Monday, 7 December 2009

Campeonato Brasileiro Week 38

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

The last round of the 2009 Brasileiro and there were lots of things still to be sorted out as the weekend started. The non-entity games were moved to Saturday night and Avaí capped a remarkable first season in the top flight when they defeated already relegated Náutico to claim 6th place and finish above an Atlético-MG side who were still in the title hunt three weeks ago. Eltinho grabbing the only goal of the game in Recife. Atlético-MG's poor finish to the season was rounded off when they were comfortably disposed of by an under stength Corinthians side that has had the cue on the rack since winning the Copa do Brasil. A brace from Souza, the second from the spot, put the visitors 2-0 up at half time and Bill wrapped things up in the last minute. There was also disappointment for Diego Tardelli who failed in his attempt to overtake Adriano at the top of the scoring charts.

And onto Sunday. Flamengo were in the box seat going into the round but all the talk had been of Grêmio and their fans actually wanting to lose the game to deny hated rivals Internacional the title. As things stood at half time, Internacional were top as they led Santo André 2-0 thanks to Alecsandro and Índio, whilst São Paulo led relegated Sport by a 35th minutes Washington strike. Grêmio meanwhile proved the Inter doubters wrong by actually taking the lead at a packed Maracanã. Roberson poking home a corner that was poorly defended but David levelled for Flamengo despite an alleged offence by Adriano in the build up.

Flamengo then dramatically fell to third in the table after São Paulo went three goals clear of Sport thanks to a free kick from Rogério Ceni and a second from Washington. Inter then went three up against Santo André through Andrezinho before the defining moment of the season. Ronaldo Angelim put Flamengo ahead at the Marananã with 20 minutes to go and the Vultures were in sight of their first title since 1992. Giuliano then put Inter 4-0 up before Nunes got a consoalation for Santo André to give them something to show before their relegation. Washington then completed a hat-trick for São Paulo to give them a convincing 4-0 victory but it was all in vain as Flamengo held on at the Maracanã to spark wild scenes of celebration.

At the other end of the table there was relief for Botafogo and Fluminense but heartbreak for Coritiba who joined Santo André in Série B. Botafogo ensured their safety with a 2-1 victory at the Engenhão over Palmeiras and in the process denied the Big Green a place in the 2010 Copa Libertadores. Palmeiras had a disrupted build up to the game, including being attacked by their own fans in the week, and Botafogo took full advantage. Wellington put Botafogo ahead 10 minutes into the second half and Jobson doubled the lead 10 minutes later. Robert's goal in injury time was mere consolation for Palmeiras who must be wondering who they haven't won the league, let alone not qualified for the Libertadores. After Botafogo's victory Coritiba had to beat Fluminense to ensure they stayed in the top flight. It all went wrong when Marquinho put the visitors ahead in the 27th minute but Pereira levelled to send the teams into the break all square. Try as they might, Coritiba couldn't find the goal that would have relegated Fluminense and they exited the top flight and it was compounded by their fans entering the field of play after the match and attacking the match officials, Fluminense players and members of the military police on duty.

The biggest beneficiaries of the Palmeiras defeat were Cruzeiro, who sneaked into the qualifying round of the Copa Libertadores after a 2-1 victory over Santos. Wellington Paulista put Cruzeiro ahead with only 5 minutes on the clock. Cruzeiro then had Jonathan sent off just after they hour and then Neymar equalised to knock Cruzeiro out of the Libertadores. Cruzeiro rallied and edged ahead again when Kléber found the net. Atlético-PR missed out on a Sudamericana spot when they were held 0-0 by a Barueri side who must be happy with their efforts in the top flight this season. Finally Vitória and Goiás shared the points with an entertaining 2-2 draw. Roger put the home side ahead before a quick fire brace early in the second half from Felipe put Goiás ahead. Leandro Domingues levelled 8 minutes from time for Vitória to see both teams into the Sudamericana next year.

So this is who got what at the end of enthralling season in Brazil.

Champions: Flamengo
Copa Libertadores Group Stage: Internacional, São Paulo, Corinthians (via Copa do Brasil)
Copa Libertadores Qualifiers: Cruzeiro
Copa Sudamericana: Palmeiras, Avaí, Atlético Miniero, Grêmio, Goiás, Barueri, Santos, Vitória
Relegated: Sport Recife, Náutico, Santo André, Coritiba

So that's it for the 2009 Campeonato Brasileiro. Then national competition will return in May 2010. We'll be doing a team by team review and picking our team of the season but don't forget our coverage of the Campeonato Paulista and Campeonato Carioca begins in the middle of January. Also our coverage of the 2010 Copa Libertadores begins in January as well.

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