It’s hard to talk about the third Brazilian title in a row of Sao Paulo without repeating all the cliches. I spent the day thinking a different way to put it, but the supremacy of the club over Brazilian football is obvious. The club is the youngest of the traditional clubs in Brazil – only 73 years-old. Nonetheless, it is the club with the greatest amount of Campeonato Brasileiros. In 38 editions of the tournament, Sao Paulo won almost 1/6 of them, and reached the finals and many others. This is not to mention that no other club in Brazil has also the same amount of Copa Libertadores and club world cup titles.
Sao Paulo has a serious project. It brings together a coach who is a workaholic, a captain who loves the club and has been there for 18 years, a structure that includes one of the biggest private stadiums in the world and training centers that develop young players and recover great stars. In the Brazilian titles of the last 3 years, Sao Paulo played 114 matches and lost only 16. That is a huge number. And that shows one thing: if Sao Paulo does not play beautiful football, it rarely loses. Usually, when the team plays a bad game, it gets a draw.
This year, the title had a little more drama. Last year, everyone got bored by the fact that Sao Paulo lift the trophy 4 matches before the final date. This year, the battle was intense in what probablyw as the best Campeonato Brasileiro in a long time. And the way that happened actually made the title a small detail. In August, Gremio (the runners-up) beat Sao Paulo, putting a 11 points difference. The press and the players thought they had no chance. But, what nobody knew is that that was the last defeat of Sao Paulo in the year. From there, 18 matches took place. Sao Paulo won 12 and tied 6. The 11 points behind turned into 3 points ahead. And the title, one more time went to Morumbi, turning Sao Paulo into the most victorious club of Brazilian football.
Yesterday, Sao Paulo, who played for a simple draw, had absolute control over the match against Goias. The team marked as very few ever had in Brazilian football. To make things easier, Borges, the striker who Sao Paulo fans prefer over Adriano, scored his 16th goal in the tournament. 1-0 was enough. Hernanes, Miranda, Andre Dias, Jean (who did not play), Dagoberto, Jorge Wagner, Hugo and obviously Rogerio Ceni are names to be remembered. But above all these names, Muricy Ramalho, the coach, is the face of this title. Winning 3 times in a row with the same club a title which has at least 11 favorites every year and 17 different champions in the history is not easy.
The question for next year, as it has been for the last 4 years, is obvious too. Who can beat Sao Paulo?
Watch the 66 goals from the campaign. A great opportunity to see Hernanes (number 15 and the best player of the team), Borges (number 17, top striker of the club who scored 16 goals) and even keeper and captain Rogerio Ceni in action.
Vasco is another victim. Not a victim of bad football. A bad moment is expected within every single club or national team. But for a club who is 4 times Brazilian Champion, a club that won Copa Libertadores, a club who has a history that includes Romario, Bebeto, Juninho Pernambucano and many others relegation is not normal. Relegation ins this case is a consequence. And Vasco has been a victim of a group of people who took over the club as a land who has no owner. A group that stole all the glory and has entered dark paths. A group that caused political convulsion. A group that fractured the club. A group who was smart enough to leave just before the ship sunk.
Vasco had to beat Vitoria. It did not. It lost 2-0 at home in the last match of Edmundo, maybe the last whisper of a great player to play for Vasco. But at the age of 37, Edmundo could not save the club his professes love. Not only that. The campaign has been so poor that even if Vasco had beaten Vitoria, the club’s final destiny would’ve the second division. Atletico-PR and Nautico did not lose. Even Figueirense, the other relegated club, won its match. Now, Vasco leaves the small group of clubs who never played second division (the others are: Flamengo, Cruzeiro, Sao Paulo, Santos and Inter). It will be a tough 2009 for Vasco. And the return will not be that easy. On other hand, second-division has proven to strength between club and fans.
Fluminense, Palmeiras, Corinthians, Botafogo, Atletico and Vasco. How many more traditional clubs will have to collapse through the hands of corrupt officials before Brazilian football adopts a professional model of administration?
Be Strong Vasco!
ps: Vitoria also is part of history. After sending Palmeiras to second division in 2002, Vitoria now sends Vasco.
She was the girl ignored by the Brazilians. “She’s weird. She’s not attractive. She’s boring”, thought all Brazilian clubs. But Inter decided to take this girl to dance when it noticed that its main rival Gremio could’ve started flirting with her. Still a bit embarrassed as the the two draws against U. Catolica suggest, Inter noticed this girl had something special. The involvement started there. But Inter went really crazy when it kissed it with the wild taste of kicking Boca Junior’s ass. Inter was in love with Copa Sulamericana (Sudamericana, if you prefer). By the matches against Chivas, Inter was showing her to everyone and being gentleman. Two massacres against Chivas. But the rivals insisted that Inter was taking home an ugly chick. With the the title against Estudiantes and all the love that Copa Sulamericana can give back, all the Brazilian clubs must be wondering how come they’ve never noticed that cute girl in the corner.
The match in Porto Alegre took place in the way a South American title has to be. With bravery, with heart, with drama. Estudiantes made everything very complicated. They scored. They had a goal disallowed in a mistake of the linesman. They took the game to the extra-time. The first-half had refined football from the first to the last minute, despite the few chances.
In the second-half, Inter was falling due to its excessive confidence that the title had been decided last week. The match was doomed to the extra-time. As usual, the extra-time was lazy. The players were tired, but Inter went for the last swat drops. D’Alessandro, who conducted the midfield once more, took the corner. Danny Morais headed the ball to the post. Gustavo Nery in the rebound shot it and the keeper saved again. But the final rebound ended with Nilmar, who pushed it to the back of the net. South America is red again.
Inter reaches the glory of being the second club (the first one is Boca) of having a Copa Libertadores, a Sulamericana, a Recopa and a Club World Cup. Even sweeter for the colorados is that Inter also passed Gremio in the number of titles: 46 to 45. And for a title that many in Brazil disregard, a campaign which included matches against Gremio (twice Libertadores champion and main rival), Universidad Catolica (Libertadores runner-up), Boca, Chivas (the Mexican club that has been doing well in South America) and Estudiantes (3 times Libertadores champion) must be respected.
Brazil now has a taste of Copa Sulamericana. A lesson to other clubs in two ways: any international cup is valuable and investing in good players and structure will always turn into titles. Congratulations Inter!
ps: congrats to my dad who is a Inter fanatic!
If anyone still needed a proof of how football blogs is something for people with nothing better to do, he it is. After retiring, Romario, the legendary striker, decided to become a blogger. His site is http://www.blogdoromario.com.br/. In one of the posts he writes:
“Coach career? I’m out. I prefer the career of a blogger. I never liked to wake up early. I was always the last one to arrive to the training sessions. Imagine that as a coach I’d have to be the first one to arrive (I wanna see Maradona).
I’m always on the search for pleasure (listen to me, bro) and one of my pleasures now will be writing”
In other words, as a blogger Romario does not need to wake up early. I wish you could understand Portuguese, but the baixinho surprisingly writes with tone and style. It sounds like him talking. It looks like something far from being a PR thing.
However, as a true blogger, Romario already forgot to update his page. His excuse is “lack of time”. Can anyone tell me what he is doing?
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)
The last round of serie B was played today. With this, the second division is over, and below a wrap up of the tournament:
-Corinthians played their last match in the second division and lost 2-0 to America-RN;
-Again, the four clubs promoted to next year’s serie A are Corinthians, Avai, Santo Andre and Barueri;
-The four clubs relegated to third division are Marilia (club from Sao Paulo State), Crisciuma (traditional side from Santa Catarina where veteran striker Jardel is playing), Gama (traditional side from Brasilia) and CRB from Alagoas;
-The top striker was veteran striker Túlio Maravilha from Vila Nova with 24 goals;
-Traditional sides that did not make into first division: Bahia, Ponte Preta, Juventude and Parana;
-Two clubs that made to the finals of Campeonato Brasileiro in the past who will remain in serie B are Sao Caetano and Bragantino.
Today, Inter visited Estudiantes from Argentina for the first leg of the final of Copa Sulamericana/Sudamericana (choose your language). The club from Porto Alegre, one of the best of Brazil, won with a goal form the spot by Alex. Inter played since the 25th mark with 10 men because Guinazu was ejected.
In the first-half, D’Alessandro and Nilmar made the lives of Estudiantes defenders hell. Especially Nimar. He was the one who was fouled in the penalty area when Inter already had 10 men. The ref also ignored to onside situations that could’ve given Inter a larger score.
In the second-half, Inter played with heart and bravery in the defense. Estudiantes suffocated Inter in the defense with many crosses. But no ball arrived to goalie Lauro. Alvaro and Indio were superb in the defense. In the attack, Inter tried to counter-attack and almost found a second goal.
With the lead, finally Brazil may be winning this tournament. This blog hopes that happens. It’s time for Brazilian clubs to value this cup.
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)
Have you noticed in the previous post that Corinthians was playing with a different kit?
Take a closer look:
Notice how the jersey has several pictures of people. This is part of a marketing campaign by the club, which was form to say thank you to the fans for supporting the club in the second division. Those pictures are of fans of Corinthians, who “bought” the space for about 500 dollars. The club made 4 thousand slots available, which made each jersey unique. The price, however, did not attract that many people. Only 750 fans bought the space. Even though the look is not that great (it looks like a list of people missing in the dictatorships of South America in the 60’s and 70’s), the idea is excellent to engage the fans and make some extra money. This kit was a one time event,and it won’t be used again.
Wanna see more? Go here.
On Saturday, Corinthians and Avaí played their last match for the second division as both clubs are moving to serie A next year. So, what was the best way to say good-bye? A good fight which ended with 5 players being ejected (Marquinhos and Batista from Avaí and Morais, Elias and Chicão from Corinthians). Corinthians, the champion, beat Avai (the second team) 3-2.
Fight in Good Images:
Fight in a Different Angle + Goals + Corinthians Lifting the Trophy