despite beating Naútico 4-3 (great match, by the way). Naútico, despite the goals of the good forward Felipe.
Some clubs in the “I don’t care zone” added to the entertaining value of the weekend. Sport beat Atlético-MG 3-0 and Coritiba beat Santos 5-1 with 4 goals by Keirrisson. What a decadence for Santos.
Goals from the Round:
What to watch in the next round:
Botafogo – Figueirense (Nothing – Relegation)
Internacional – Cruzeiro (Nothing – Libertadores)
Vitória – Palmeiras (Nothing – Libertadores)
Portuguesa – Sport (Relegation – Nothing)
Coritiba – Vasco (Nothing – Relegation)
Náutico – Atlético-PR (Relegation – Relegation)
Flamengo – Goiás (Libertadores – Nothing)
Ipatinga – Grêmio (Relegation – Title)
Atlético-MG – Santos (Nothing – Relegation)
São Paulo – Fluminense (Title – Relegation)