Monday, 28 September 2009

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 26

Palmeiras 2-1 Atlético Paranaense
Barueri 0-1 Cruzeiro
Fluminense 3-2 Avaí
São Paulo 1-1 Corinthians
Internacional 0-0 Flamengo
Coritiba 2-0 Náutico
Goiás 2-1 Grêmio
Sport Recife 2-1 Santo André
Atlético Miniero 3-1 Santos
Botafogo 1-3 Vitória

Pamleiras moved 5 points clear at the top of Série A after defeating Atlético-PR. Luis Figueroa put Palmeiras ahead just before half time after springing the offside trap. The Big Green were pegged back just past the hour when Chico's header was deflected past Marcos. Palmeiras got their winning 20 minutes from time, Danilo left unmarked at a corner to fire home to give the league leaders three points. Cruzeiro bounced back from their midweek defeat to Palmeiras as they overcame Barueri. Gilberto with the only goal after some poor defending from Barueri, who lost Fernandinho to a red card in injury time. Fluminense picked up their first win since the start of August with a come from behind win over Avaí. William put Avaí ahead with only 8 minutes on the clock but Alan nipped in at the front post to level six minutes later. Muriqui's header put Avaí back ahead again but some comedy defending allowed Fábio Neves to level again just before half time. Alan grabbed a second 13 minutes into the second half after more poor defending but Fluminense were thankful Rafael was in top form in goal.

Nothing to write home about in Porto Alegre on a rain soaked pitch with Inter and Flamengo drawing 0-0. 33 seconds of highlights only from our resident provider on YouTube, Willtv1, says it all. Rômulo put Coritiba ahead against Náutico as the home side game themselves from breathing space from the relegation zone. Marcelinho missed a penalty for Coritiba, had a perfectly good goal denied before finally netting his 12th of the season to secure with win. Goiás bounced back from their midweek defeat in Paraguay as they overcame Grêmio. The visitors went ahead when Souza sprung the offside trap and rounded the goalkeeper to slot home. Goiás were level by half time, Léo Lima's powerful header bringing Goiás back into the game. The home side pushed forward and grabbed the goal that kept them on course for the Libertadores next year when Felipe hit the winner nine minutes from time.

In a big relegation battle in Recife, Sport grabbed a crucial win as they continue their fight against the drop. The were ahead after 20 minutes, Juan Acre with the goal. Santo André went in level at half time though, Rodrigo Fabri headed the equalizer. Sport though grabbed a crucial three points though when Vandinho got the winner midway through the second half. Atlético-MG look settled in 5th as they overcame Santos, Evandro set Atlético-MG on their way opening the scoring in the 5th minutes. Diego Tardelli's second half double wrapped things up for Atlético-MG as he moved joint top of the goal scoring charts. Kléber Pereira's header with 10 minutes to go nothing more than mere consolation for Santos. Botafogo are in real trouble after yet another home defeat, this time to Vitória. Leadnro put Vitória one up at half time with a shot that deflected in. Botafogo then had Emerson sent off with 18 minutes to go and two quick fire goals in the last 5 minutes ended any hope for Botafogo. Leandro Domingues scored with 4 minutes to go as Botafogo pressed for an equaliser and Gláucio wrapped things up a minute later. Laio's strike in injury time nothing more than consolation for the home side.

The big game of the weekend was "O Majestoso" at the Morumbi as São Paulo and Corinthians faced off. Ronaldo returned from injury for Corinthians and it was he who put his side into the lead with 20 minutes on the clock. After two shocking pieces of defending by São Paulo players the former FIFA World Player of the year was left to tap the ball home into an empty net. São Paulo were playing catch up after the win by Palmeiras the night before and hit the post before the break. The homeside though got their equaliser when Washington finally found the back of the net for the home side after springing the offside trap. Washington was sent off for a second yellow card in the last minute but the point left São Paulo 5 points adrift of Palmeiras when less than a week ago they were level on points.

No midweek games this weeks thanks to the Sudamericana but Week 27 gets underway on Wednesday when São Paulo will have the chance to close the gap on Palmeiras. It's also the "Fla-Flu" this weekend as well.

Here's how they line up

Náutico x São Paulo
Flamengo x Fluminense
Santos x Palmeiras
Grêmio x Sport Recife
Corinthians x Atlético Paranaense
Coritiba x Internacional
Santo André x Vitória
Atlético Miniero x Barueri
Goiás x Botafogo
Avaí x Cruzeiro

Argentina - Primera Division Week 6

Godoy Cruz 2-4 Argentinos Juniors
Banfield 2-1 Newell's Old Boys
Chacarita Juniors 1-0 Arsenal
Rosario Central 0-1 Colón
Estudiantes 2-1 Boca Juniors
Tigre 2-3 San Lorenzo
Vélez Sársfield 2-0 Huracán
Racing Club 1-2 Independiente
River Plate 2-2 Gimnasia La Plata
Atlético Tucumán 2-2 Lanús

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Copa Sudamericana First Round First Legs

River Plate Montevideo 4-1 Vitória
Alianzia Atlético Sullana 2-2 Fluminense
Vélez Sársfield 3-2 Unión Española
Internacional 1-1 Universidad de Chile
Botafogo 2-0 Emelec Guayaquil
Liga de Quito 4-0 Lánus
San Lorenzo 3-0 Cienciano Cusco
Cerro Porteño 2-0 Goiás

River Plate have one foot in the last 8 after a comprehensive win over Vitória in the Centenario. Jorge Córdoba struck twice to put the hosts 2 up before Wallace pulled one back for Vitória. River though enhanced their dominance with two strikes in the last 10 minutes, Andrezinho and Jorge Rodríguez giving River a three goal cushion to take back to Brazil. Fluminense put their poor Série form behind them as they grabbed an away dray in Peru against Alianza. Luiz Alberto put Fluminense ahead as early as the sixth minute but they were pegged back by Saulo Aponte just after half time before Marcio Valverde put Alianza ahead with 20 minutes to go. Fluminense showed some of the character that has been missing from their league performances and grabbed an equalizer from Dario Conca to take the tie back to the Maracaña all square.

Vélez Sársfield staged a remarkable comeback to give them a slender advanatge to take to Chile next week. Hernan López put Vélez ahead but David Ramirez levelled things at half time. Raul Estevez put Unión ahead on the hour and going into injury time it looked like they would secure a famous victory but a heartbreaking own goal from Diego Rosende levelled things and a still shocked Unión conceded again deep in injury time. Rolando Zarate with a cruel winner for Vélez. The holders Internacional joined the competition at this stage and began the defence of their trophy at home to Universidad. The holders were stunned when Walter Montillo put Universidad ahead after 25 minutes but gave themselves a fighting chance in next week's second leg when Kleber levelled 13 minutes from time.

Botafogo were the other Rio club in action to put their poor league form behind them as they defeated Emelec Guayaquil at the Engenhão. Renato put Botafogo ahead right on half time before Andre Lima added a second twenty minutes into the second half to give Botafogo and advantage to take back to Ecuador. Liga de Quito also put a foot in the last eight after sweeping aside Lánus. The 2008 Libertadores winners were two up inside 7 minutes, Claudio Bieler with both goals. Bieler then completed a hat trick after 25 minutes when he converted from the spot. The Lánus players lost the plot late in the game and lost Santiago Hoyos and Adrian Peralta to red cards before Edison Méndez wrapped things up from the spot.

The 2002 winners, San Lorenzo, and 2003 winners, Cienciano, met up in Argentina and it was San Lorenzo who came out on top to take a big advantage back to Peru. The hosts were two up by half time, Bernardo Romeo scoring after 12 minutes before Gonzalo Rovira doubled the advantage 10 minutes before half time. Romeo claimed a second goal in the second half to leave Cienciano a mountain to climb in the second leg. After scraping through on penalties last week, Goiás made 4 changes from the team that defeated Corinthians as they fell to defeat in Paraguay against Cerro Porteño. Julio Dos Santos put Cerro Porteño ahead 8 minutes into the second half before Diego Herner doubled the lead thirteen minute later. Goiás then lost Vitor to a red card, and they will have all work to do to claw the defecit back next week.

The second legs all take place next week.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 25 Part 2

Cruzeiro 1-2 Palmeiras

The Big Green moved three points clear at the top of the table after a come from behind victory at the Mineirão. These two teams share a long history, both used to go by the same name at one time, Palestra Italia, but were forced to change by the Brazilian government in 1942 and adapted their current names. The Italian links still run strong win both clubs, Cruzeiro of course sport the colours of the Italian National Team and Palmeiras colours share those of the Italian flag.

Anyhoo, onto business. Palmeiras had been pegged back at the top of the table by São Paulo so a win was vital as they looked to get some daylight. They couldn't have had a worse start though, a flick on finding Thiago Ribiero unmarked and stroked the ball past Marcos for the opening goal of the night with just seven minutes on the clock. The lead lasted barely two minutes, Wagner Love was brought down and Diego Souza rifled home the resultant free kick form 25 years out. The teams went in level at half time, thanks only to great saves from Fabio in the home goal and Marcos in the visitors goal. Marcos was then beaten by a shot from Fabricio but was glad to see the ball hit the side netting.

Palmeiras struck the crucial goal 5 minutes into the second half, a ball from Cleiton Xavier splitting the Cruzeiro defence and Wagner Love collected and took the ball round Fabio to score his second goal since returning from CSKA Moskva. Palmeiras then suffered a huge blow as Colombian Pablo Armero was sent off two minutes later for a second bookable offence, he almost conceded a penalty with the challenge as well. Cruzeiro smelled blood and went for Palmeiras, Kléber was denied by Marcos and the post and then Leonardo Silva put a header just wide but the Big Green held on to move clear at the top of the table.

Week 26 this weekend and all games take place on Saturday or Sunday. The big game is at the Morumbi, where the "Majestoso" derby takes place. They line up as follows

Palmeiras x Atlético Paranaense
Fluminense x Avaí
São Paulo x Corinthians
Barueri x Cruzeiro
Internacional x Flamengo
Coritiba x Náutico
Goiás x Grêmio
Sport Recife x Santo André
Atlético Miniero x Santos
Botafogo x Vitória

Monday, 21 September 2009

Argentina - Primera Division Week 5

Huracán 1-4 Estudiantes
Rosario Central 0-0 Banfield
Colón 3-1 Chacarita Juniors
Gimnasia La Plata 2-0 Tigre
Argentinos Juniors 2-1 Atlético Tucumán
Independiente 2-2 Vélez Sársfield
Lanús 0-2 Newell's Old Boys
San Lorenzo 0-0 Racing Club
Boca Juniors 2-3 Godoy Cruz
Arsenal 1-0 River Plate

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 25

Náutico 0-0 Atlético Miniero
Vitória 2-0 Internacional
Atlético Paranaense 1-0 Sport Recife
Avaí 4-0 Barueri
Grêmio 5-1 Fluminense
Santo André 1-1 São Paulo
Santos 0-0 Botafogo
Flamengo 3-0 Coritiba
Corinthians 1-4 Goiás

Náuico picked up a valuable point in their fight against the drop after holding Atlético-MG to a goalless draw. Plenty of action in the game as the highlights will show, but nothing really to write home about. Internacional, who being the defence of the Copa Sudamericana this week, fell to a second straight defeat againt a Vitória side now unbeated in 4. It took until the second half for the goals to arrive, Uelliton headed the home side ahead on the hour before Roger completed things from the spot 13 minutes later. Atlético-PR bounced back from their midweek Sudamericana exit to leave Sport deep in relegation trouble at the foot of the table. One goal settled it and it game in the first minute of the game, Marcinho firing home from the edge of the box.

After losing their last three games Avaí got back on the horse against Barueri. William put Avaí ahead after 20 minutes and 7 minutes later Eltinho doubled the lead taking advantage of some poor defending from Barueri. Things didn't get better for them in the second half, Muriqui made it three after a quick break from the back and Leo Gago finished things off seven minutes from time. To cap of a bad day for Barueri, Daniel Marques saw red 5 minutes from time. Now, if Fluminense weren't in the mire enough before they went to Porto Alegre on Sunday their confidence would have been shot to pieces after a 5-1 thumping from Grêmio. It was all over by half time, two goals from Souza The first a header from a set play, the second a real poachers effort either side of a retaken penalty from Tchecho ensured a 3-0 half time lead for Grêmio. Kieza pulled one back for Fluminense when he headed home 12 minutes in to the second half but the lead was restored a minute later when Kieza scored again, this time into his own net. It summed up Fluminense's luck at the moment and Jonas put the final nail in the coffin six minutes from time. With Palmeiras kicking their heels until Wednesday, São Paulo had the chance to go top of the league as they took on Santo André. The Champions took an early lead when Jean volleyed them ahead with only 7 minutes on the clock. It was expected to be one way traffic from there, but Santo André showed great spirit and pegged São Paulo back with 20 minutes to go, Pablo Escobar slotting the ball under an advancing Rogerio Ceni to level things and keep São Paulo in second in the table.

Botafogo, after their promising performance in midweek, picked a point up from their trip to Santos. Chances were at a premium but Botafogo had the woodwork and goalkeeper Jefferson to thank for the point. Felipe was also in great for in the Santos goal as well. Flamengo moved up into 8th after a 3-0 victory over Coritiba. The visitors struck a post early doors but went in behind after Dejan Petkovic put Flamengo ahead with a cracking free kick from the edge of the box. Adriano then hit the post for Flamengo, but he wasn't to be denied as he doubled the lead 10 minutes into the second half with a cheeky chip. Willians rounded things off 8 minutes from time when he thumped home a thunderbolt from 25 yards out. The Corinthians slump continues, this time well beaten at home by Goiás. Iarley put the visitors ahead after just 8 minutes, tapping home after Leo Lima had sprung the offside trap. Fernando doubled the advantage before half time, poor defending allowing him to get his shot off. More poor Corinthians defending allowed Iarley to grab a second 5 minutes after half time but Dentinho pulled a goal back with 15 minutes to go after Corinthians had hit the woodwork twice in quick succession. It was just a temporary blip for Goiás who rounded things off when João Paulo was left unmarked on the six yard line to head home.

The round is completed on Wednesday night when leaders Palmeiras are away at Cruzeiro. A win would give them a vital three point advantage in the table. We'll put that one to bed on Thursday.

Copa Sudamericana Preliminary Round 2nd Legs Part 3

Deportivo Anzoátegui 1-2 Alianza Atlético Sullana
Alianza Atlético Sullana advances 4-1 on points
San Lorenzo 1-0 Tigre
San Lorenzo advances on away goals rule
Lanús 1-0 River Plate
Lanús advances 6-0 on points
Vélez Sársfield 1-0 Boca Juniors
Vélez Sársfield advances 4-1 on points
Goiás 1-1 Atlético Miniero
Goiás advances 6-5 on penalties
Botafogo 3-2 Atlético Paranaense
Botafogo advances 4-1 on points

After a goalless first leg in Peru 6 weeks ago, Deportivo Anzoátegui and Alianza Atlético finally met up in Venezuela for the second leg. It was the visitors who took a shock lead when Marcio Valverde fired home a free kick with 14 minutes on the clock. It meant that Anzoátegui could only progress by winning the game and the finally equalised with 25 minutes to go when Juan Garcia was left unmarked to slot home the equaliser. The lead only lasted two minutes, Jhonatan Rodriguez with a diving header to spark wild celebrations from the Peruvians. Giacomo Di Girogi was shown a straight red card for Anzoátegui with 5 minutes to go to compound their misery.

San Lorenzo sneaked through to the last 16 of the competition after a late late winner stunned Tigre who seemed to be heading into the First Round proper. With the scores still locked with 5 minutes to go San Lorenzo, the 2002 winners, had Juan Menseguéz sent off and all seemed lost but two minutes later Fabian Bordagaray connected with a cross from Pablo Pintos to volley home and send San Lorenzo through on away goals.

River Plate made it a bad week for the Buenos Aires big two as they were dumped out of the competition by Lanús. Already trailing from the first leg, River needed a win to progress but were denied when Santiago Salcedo fired Lanús ahead 10 minutes after half time in a game played in shocking conditions. Try as they might River couldn't find a way back into the game and then lost Martin Galmarini to a second yellow card 7 minutes from time. There were some spiteful scenes at the end of the game but nothing could take away from the easy progression of Lanús into the last 16.

Vélez Sársfield dumped Boca Juniors out of the competition after a 1-0 victory saw them qualify for the last 16. The only goal came on the hour as poor defending allowed Jonathan Cristaldo to slam home from a Fabian Cubero pass. Boca finished with 10 me, Martin Palermo seeing red for a poor mistimed challenge.

An extra 10 minutes entertainment in Goiás as they home side progressed on penalties into the last 16. Junior put Atlético-MG ahead with 20 minutes but the lead lasted 6 minutes before Atlético-MG conceded a penalty and Felipe converted. It went to a decider from 12 yards and Atlético-MG, got first advantage when Goiás fired over but Harlei saved the next penalty to keep it all square. It went to sudden death and a great save from Harlei, pushing the ball onto the post sent Goiás through.

Botofogo, with probably their finest performance of the season so far, knocked out Atlético-PR with a late goal. Wesley put Atlético-PR ahead on the half hour, blasting the ball past Juan Castillo in the Botafogo goal. The teams went in level at half time though, Reinaldo was bought down in the box and Lucio Flavio converted from the spot. Fogo started the second half strongly and the pressure paid off on the hour when Gabriel put them ahead. Atlético-PR pushed forward and levelled with 9 minutes to go when when a poor piece of goalkeeping allowed Nei to level. At that stage Atlético-PR were heading through on away goals but three minutes later Wellington stuck a foot out after Lucio Flavio's flick on to send Fogo into the last 16. It was a first win in charge for new coach Estevam Soares.

When the next round games take place is anybodys guess, the first legs are scheduled for this coming week with the second legs a week later but knowing this lot anything could happen.

The First Round Draw is as follows, as we welcome holders Internacional into the competition.

Goiás v Cerro Porteño
Unión Española v Vélez Sársfield
Vitória v River Plate Montevideo
Universidad de Chile v Internacional
Fluminense v Alianza Atlético Sullana
Cienciano Cusco v San Lorenzo
Lanús v Liga de Quito
Emelec Guayaquil v Botafogo

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Vasco de Gama latest

As you may or may not be aware, the fourth team of the "Big 4" in Rio de Janeiro, Vasco de Gama were relegated at the end of 2008 in 18th place in the table 4 points adrift of safety. Mind you, as things sit at the moment if Vasco were to return to the big time in 2010 two more of the "Big 4" in Rio will be settling into life in Série B. Fluminense, to be honest, look sunk already and it will take some miracle for them to escape the drop whilst Botafogo are still in with a fighting chance.

A decent Campeonato Carioca was hampered by a 6 point deduction in the Taça Guanabara and it saw Vasco finish 6th in the table. Without the deduction they would have finished top of the table. They made up for it though in the Taça Rio, winning all 8 of their games including victories over Flamengo and Botafogo. It all went wrong though in the Semi finals of the Taça Rio when they were thumped 4-0 by Botafogo.

So Vasco moved onto life in Série B and began with a 1-0 victory over Brasiliense. They were bought back to earth though at the end of May, a 3-0 away defeat at Paraná reminding Vasco that they were not going to get things all their own way thing season. Vasco though, have settled into life in Série B quite nicely and currently like top of the table with 14 games to go in the season. They have currently lost only 3 games all season and have been held to draws on 7 occasions. Their nearest challengers are Guarani de Campinas who lie 3 points behind in the table. Elton is currently the leading scorer for Vasco having found the net on 12 occasions so far this season to lie one behind in the race for the Série B golden boot.

It would seem that Vasco will follow the example of Corinthians and bounce straight back to Série A at the first attempt and as champions. Corinthians of course went onto win the Copa do Brasil this year, defeating Vasco over two legs in the semi final, and qualify for the 2010 Libertadores.

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 24 Part 2

Coritiba 1-1 Corinthians

In the hang over game from Week 24 it was honours even in Curitiba between Coritiba and Corinthians. The Corinthians goalkeeper Felipe was in action early with a good save before Souza hit the woodwork for the visitors. It was the home side though who took the lead on 27 minutes, Jaílton left unmarked at the back post to head home his second goal of the season. Corinthians had a great chance to level before half time but Edson Bastos in the Coritiba goal pulled of a remarkable save to send his team in ahead at half time. The lead lasted only five minutes into the second half, Souza's cross was converted at the back post by Denthino for this sixth goal of the season. The visitors pressed for the winner but the Corotiba defence held firm under the pressure to leave both teams unchanged as league postitions go.

Week 25 lines up like this.....

Náutico x Atlético Miniero
Vitória x Internacional
Atlético Paranaense x Sport Recife
Avaí x Barueri
Grêmio x Fluminense
Santo André x São Paulo
Santos x Botafogo
Flamengo x Coritiba
Corinthians x Goiás
Cruzeiro x Palmeiras

We'll be back on Monday with a round up of the first 9 games which take place on Saturday and Sunday with the final game in Belo Horizonte taking place on Wednesday night.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Argentina - Primera Division Week 4

Racing Club 1-1 Gimnasia La Plata
Newell's Old Boys 0-1 Argentinos Juniors
Chacarita Juniors 0-1 Rosario Central
Vélez Sársfield 0-0 San Lorenzo
Tigre 1-2 Arsenal
Atlético Tucumán 2-0 Boca Juniors
Lanús 1-2 Banfield
River Plate 0-0 Colón
Estudiantes 2-1 Independiente
Godoy Cruz 1-1 Huracán

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 24

São Paulo 2-0 Avaí
Flamengo 3-0 Sport Recife
Atlético Miniero 2-1 Atlético Paranaense
Internacional 2-3 Cruzeiro
Vitória 3-2 Palmeiras
Santos 1-0 Santo André
Botafogo 0-0 Fluminense
Barueri 3-1 Goiás
Náutico 0-2 Grêmio

Things are hotting up in Brazil and defeats for the top two put São Paulo right back in the race to claim a fifth straight title. São Paulo kicked things off in Round 24 by defeating an Avaí team which after such a long unbeated run fell to their third straight defeat. Dagoberto put São Paulo ahead just after half time with a sharp turn and finish, São Paulo then had a goal bizarrely disallowed before Hugo's header sealed the points. Flamengo were ahead inside two minutes against Sport after Adriano's curling effort found the top corner. Ze Roberto doubled the advantage on the half hour after a quick break. Sport then lost Durval to a straight red corad for an elbow and Adriano went level at the top of the goal scoring charts with his second in the last minute of the game. Atlético-MG hauled themselved back into title contention after a come from behind win over Atlético-PR. Atlético-PR went ahead in the 10th minute when Alex Miniero (confusing I know) headed the opening goal. The lead lasted only 4 minutes before Wason Renteria was left unmarked in the 6 yard area to head Atlético-MG level. Diego Tardelli, back from international duty, got the winner 18 minutes from time when he lashed in a shot from the edge of the area. The win lifed Atlético-MG into fourth.

Inter became the first of the top 2 to come unstuck when they crashed 3-2 at home to Cruzeiro. Alecsandro put Inter ahead from the penalty spot after 29 minutes. Cruzeiro were level 7 minutes later, also from the spot when Gilberto converted to send the side in level at half time. Gilberto then put Cruzeiro ahead 8 minutes into the second half when he headed home but Inter again fought back and Andrezinho's free kick levelled things with 16 minutes to go. But again Inter conceded almost immediately after scoring and Thiago Ribiero slammed home the winner two minutes later. Vitória picked up their first win in 4 after defeated leaders Palmeiras. Uelliton put Vitória ahead after 20 minutes when an attempted punch clear from Marcos hit him square in the face and went in but Robert levelled to send the teams in all square at half time. Neto Berola put Vitória ahead before Derlei doubled the advantage with 6 minutes to go. Robert got his second, and pulled a goal back for Palmeiras but it turned out to be little more than consolation. Santo André stay in the last relegation place after a 1-0 defeat at Santos. Germano headed the only goal of the game 6 minutes before half time as Santos remain just in the top half of the table.

The big relegation clash in Rio ended goalless between Botafogo and Fluminense. Chances were at a premium, Andre Lima went close for Botafogo whilst Fluminense had a goal disallowed for offside. Barueri picked up their first win in 3 after defeating Goiás. Marcio Careca put Barueri up in the 11th minute with a powerful show but Vitor levelled for Goiás just 4 minutes later with an absolute rasper. It stayed that way until 11 minutes from time when Thiago Humberto Barueri ahead after a 1-2 with Careca before Basílio wrapped things up two minutes from time. Grêmio moved into 6th after a 2-0 win away at Náutico. Souza headed Grêmio ahead with 18 minutes on the clock and eight minutes later Jonas joined Adriano at the top of the goal scoring charts when he showed great skill in the box to double the lead. Grêmio finished the game with 10 men though, Maxi López seeing red for two yellow cards.

The final game of the round is on Wednesday night when Coritiba entertain Corinthians. We'll be back with that on Thursday and then a round up of the final Sudamericana first round ties on Friday.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying Round 16

Paraguay 1-0 Argentina
Bolivia 1-3 Ecuador
Brazil 4-2 Chile
Venezuela 3-1 Peru
Uruguay 3-1 Colombia

Paraguay confirmed their place in South Africa after defeating Argentina in Asunción 1-0. It was a strange performance from Argentina, who now drop into 5th place in the table and facing a play off against the 4th placed team in the CONCACAF region. Saturday's match winner Salvador Cabañas was a constant threat for Paraguay and it was no surprise he had a hand in the only goal of the game. Neat passing between Cabañas and Edgar Baretto released Nelson Valdez and he slotted past Sergio Romero. Juan Sebastián Verón was dismissed for two yellow cards in the second half as the frustration showed from the visitors who could only muster one Lionel Messi effort in reply.

Ecuador bounced back from defeat in Venezuela to boost their chances of qualification by overcoming Bolivia in the altitude of La Paz. Ecuador were out of the blocks quickly and Jefferson Montero rattled the Bolivian cross bar as early as the first minute. The lead quickly followed three minutes later when Edison Mendéz found a way through the Bolivian defence to fire home. Bolivia clung on to somehow go in just one down at half time but Ecuador doubled their lead just after half time when Antonio Valencia's 30 yarder found the back of the net. 10 minutes later and it was all over, Valencia turning provider for Christian Benítez to add a third. The Ecuadorians then relaxed and allowed Yecerotte a consolation goal as they leapfrogged Argentina into the last automatic qualifying position.

In a rainy Salvador, Chile missed out on securing automatic qualification after going down 4-2 to an under strength Brazil team who were without Robinho injured and Lucio, Kaka and Luis Fabiano all due to suspension. Nilmar was the star man for Brazil, grabbing a hat-trick. La Selecão opened up a two goal lead, Nilmar volleying home on the half hour before Julio Baptista doubled the lead. Chile hit back just before half time when Humberto Suazo converted from the spot after a foul by Melo. Melo was the shown a straight red card for a very poor challenge just after half time and whilst Brazil were reorganising Chile levelled the game when Suazo claimed his second of the night. After the introduction of Elano and Diego Tardelli, Nilmar took advantage of poor Chile defending to put Brazil in the lead 15 minutes before time before completing his hat trick two minutes later. The teams were levelled in number by the dismissal of Alexis Sánchez moments after and Chile would be left to wait on qualification.

Venezuela's hopes of pipping Argentina for 5th was boosted when they defeated Peru 3-1. Valencia CF's Miku put the home side ahead on the half hour but the teams went into the break level when Juan Fuenmayor's own goal levelled things up. Seven minutes after half time a second from Miku restored the lead for Venezuela and Ronald Vargas made sure of the points when he added a third 20 minutes from time. Venezuela, with two rounds to go are in the mix of qualifying for the finals for the first time ever although their last two games are against the already qualified Brazil and Paraguay.

Uruguay also remain in contention after a 3-1 victory over Colombia in Montevideo. Uruguay left it late though relying on two goals in the final 15 minutes to secure their victory. Uruguay were ahead as early as the sixth minute when Luiz Suárez fired them ahead against a disorganised Colombia side. Then Uruguay were reduced to 10 men after Carlos Valdes was dismissed but he was soon followed down the tunnel by Teófilo Gutiérrez almost straight after half time. Jackson Matrínez scored for the second straight game to level things for Colombia immdiately after coming on as a substitute. Another substitute, Andrés Scotti fired Uruguay ahead before Sebastián Eguren sealed things three minutes from time to leave them in the hunt for a possible automatic qualification spot.

So after Round 16 it's tight as a ducks bum in South America. We've already covered Argentina's shortcomings elsewhere but Brazil and Paraguay are definitely off to the big show, Chile should be joining them as they currently have a 4 point gap between them and fourth placed Ecuador. Then there are 5 teams for two spots, Ecuador have 23 points and are currently in the last automatic qualifying spot. Argentina are now fifth a point behind, Uruguay and Venezuela are a point back on 21 and then Colombia are far from done on 20 points. The only other things confirmed are that Bolivia and Peru will fight it out for the wooden spoon when they meet in Round 18. Finishing 5th isn't the easy passage to the finals either as Mexico may be lurking in the play off game.

Round 17 Fixtures

Bolivia v Brazil
Colombia v Chile
Venezuela v Paraguay
Argentina v Peru
Ecuador v Uruguay

Round 18 Fixtures

Uruguay v Argentina
Peru v Bolivia
Paraguay v Colombia
Chile v Ecuador
Brazil v Venezuela

Argentina - Primera Division Week 3

Arsenal 0-0 Racing Club
San Lorenzo 2-2 Estudiantes
Argentinos Juniors 0-0 Lanús
Huracán 0-2 Atlético Tucumán
Independiente 2-0 Godoy Cruz
Boca Juniors 1-1 Newell's Old Boys
Banfield 1-0 Chacarita Juniors
Colón 5-1 Tigre
Gimnasia La Plata 0-1 Vélez Sársfield
Rosario Central 2-1 River Plate

Do you have the cojonés?

Argentina are in a mess. That much is obvious. Two defeats in the latest round of qualifying matches have left them outside the automatic qualification places. The 3-1 defeat at home to Brazil was even more emphatic than that sounds, but the 1-0 defeat in Paraguay was perhaps more indicative of the trouble they find themselves in. Two games remain; at home to Peru and away in Montevideo in what looks like being winner takes all, the loser likely to face a play-off with a CONCACAF side. The way it's going in North America, that could easily be Mexico. Argentina are in trouble.

So what to do? The playing talent looks impressive on paper, but football is played on grass and, on that surface, the team has the co-ordination of Bambi on ice and that has to be the responsibility of the man at the helm, who just so happens to be a certain wee fellow by the name of Diego Maradona.

If Maradona doesn't fall on his sword - and he hardly seems the sort of character that would - the AFA have three questions to answer. First, is it worth changing manager with two games (plus that potential play-off) to go? Second, who would take over, especially with potential contenders ruling themselves out left, right and centre? And finally, which member of the AFA has the platinum coated balls to tell a national legend that he's sacked? And the third of those is perhaps the most pertinent. Even if the decision to change is made and a new man is lined up, finding someone to actually usher Maradona out of the door is the biggest barrier to change that exists.

Change or no change, there's every chance Argentina won't join the fun in South Africa next year such are the defensive frailties. There comes a point when change has to happen though, and that time looks right about now.

Monday, 7 September 2009

CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying Round 15

Colombia 2-0 Ecuador
Peru 1-0 Uruguay
Paraguay 1-0 Bolivia
Chile 2-2 Venezuela
Argentina 1-3 Brazil

Colombia turned up the heat on Argentina after claiming a 2-0 victory over Ecuador in Medellin. The visitors were reduced to 10 men just after half time when substitute Pablo Palacios was dismissed for a second yellow card offence. Debutant Jackson Martínez put Colombia ahead with ten minutes to go and Teofilo Gutierrez wrapped things up deep into injury time to wrap things up. Uruguay's slim hope of qualification was crushed in Lima after Peru picked up only their second victory of the qualifying campaign so far. Hernan Rengifo scoring his first goal for his country with four minutes left after poor defending from Walter Gargano left Renrifo in an onside position to slot home. It got worse for Uruguay as Deigo Godin was dismissed in the dieing moments.

Paraguay moved closer to securing a spot in South Africa after a 1-0 victory over Bolivia in Asunción, Salvador Cabañas converting from the spot right on half time to keep Paraguay third in the table and likely to be on the plane to South African next summer. In Santiago, Chile kept themselves on course for next summer after a 2-2 draw with already eliminated Venezuela. Chile took the lead after 10 minutes when Arturo Vidal headed home a corner but Venezuela went into half time ahead. Firstly Giancarlo Maldonado levelled after chile had gifted possession to the Venezuelans with poor passing and the home fans were left in shock when a superb free kick from José Rey put Venezuela into a shock lead. The hosts though, levelled things 8 minutes into the second half after Rodrigo Millar slammed the ball home after a goalmouth scramble.

The big game of the weekend was in Rosario where mortal footballing enemies Argentina and Brazil faced each other. The game was moved away from Buenos Aires at the request of Diego Maradona. After an early effort from Leo Messi went wide as Argentina made most of the running. It was Brazil though who went ahead against the run of play after 24 minutes as Luisao was granted the freedom of the penalty box to head home a free kick from Elano. Six minutes the Rosario crowd were stunned as Luis Fabiano doubled the Brazilian lead. Mariano Andujar was unable to handle a shot from Felipe Melo and Fabiano tapped in from close range. Argentina pressed looking for a way back into the game, Julio Cesar then pulled off a fine save to deny Tévez but was helpless as Dátolo scored form 35 yards out to bring the crowd and his team back into the game. It proved to be a blip in proceedings, with the Argentina fans still celebrating Brazil went down the other end and Luis Fabiano latched onto a through ball form Kaka to life the ball over Andujar with a quite sublime finish. This result guaranteed Brazil will be in South Africa again next year whilst Argentina, under huge pressure to qualify automatically, face a tricky trip to Asunción on Wednesday night to take on Paraguay.

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 23

Corinthians 2-1 Santos
Palmeiras 2-1 Barueri
Sport Recife 2-1 Botafogo
Grêmio 1-1 Vitória
Goiás 2-2 Coritiba
Atlético Paranaense 0-0 Flamengo
Cruzeiro 1-2 São Paulo
Santo André 1-2 Atlético Miniero
Avaí 0-2 Internacional
Fluminense 1-1 Náutico

No rest for the international break as Week 23 opened on Wednesday night with the big derby clash between Corinthians and Santos. All the goals came in the second half and it was the visitors who took the lead when Eli Sabia headed in a free kick. Corinthians levelled 10 minutes from time when Bill was first to react to a shot that hit the post and then Corinthians won the game two minutes from time when Chicão headed home. The Big Green, again sporting their Blue kit at home, remain top after a 2-1 home win over Barueri. Again all the goals came in the second half. Diego Souza put Palmeiras ahead 4 minutes in the second half heading home a Cleiton Xavier cross. Wagner Love, back from a stint in Russia, doubled the lead from the spot with 17 to go. Barueri hit back 4 minutes from time when Marcos couldn't handle Leandro Castãn's header and he was on hand to slam home what turned out to be mere consolation. Grêmio came from behind to snatch a draw with Vitória. Neto Berola put Vitória ahead 5 minutes before half time and then they hit the post early in the second half. Vitória were hampered by the dismissial of Magal for 2 yellow cards and Grêmio finally hit back two minutes from time when Jonas volleyed home from near the penalty spot. Jonas could then have won it in injury time but put his shot over the bar.

Honours even at Goiás, where Coritiba snatched a late point. Ariel Nahuelpan put Coritiba ahead after 16 minutes but Goiás went into half time ahead. Felipe levelling things with a super free kick before some poor defending allowed Léo Lima to fire the home side ahead. Ariel Nahuelpan had the last say though, after more comedy defending Nahuelpan got the goal of the weekend with a spectacular bicycle kick. No goals between Atlético-PR and Flamengo but plenty of talking points. Most of the action came in the first 20 minutes, the Atlético-PR manager was dismissed, as was Willians for Flamengo for a stray arm. But the actions of the Atlético-PR player involved need looking at, talk about a delayed reaction to getting clouted. São Paulo in the hunt for 5 in a row after a valuable victory at Cruzeiro. Diego Renan put Cruzeiro ahead just before half time after poor São Paulo passing. But the Champions aren't going to give up their title without a fight and hit back through Marlos 20 minutes into the second half. Borges then won it for São Paulo with a strike 9 minutes from time to move them up to third.

Atlético-MG picked up their first win in 6 after overcoming a Santo André side which falls into the relegation zone. Atlético-MG left it late though, after falling behind to a goal from Wanderley mid way through the second half. Éder Luís levelled things two minutes from time and Diego Tardelli's injury time header snatched all three points. Despite finishing the game with 9 players, Internacional remain second in the table. Fabiano Eller put Inter head after 34 minutes but the first red card came two minutes before half time when Índio was dismissed for a poor tackle. Undaunted by their loss, Inter doubled the lead when Magrão struck on the break. Then Bolívar was dismissed for a second yellow card but the 9 men held on. Náutico climbed out of the relegation zone after a 1-1 draw with cellar dwellers Fluminense. Dario Conca put Flu ahead with a shot from the edge of the box half way through the first half. Náutico were gifted their equaliser though when Flu keeper Rafael spilled a shot and Carlinhos Bala was on hand to nod home the equaliser.

The big game of the week was in Recife where two relegation threatened teams met. The game as a contest though was over inside 7 minutes. Firstly with the game 5 minutes old, Fabiano Pereira headed Sport ahead and two minutes later
Luciano threaded the ball through for Wilson to double the advantage. As much as Botafogo tried to get into the game they found Magrão in the Sport goal in fine form. Junihno gave Botafogo hope when Magrão made a hash of saving his free kick and it ended up in the back of the net. Andre Lima was then incorrectly ruled offside but Magrão saved anyway and then Lucio Flavio blasted over. Botafogo keeper Flavio kept them in the game with a great save by Sport hung on to go three games undefeated.

Next weeks fixtures start on Saturday and finish the following Wednesday. A round of the first 8 on Monday with the last game follow up on Thursday.

São Paulo x Avaí
Flamengo x Sport Recife
Atlético Miniero x Atlético Paranaense
Internacional x Cruzeiro
Vitória x Palmeiras
Santos x Santo André
Botafogo x Fluminense
Barueri x Goiás
Náutico x Grêmio
Coritiba x Corinthians

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Copa Sudamericana Preliminary Round 1st Legs Part 5

Atlético Paranaense 0-0 Botafogo

In the last first leg tie it finished all square in Curitiba between Atlético-PR and Botafogo. It was a definite game of two halves with Atlético-PR having most of the first half with Botafogo having goalkeeper Flavio to thank for keeping them in the game. The second half was a complete contrast and Atlético-PR were grateful their custodian Galatto. The teams meet again in Rio de Janeiro in a fortnight, with the rest of the preliminary round ties to be completed that week.

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Catch Up

Internacional 3-0 Atlético Miniero

In the last catch up game to cover Inter's mid-season trip to Japan for the Sugura Bank Cup the home side moved up to second after a comfortable victory over Atlético-MG. The teams went in level at half time but Inter wrapped things up with 3 goals inside 10 second half minutes. Edu put Inter ahead, heading in five minutes after half time and three minutes later substitute Andres D'Alessandro doubled the advantage. His inital shot was saved by Bruno but the Atlético-MG defence didn't clear and D'Alessandro wasn't going to say no to a second opportunity. Edu wrapped things up when he added a second on the hour, again scoring with a header. Atlético-MG fall below Avaí on goal difference.

CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying

This coming week sees rounds 15 and 16 of CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying. Despite the fact that none of the domestic leagues are taking a break on the continent, players will be flying in from all over Europe to take part in these fixtures. No bigger game this weekend than the one in Rosario where the "Old Firm" of the region square off in a game that has been moved at the request of Diego Maradona to try and generate the intimidating atmosphere that the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires just can't recreate.

They line up as follows

Round 15 take place on Saturday

Colombia v Ecuador
Peru v Uruguay - Live in the UK on SKY Sports
Paraguay v Bolivia - Live in the UK on SKY Sports
Argentina v Brazil - Live in the UK on SKY Sports
Chile v Venezuela

Round 16 takes place next Wednesday

Bolivia v Ecuador
Uruguay v Colombia - Live in the UK on SKY Sports
Paraguay v Argentina - Live in the UK on SKY Sports
Brazil v Chile - Live in the UK on SKY Sports
Venezuela v Peru

A round up of these games will appear sometime next week.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 22

Barueri 2-2 Corinthians
Náutico 3-0 Atlético Paranaense
Coritiba 2-0 Avaí
Flamengo 3-0 Santo André
Santos 2-0 Fluminense
São Paulo 0-0 Palmeiras
Atlético Miniero 1-1 Sport Recife
Vitória 3-3 Cruzeiro
International 4-0 Goiás
Botafogo 3-3 Grêmio

Apologies for the late update this week. Bank Holiday and excess alcohol got in the way. Anyhoo.....

Week 22 began last Wedneday night when Barueri and Corinthians met. The home side made the perfect start when Flavio headed them into the lead with 20 seconds on the clock. Corinthians hit back after half time, Marchino levelled fom the spot and 5 minutes later took the lead through Elias. Joint leading scorer Val Baiano rescued a point for Barueri before Xandão was sent off. Náutico enjoyed a comfortable win over Atlético-PR, all the goals coming in the first half from Carlinhos Bala, Michel and Derley but they still remain in the relegation zone. Coritiba ended Avaí's long unbeaten run with a 2-0 victory. Marcelinho went joint top of the goal scoring charts with the opener after 20 minutes and Pereira wrapped things up just after half time. After losing their last three games Flamengo finally got back in the horse with a 3-0 victory over Santo André. Denis Marques set Flamengo on their way with the opener and Leo Moura doubled the advantage from the spot right on half time. Ze Roberto wrapped things up in injury time.

Fluminense are now short odds on falling through the trap door at the end of the season after this latest defeat to Santos left them 8 points short of safety. André put Santos ahead just before half time and Paulo Lima made the game safe with 15 minutes to go. The big derby game at the Morumbi between São Paulo and Palmeiras finished goalless but the Big Green were on top for much of the game and will rue missed chanes. Sport climbed off the bottom of the table after picking up a point at Atlético-MG. The home side have been in a poor run of form recently and it got worse when Juan Acre put Sport ahead. But Atlético-MG found a way back into the game and Renan Oliveira equalised 15 minutes from time.

Vitória staged a late comeback to snatch a point from Cruzeiro. Gilberto put Cruzeiro two up in the game, the second from the spot before Roger pulled a goal back. Thiago Ribiero put Cruzeiro 3-1 with 13 minutes to go but goals in the 86th and 89th minute from Ramon Menenzes and a second for Roger meant Vitória grabbed a point. Goiás missed out on a chance to go top after being thumped at Internacional. Marquinhos put Inter into a 6th minute lead before former Inter player Fernandão was dismissed for Goiás after 12 minutes for an alleged elbow. Pablo Guiñazu doubled the advantage three minutes later and Guiliano and Kleber stuck the nails into the coffin with second half strikes. Botafogo were involved in their second 3-3 draw in a week, after recording the scoreline at Corinthians last weekend this time Grêmio provided the opposition. Again Botafogo had to come from behind to snatch a point, Reinaldo put 'Fogo ahead before Jonas levelled. Victor Simões put Botafogo ahead again just after half time but a second from Jonas and Souza put Grêmio ahead. Leandro Guerreiro snatched a crucial point for Botafogo with the equaliser three minutes from time.

The last catch up game takes place on Wednesday night when Internacional host Atlético Miniero in Porto Alegre. Also Round 23 gets underway on Wednesday with the Paulista Derby between Corinthians and Santos. The big game of the weekend is the relegation battle between Sport and Botafogo.

Here's how they line up for Week 23

Corinthians x Santos
Barueri x Palmeiras
Sport Recife x Botafogo
Grêmio x Vitória
Goiás x Coritiba
Atlético Paranaense x Flamengo
Cruzeiro x São Paulo
Santo André x Atlético Miniero
Avaí x Internacional
Fluminense x Náutico

Argentina - Primera Division Week 2


Tigre 1 - 2 Rosario Central
Racing Club 1 - 1 Colón
Vélez Sársfield 3 - 1 Arsenal
Estudiantes 3 - 0 Gimnasia La Plata
Argentinos Juniors 1 - 1 Banfield
Godoy Cruz 1 - 1 San Lorenzo
River Plate 4 - 3 Chacarita Juniors
Atlético Tucumán 2 - 4 Independiente
Lanús 1 - 2 Boca Juniors
Newell's Old Boys 1 - 0 Huracán