Monday, 23 November 2009

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 36

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

Oh my god! What a round in the Brasileiro. The top 6 collected a total of five points between them, the bottom six meanwhile picked up 14 points between them in another crazy week in the Brasileiro.

The round began in Porto Alegre on Wednesday night when any hope Palmeiras had of picking up the title were finally dented at Fortress Grêmio. Rafael Marques put the home side ahead right on half time and that led to the Palmeiras pair of Mauricio and Obina doing a Bowyer/Dyer as the players trudged off for half time. They were both subsequently dismissed by the referee and later told they'd never pull the Green shirt on again for Palmeiras. Down to nine men, it was too much of a task and Maxi López ensured that Grêmio remain unbeaten at home with a second 20 minutes from time.

Only two games on Saturday, where Atlético-PR had thought they had secured a valuable win in their fight against Libertadores chasing Cruzeiro. Marcinho had put Atlético ahead with only 17 minutes left but Leonardo Silva broke Atlético-PR hearts and kept Cruzeiro in the hunt for a Libertadores spot with an equaliser as the game went into injury time. Gilberto was then sent off for the visitors for a second yellow card but the points were shared. In the other game Náutico kept their heads above the relegation parapet with a shock come from behind win at Corinthians. Náutico went into half time ahead thanks to Bruno Miniero's goal 5 minutes before the break. Ronaldo then levelled before Elias put the home side ahead to leave Náutico joining Recife neighbours Sport in Série B. In between the goals Bruno Miniero had been sent off, but Náutico showed great spirit and Carlinhos Bala levelled with 6 minutes to go before Ailton kept his nerve to convert an injury time penalty.

And onto Sunday......

In the early kick offs Avaí's slim hopes of the last Libertadores spot were crushed by Santo André, who like Náutico the night before kept their heads off the relegation chopping block with this victory. Marcelinho Carioca put Santo André ahead form the spot in the first half before Wanderley doubled the advantage 9 minutes into the second half. Muriqui then pulled one back for Avaí before Camilo restored the two goal advantage. Marquinhos then reduced the defecit again before Camilo secured the points for Santo André with a second in injury time. Coritiba are now looking nervously over their shoulders after they were humped 4-0 by Santos at the Vila Belmiro. Two goals in the space of 4 minutes from Madson and Kléber Pereira mean Santos went into the break two goals to the good before the latest prodigy off the Santos production line, 17 year old Neymar added a brace in the second half. Fluminense made it 8 in a row (in all competitions) after finally disposing of already relegated Sport in Recife, who are now confirmed for the CONMEBalls Série A wooden spoon. Moacir and Ciro were sent off for Sport and to further hamper them it was an own goal from Zé Antonio which put Fluminense ahead. Fred then doubled the lead before Dario Conca put the icing on the cake to send Fluminense off to Quito in confident mood.

In the final Sunday afternoon game at the Engenhão, there was only one word to describe it. Carnage. 5 goals, a hat trick and 4 red cards as Botofogo kept themselves alive in the relegation race and São Paulo threw a lifeline to Flamengo in the race for the title. Jobson put the home side ahead with 14 minutes on the clock but that was cancelled out right on half time by Washington. Ten minutes into the second half Jorge Wágner put the Champions ahead but Jobson's second levelled matters 4 minutes later. Then two red cards, the first to Richarlyson from São Paulo with 20 minutes to go before he was followed by Botafogo's Juninho with 6 minutes to go. As the game entered injury time Jobson completed his hat-trick to win the game for Fogo before becoming the third player to be sent off after picking up a second yellow for taking his shirt off in celebration and he was joined deep in injury time by Rodrigo Dantas. Botafogo finishing with 8 men but picking up three valuable points.

When the late games started on Sunday, across town from the Engenhão, Flamengo were in pole position to go top of the table when they entertained Goiás at the Maracanã. 78,000 people turned up for the game but were left disappointed and frustrated by a dull goalless draw which left Flamengo still a point behind São Paulo and left Goiás without a chance of a Libertadores spot and in the Sudamericana. Vitória qualified for next season's Sudamericana after overcoming 10 man Barueri. Leandro Domingues put Vitória ahead just after half time before Roger doubled the lead 10 minutes later. Otacilio Neto saw red for Barueri who got a consolation through Val Baiano's 16th goal of the season in injury time. Internacional still have a chance of title glory after a backs to the wall win at an Atlético-MG side who saw their title hopes ended by this defeat. Both teams went into the game on 56 points and to be fair a draw was no good for either side. It was settled by a single goal 15 minutes into the game, Inter midfielder Giuliano with the crucial strike to lift Inter into third, three points off the pace.

The heat is on now, 11 red cards over the weekend shows the pressure is getting to the players a little. But just look at the relegation battle now. Fluminense on 42 with Botafogo, Coritiba and Atlético-PR all with touching distance just two points ahead. How much will Flamengo regret not picking up more than a point against Goiás? How much will the surprise defeat at Barueri in week 32 come back to haunt them? Inter suddenly have a chance of the title but São Paulo must be breathing a sigh of relief after Flamengo failed to take advantage.

All the games are scheduled to kick off at the same time on Sunday at 7pm UK time. Atlético-PR and Botafogo meet in the big game at the bottom of the table whilst Palmeiras and Atlético-MG, which had title decider written all over it three weeks ago is now a battle for the last qualification spot for the Libertadores. One of Santo André and Náutico will defenitely be relegated this weekend as they clash, a draw though would send both teams down.

Here is how they line up for Week 37, the penultimate round.

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

It's awesome this finish to the season in Brazil and we're back next Monday with a round up of all the action.

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