Friday, 29 January 2010

Campeonato Paulista A1 - Week 4

Rio Claro 3-1 São Caetano
São Paulo 3-0 Paulista
Sertãozinho 0-0 Rio Branco
Week 4 opened with a shock as bottom of the league Rio Claro beat top of the table São Caetano. After a scorless first half Rio Claro turned the game on it's head in the opening 5 minutes of the second half, Willian Alves scoring with the half less than 60 second old before Edu Sales doubled the lead from the spot. Mirandinha made it three half way through the second half before Eduardo gained some conslation for São Caetano. Santos bounced back from their defeat at the weekend to crush Barueri. André Felipe's 33rd minute goal put Santos ahead at the break but they went goal mad in the last 20 minutes. Wesley doubled the lead on 70 minutes and Zé Eduardo made it 3-0 moments later. Neymar then chipped in with a double, the second one a penalty, to wrap things up. Portuguesa fell to their first defeat of the season when a Luis Mario goal seven minutes before half time gave Mogi Mirim their second successive win.

Oeste came from a goal behind to grab a point at Santo André. Ricardo Bueno put the visitors ahead early doors but they were behind by half time after goal from Cesar Augusto and Rodriguinho. Santo André were three minutes away from maximum points but Kleber grabbed an equaliser for Oeste. A clearly overweight Ronaldo grabbed his first goal of the championship when he fired holders Corinthians into the lead just before half time against Mirassol. The visitors fought back to claim their third successive draw when Ferreira levelled thirteen minutes into the second half and held on despite finishing with 10 men. Palmeiras went back to the top of the table after a Cleiton Xavier penalty after half an hour was enough to see the Big Green home at Monte Azul.

São Paulo have suddenly got the winning habit and confortably disposed of Paulista at the Morumbi. Dagoberto put them ahead after half an hour and then doubled the lead ten minutes into the second half. André Dias wrapped things up with 25 minutes left. The game between Sertãozinho and Rio Branco finished goalless. Botafogo SP moved into 7th place after a single goal from the head of André with 20 minutes to go gave them victory over Ponte Preta. The last game of the round turned into a 7 goal thriller as Ituano took over at the top of the table after a last minute winner away at Bragantino. Simão put Ituano ahead with 13 minutes on the clock but 9 minutes later Lucio levelled matters and it stayed that way til half time. Welton then put Ituano ahead for a second time six minutes into the second half only for Marcelo Godri to level things again 14 minutes later. Ituano again took the lead thirteen minutes from time through Alemão but again Bragantino wouldn't lie down and Carlos Frontini again levelled things with seven minutes to go. It looked like it was going to be a point each but Rodrigão grabbed a dramatic winner in injury time to send Ituano top.

The weekend ahead see them line up like this, the big game sees Corinthians take on Palmeiras.

Barueri x Rio Claro
Santos x Oeste
São Caetano x Monte Azul
Mogi Mirim x Bragantino
Corinthians x Palmeiras
Portuguesa x Botafogo SP
Sertãozinho x São Paulo
Paulista x Mirassol
Ituano x Santo André
Rio Branco x Ponte Preta

Copa Libertadores First Phase 1st Legs

Colón 3-2 Universidad Católica
The 2010 Copa Libertadores got off to an entertaining start in Cólon as the home side gained a slender avantage for the second leg in Chile against Universidad Cátolica. The honour of the first goal of this years competition went to Federico Nieto who fired Colón ahead with 5 minutes on the clock but Juan Morales levelled the game ten minutes before half time. Colón turned the game on it's head with two quick goals midway through the second half. Esteban Fuertes with the first goal and three minutes later Facundo Bertoglio doubled the advantage. A second from Morales reduced the defecit but Universidad Cátolica will be without Jorge Ormeño for the second leg after he was sent off in injury time. Meanwhile in Venezuela, Deportivo Táchira, who finished with 10 men, will take a slender advantage into the second leg against Libertad of Praguay. Armando Maita with the only goal of the game with 27 minutes on the clock. Pedro Fernandez will miss the second leg after he was sent off on the hour.

No goals in Rosario as Emelec hung on for a goalless draw against Newell's Old Boys. Emelec are now in the box seat with the second leg due to take place at altitude in Ecuador. 2009 runners up Cruzeiro grabbed an away goal in Bolivia when Wellington Paulista put them ahead with only 7 minutes on the clock against Real Potosí. Cruzeiro were then reduced to 10 men in the 21st minute when Gilberto was dismissed. They almost held on to their lead but were pegged back two minutes from time when Roberto Correa gave Real some hope for the return in Belo Horizonte.

After a 40 year absence from the competition Juan Aurich of Peru made a successful return to the competition with a 2-0 win over Estudiantes Tecos of Mexico on their plastic pitch. Luis Tejada was the hero for Juan Aurich, he headed them ahead with just 10 minutes on the clock and doubled the advantage just short of the hour after splitting the Mexican's defence. An injury time goal from Martin Arzuaga salvaged a draw for the 10 men from Colombia's Junior against Racing Club of Uruguay. It had all started well for Junior when Emerson Acuña had out them ahead with 13 minutes gone but Mathias Mirabajes levelled for Racing Club on the half hour to send the teams in level at half time. Ignacio Pallas then gave Racing Club the lead half way through the second half before Roger Cambindo was dismissed for Junior. It looked like the Uruguayans would have a valuable advantage to take back to Montevideo until Mirabajes had his late say.

Campeonato Carioca - Taça Guanabara Week 4

Olaria 2-0 Bangu
Madureira 2-1 Friburguense
América 2-2 Resende
Volta Redonda 3-0 Boavista
Olaria made it three wins on the bounce and kept themselves in the hunt for a play off berth after a 2-0 success over Bangu. Caca put Olaria ahead with 20 minutes on the clock and Renato wrapped things up 10 minutes from time. Madureira remain in the play offs after a 2-1 win over Friburguense. Bruno had Madureira ahead with only 2 minutes on the clock but Alex Faria levelled six minutes into the second half but Madureira grabbed a winner to keep their good start to the season up. After winning at the weekend América had to settled for a point against Resende. Alexandro put Resende ahead after 13 minutes but the lead lasted only two minutes as Claudemir levelled. Three minutes after hald time Daniel Morais put América in front but Fabiano levelled seven minutes later to give Resende their third draw of the season.

With the start of the Libertadores only a fortnight away, Flamengo have still to keep a clean sheet this season. A first goal of the year from Adriano from the penalty spot quickly followed by a second from Fernando put Flamengo two up at half time. Diego Sales pulled a goal back from the spot with 10 minutes to go but a minute later Vágner Love restored the two goal avdvantage after exchanging passes with Adriano straight from the restart. There was still time though for the Flamengo defence to leak another goal, Itacare getting a consolation goal in injury time. Volta Redonda picked up their first win of the season and in the process ended Boavista's unbeated record. Tassio put the Volta Redonda ahead with 27 minutes on the clock and the grabbed a second on the hour. Maciel wrapped things up with 7 minutes left. Botafogo, in the temporary charge of Jair Ventura until Joel Santana takes over, managed to put their defeat to Vasco da Gama behind them to claim a 2-1 win away at Tigres. Gustavo Herrera put Fogo ahead with a quarter of an hour on the clock before Antonio Carlos doubled the lead six minutes into half time. Botafogo had to endure a nervous last 5 minutes when Oziel pulled a goal back but they hung on to remain third in group B.

The two Thursday games finished with identical scorelines. Fluminense have still to concede a goal in the competition this season as they brushed aside Duque de Caxias. Maicon set the ball rolling with 5 minutes on the clock and Júlio César doubled the lead half way through the first half. Marquinho wrapped up the win with a second half double to leave Fluminense in confident mood ahead of the Fla-Flu at weekend. Vasco da Gama made it ten goals in two games after disposing of Macaé to leave them searching for their first win. The game was over by half time, Leo Gago put Vasco ahead with 12 minutes on the clock. Rafael Coelho added a second half an hour gone and 7 minutes later Nilton put the result beyond doubt. Magno Cruz wrapped things up with a fourth nine minutes into the second half.

This weekend, it's the biggest game in the calendar as the Fla-Flu takes place at the Maracanã.

They line up like this.....

Resende x Tigres do Brasil
Americano x Volta Redonda
Botafogo x América
Bangu x Duque de Caxias
Boavista x Olaria
Friburguense x Vasco da Gama
Macaé x Madureira
Fluminense x Flamengo

Note: With this review being posted so soon after the games have been completed, we will edit in the highlights we can find as soon as they become available.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Robinho: Is he really worth it for Santos?

So the "boy wonder" returns to Vila Belmiro after spells at CF Real Madrid in Spain and Manchester City FC in England. It all began for Robinho back in 2002 in his breakthrough season he led the Peixe to their first national title since the days of Pelé. Santos then reached the final of the 2003 Copa Libertadores where Robinho won the Brazilian Hide and Seek championship during the 2 legged final, which was lost to Boca Juniors. Despite leading Santos to another title in 2004 the lure of Europe was too much and Robinho moved to the Spanish capital and CF Real Madrid.

Robinho was to spend 4 years at the Santiago Bernabéu and made 101 appearances scoring 25 goals. Only one league title came during his time at Madrid and that was when he and David Beckham carried the team to the title after spending most of the pre-Christmas part of the season on the bench. He was the used as by CF Real Madrid as part of a move to lure Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid and instead demanded to join Chelsea FC, at the time being managed by former Seleção trainer Luiz Felipe Scolari, instead it was Mancester City FC who stumped up €42.5million to take him to Eastlands. Robinho never made any secret that Manchester wasn't his preferred destination but managed to put some decent performances in for the club. He made 41 appearances for Manchester City, scoring 14 goals. The final one coming at Scunthorpe at the weekend in the FA Cup, incidentally his first of the season for Manchester City.

Is State League football really going to be good enough for Robinho, the fact he has a minumum of 16 games to play before the Paulista leage season finishes on the 6th April. If Santos fail to make the play offs then it would mean going for 7 weeks without a game until Série A starts in the second week of May but there could be a burn out factor for the player with so many games to play. Then he would play 4 or 5 games maximum in Série A before disappearing to the Seleção for the FIFA World Cup. That could possibly mean Robinho not returning to Santos until the middle of July by which time he will two or three weeks from being on the plane back to Manchester.

The question is, are Santos really going to get their moneys worth out of the player. They have managed to find a sponsor to cover 90% of his wages but that still leaves the club to find circa £16,000 a week. For the amount of game time they could possibly get out of the player is it really worth it?

Clausura kick-off

The new season in Argentina kicks off this weekend and it promises to be as wide open as ever. Such is the situation in Argentina with regards to lack of money that anyone who shines brightly enough for the briefest moment is snatched away, either in Brazil or Europe. Huracán went from Clausura runners-up in 2009 to Apertura 2009 basement dwellers as the bigger clubs swooped for the clutch of talented youngsters they put together. Suddenly these players see success and their wage demands rise accordingly, but regional clubs like Huracán simply can't compete in those terms while the big clubs in Argentina can't compete with Brazil and Europe.

Estudiantes and Banfield have been beneficiaries of this phenomenon winning the last two title, Banfield with their first ever in the Apertura 2009. However, the champions will start without their talisman from last season, Santiago Silva. The Uruguayan hitman was on loan with them from Vélez Sársfield and, with the clubs unable to agree a deal for the player, he'll start across the city from where he lifted the trophy where Vélez begin against Colón who faded badly after a great start. Newell's Old Boys were runners-up last time around and it's no coincidence that they had a star striker to propel them there. Joaquin Boghossian is another Uruguayan, but it's not interest from within Argentina that's prising him from his club, but Europe, specifically in the form of Aston Villa who seem keen to recruit from South America despite having their fingers burned not that long ago with Juan Pablo Angel. Estudiantes's challenge fell away as they crammed games in before disappearing to the Middle East to take part in FIFA's mental World Club Championship competition, but they remain one of the strongest outfits in Argentina and will start the Clausura as favourites.

The two big powerhouses are still River Plate and Boca Juniors, but both had poor Aperturas and both look likely to struggle again. River will suffer for the loss of Diego Buonanotte who was injured in a car crash which claimed the lives of three of his friends, but they've been busy in the transfer market. Rodrigo Rojas, a winger, comes in from Olimpia in Paraguay, Alexis Ferrero joins from Colón and Juan Manuel Diaz from Estudiantes. While they'll rely on the old guard, principally Ariel Ortega, big things are expected of teenage strikers Daniel Villalva and Gabriel Funes Mori. They shone in a big win in the Torneo de Verano over their big rivals Boca who approach the start of the season in disarray. That defeat prompted the departure of coach Alfio Basile and sporting director Carlos Bianchi. After initially appointing reserve team coach Abel Alves as an interim manager, the club have given him the role full-time. He'll be starting very much on the back foot with playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme out for their opener against Argentinos Juniors as well as Lucas Viatri and Sebastian Battaglia, who is out long term.

Elsewhere, it's much of a muchness. Racing Club have had a great Torneo de Verano and they typify the topsy-turvy nature of this league. It's very hard to maintain a consistency and Racing have been up and down the league like a grasshopper on a pogo stick. Independiente might be one to keep an eye on as they had a strong finish to the Apertura and San Lorenzo look a capable outfit. However it goes, it's not a league to start placing bets on. Anything can and probably will happen.

The opening weekend's fixtures are:

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

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Fogo Fire Soares / Robinho

Despite getting the backing of the Botafogo board after the 6-0 slapping by Vasco da Gama on Sunday. Head coach Estevam Soares has been sacked from his position as head coach of Botafogo. The board have also dispensed of the services of assitant Gerson Sodre and the conditioner Lino Fachini.

Soares, who saved Botafogo from relegation from Série A on the last day of the season, had been told his job was safe after the game but on Monday the Botafogo board had a change of heart and swung the axe. Jair Ventura, who survived the cull, has been put in charge of team affairs for the midweek game against Tigres do Brasil.

Meanwhile the Robinho saga drags on as São Paulo has thrown their name into the frame in an attempt to sign the player on loan from English team Manchester City. It was widely expected that Robinho would return to his first club, Santos but the wage demands of the player may be a stumbling block for both clubs. Robinho is alleged to earn £160,000 a week in Manchester and the player would have to take a considerable pay cut to join either club. The one advantage São Paulo has over Santos is the opportunity to offer Robinho a stage in the Copa Libertadores. With the transfer window less than a week from closing a deal will need to be reached quickly.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Campeonato Carioca - Taça Guanabara Week 3

Resende 1-2 Madureira
Bangu 1-2 Flamengo
Macaé 2-3 América
Boavista 0-0 Duque de Caxias
Friburguense 3-1 Tigres do Brasil
Fluminense 1-0 Volta Redonda
Americano 1-5 Olaria
Botafogo 0-6 Vasco da Gama

Madureira climbed into second in group B after a 2-1 away victory at Resende. Marcelo Ramos put them ahead just after half time before Obina grabbed a second ten minutes from time. Alexandro grabbed a consolation for Resende in injury time. Flamengo wheeled out the big guns for their trip to Bangu with Vagner Love and Adriano both starting the game. It was Love though who grabbed the headlines getting both Flamengo goals in the first half. Tiano grabbed one back for Bangu just before the break but Flamengo held on to their 100% record. Bebeto picked up his first win as coach of América but they had to withold a late charge from Macaé. Daniel Morais and Gerson fired them two goals ahead at half time and a second from Morais on 58 minutes looked to have wrapped things up. Three minutes later Andres Gomes pulled a goal back and when he added a second 10 minutes later América were left to hold on for that all important first win.

Boavista lost their 100% record when they were held to a goaless draw by Duque de Caxias but remain in the hunt for a finals spot. Friburguense picked up their first win of the season with a 3-1 success over Tigres do Brasil. Hercules put Friburguense ahead with only seven minutes on the clock and Bidu extended the lead after 52 minutes. Gilcimar pulled a goal back for Tigres but Hercules wrapped things up with his second thirteen minutes from time. Fluminense remain top of Group A on goal difference after scraping past Volta Redonda by a single goal. Leandro Euzebio settling the game with seven minutes on the clock. Olaria also remain unbeated in Group A after brushing aside bottom of the table Americano. Diego and Aleilson had Olaria two up inside the opening twelve minutes. Nirley halved the defecit with 27 minutes on the clock but Americano folded in the second half as Renato, a second from Aleilson and an own goal from William wrapped things up.

The biggest game of weekend came at the Engenhão as Botafogo, with Sebatian Abreu on debut, faced Vasco da Gama in the "Black and White" derby where veteran striker Dodô scored a first-half hat trick in just his third match back from a two-year doping suspension to help Vasco rout a 10-man Botafogo 6-0. Dodô was suspended after testing positive for a banned stimulant while playing Botafogo in a match against Vasco da Gama in 2007.

Dodô opened the scoring after just three minutes with a low shot from the edge of the area. Botafogo were then reduced to 10 men in the 14th minute after Eduardo was shown a straight red card for nasty foul on Vasco midfielder Souza. Dodô then doubled the lead in the 32nd minute from close range and completed his hat-trick just two minutes later.

Vasco went for the throat in the second half and Leo Gago increased the lead with a powerful free strike in the 56th minute before Phillipe Coutinho put the nails in the Botafogo coffin with goals on the hour and eight minutes from time.

Again there is a full round of fixtures in midweek.

Olaria x Bangu
Madureira x Friburguense
América x Resende
Flamengo x Americano
Volta Redonda x Boavista
Tigres do Brasil x Botafogo
Duque de Caxias x Fluminense
Vasco da Gama x Macaé

Campeonato Paulista A1 - Week 3

Ponte Preta 2-1 Monte Azul
São Paulo 3-0 Rio Claro
Bragantino 1-1 Portuguesa
Santo André 4-2 Paulista
Oeste 1-2 Corinthians
Palmeiras 3-3 Ituano
São Caetano 5-1 Sertãozihno
Mogi Mirim 2-1 Santos
Mirassol 2-2 Barueri
Rio Branco 1-0 Botafogo SP

All change at the top as Portuguesa surrendered the only 100% record left in the league when they were held at Bragantino. Carlos Frontini had the home side ahead in the third minute but Portuguesa didn't give up and finally levelled when Heverton struck half way through the second half. That allowed São Caetano to go top of the league on goal difference after they thumped Sertãozihno 5-1. Hugo put São Caetano ahead at half time and Moradei doubled the advantage twelve minutes after the break. Harison pulled a goal back for the visitors but Wanderley and a brace from Eduardo gave São Caetano their emphatic victory. Palmeiras had to settle for yet another draw after letting a 3-1 lead slip against Ituano. Diego Souza put the Big Green ahead at half time. Juninho levelled for Ituano just after half time but goal from Robert and Deyvid Sacconi put Palmeiras in the box seat. With 8 minutes left an own goal from Danilo gave Ituano hope they they stunned the Palestra Itália two minutes later when Rodrigão got the equalizer.

São Paulo finally got their season going when they defeated Rio Claro 3-0 at the Morumbi. Hernanes put the home side ahead before a double from Washington wrapped things up. Santos were the big losers of the weekend going down 2-1 at Mogi Mirim. Paulo Ganso put Santos ahead on the half hour but Antoniel levelled matters before half time. A draw was looking the more likely result but Geovane popped up to grab a winner ten minutes from time to stun Santos who will now hope the return of Robinho will come sooner rather than later. Corinthians had Roberto Carlos in their line up as they moved into third with an away win at Oeste. Paulo André and Rafael Boquita put the Champions two up inside 35 minutes, Ricardinho pulled a goal back for Oeste before half time but Corinthians held on to take the points.

Ponte Preta picked up their first win of the season after a late goal gave them a 2-1 success over Monte Azul. Fabiano Gadelha put Ponte Preta ahead but Marcelinho Marinho levelled matters on the hour. Monte Azul looked like securing a third consecutive draw but Leandrinho snatched a winner as the game entered injury time. Santo André remain unbeated after a 4-2 home success over Paulista. Baiano put the visitors ahead with one seven minutes on the clock but a brace from Branquinho put Santo André ahead before half time. Rafael Silva made it three before Branquinho completed his hat-trick. A last minute goal from Marquinhos was mere consolation for Paulista. Barueri twice came from a goal down to snatch a point at Mirassol. Evando put the home side ahead after 19 minutes but Diego levelled 11 minutes before half time. Eder Marcelo put Mirrasol ahead again with 25 minutes to go but Tadeu snatched a point with an equalizer three minutes from time. In the last game of the round Rio Branco picked up their first win of the season with a 1-0 success over Botafogo SP.

Again there is a midweek round and they line up like this

Rio Claro x São Caetano
Santos x Barueri
Portuguesa x Mogi Mirim
Santo André x Oeste
Corinthians x Mirassol
Monte Azul x Palmeiras
São Paulo x Paulista
Sertãozinho x Rio Branco
Botafogo SP x Ponte Preta
Bragantino x Ituano

Friday, 22 January 2010

Campeonato Carioca - Taça Guanabara Week 2

Fluminense 3-0 Bangu
Resende 3-3 Macaé
Boavista 2-0 Americano
Tigres do Brasil 2-1 Madureira
Volta Redonda 1-3 Flamengo
América 1-2 Vasco da Gama
Duque de Caxias 1-2 Olaria
Botafogo 2-0 Friburguense

Fluminense's marvellous run of form, stretching back into last year, continued with a comfortable win over Bangu. Cult hero Fred grabbed two goals from the spot and Alan wrapped things up in injury time. An entertaining game at Resende saw the hosts grab a late point against Macaé. Anderson put Macaé ahead after sixteen minutes but two goals in a second half minute from Alexandro and Hiroshi put Resende ahead. A second from Anderson levelled things with twenty minutes to go and Macaé must have through they had the points in the bag when Andre Gomes put them ahead with just two minutes to go. But Resense immediately attacked and a second from Hiroshi grabbed them a point. Boavista maintained their 100% record with a 2-0 win over Americano. Paulo Rodrigues broke the deadlock with a quarter of an hour left before Galvao wrapped up the win three minutes from time.

Tigres got their first win of the season with a 2-1 success over Madureira. Gilcimar put Tigres ahead after twenty minute but Marcelo Ramos levelled matters just before half time. Denis grabbed the winner half way through the second half. Flamengo picked up their second win, this time away at Volta Redonda. A quick fire double from Bruno Mezenga put Fla two up at half time but things got a little nervy when Tassio pulled a goal back just short of the hour. The Flamengo ship was steadied though by the evergreen Serbian Dejan Petkovic when he struck with 20 minutes to go. América are still waiting for their first victory of the season after going down 2-1 to Vasco da Gama at the Engenhão. Nilton and Carlos Alberto put Vasco two up before a late consolation from América.

Duque de Caxias are still searching for their first point after going down at home to Olaria. Aleilson put Olaria ahead with only six minutes gone but Geovani levelled just before the half hour the visitors grabbed a second half winner. Botafogo also remain unbeaten after a 2-0 win over Friburguense. The visitors were reduced to 10 men when Bidu was sent off five minutes into the second half but it took Botafogo 73 minutes to break down some resolute defending. Renato Cajá broke the deadlock before Gustavo Herrera made the points safe a minute from time.

A full round takes place this weekend, the big game of the weekend is the clash between Botafogo and Vasco da Gama.

Resense x Madureira
Bangu x Flamengo
Macaé x América
Boavista x Duque de Caxias
Friburguense x Tigres do Brasil
Fluminense x Volta Redonda
Americano x Olaria
Botafogo x Vasco da Gama

Campeonato Paulista A1 - Week 2

Botafogo SP 0-0 Ituano
Portuguesa 2-0 Sertãozinho
Santos 1-1 Ponte Preta
Oeste 2-2 Monte Azul
Paulista 2-1 Rio Claro
Corinthians 2-1 Bragantino
Mirassol 1-1 São Paulo
Mogi Mirim 2-2 Rio Branco
Barueri 2-2 Palmeiras
Santo André 2-2 São Caetano

Not many positive results in the midweek round of the Paulista A1 this week. Portuguesa remain the only team with a 100% record after their 2-0 victory over Sertãozinho. Fabricio Silva put Portuguesa ahead nine minutes before half time before Domingos wrapped things up in the second half. Corinthians picked up their first win with a 2-1 success over Bragantino. Corinthians, who have other problems at the moment with the electricity company, were ahead with two minutes on the clock through Elias. Paulinho put Bragantino level before half time but Jorge Henrique grabbed the winner just after the hour. Paulista picked up their first win of the season against Rio Claro. Felipe put Paulista ahead half way through the first half but Luciano levelled eighteen minutes from time. Willian Rocha grabbed the winner seven minutes from time before Willian Alves saw red for Rio Claro for a second bookable offence.

There was deadlock in the remaining seven games in the division, the opening game of the round on Tuesday night saw Botafogo SP and Ituano finish goalless. Santos were pegged back by Ponte Preta. André Felipe put Santos ahead just after half time before the equalizer from Jean Rolt with twenty minutes left. 10 men Oeste bounced back from a heavy defeat at weekend to claim a point from Monte Azul. Adriano put Oeste ahead on the half hour but they went into half time behind thanks to quick goals from Alessandro Ferrari and Marcelinho Gil. To make life harder, Paulo Miranda was sent off 5 minutes after half time but the 10 men rallied and Ricardo Bueno got the equalizer 5 minutes later. São Paulo were staring a second defeat in the face at Mirassol after they trailed to a seventh minute goal from Evando. Richarlyson grabbed a last minute equaliser to spare the blushes.

The Thursday games all finished with the same scoreline, 2-2. Rio Branco came from two down to claim a point at Mogi Mirim. The home side led through two Geovane goals, the second coming from the spot. Anselmo Ramon halved the defecit before Luciano Emilio levelled with fifteen minutes to go. Both teams finished with 10 men. The clash between the two Série A sides saw Palmeiras strike late to gain a point at Barueri. Flavinho put Barueri ahead with only seven minutes gone but Deyvid Sacconi levelled to send the teams into half time level. Tadeu then put Barueri back ahead on the hour and it looked like Barueri would repeat their Série A victory but Diego Souza struck with 5 minutes to go to claim a point. São Caetano came from behind to get a point at Santo André. The goals all came after the hour mark but São Caetano took the lead through Wanderley. Two goals in the space of 4 minutes from Nunes and Cesinha put Santo André back ahead before Hugo got an equaliser to ensure the spoils were shared.

Fixtures for this weekend

Ponte Preta x Monte Azul
São Paulo x Rio Claro
Bragantino x Portuguesa
Santo André x Paulista
Oeste x Corinthians
Palmeiras x Ituano
São Caetano x Sertãozinho
Mogi Mirim x Santos
Mirassol x Barueri
Rio Branco x Botafogo SP

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Copa Libertadores 2010 Guide and Fixtures

With the competition due to get underway things have finally been resolved in Mexico so we can finally bring you a list of who plays who as the action starts next Tuesday night. 39 clubs set out on the path to dislodge holders Estudiantes de La Plata, who qualify automatically. The competition will not finish until the middle of August this year as it will take a break whilst the FIFA World Cup takes place in South Africa.

Preliminary Round

Game 1: Deportivo Táchira (VEN) v Libertad (PAR) Leg 1: 26 Jan Leg 2: Feb 2
Game 2: Juan Aurich (PER) v Estudiantes Tecos (MEX) Leg 1: 27 Jan Leg 2: Feb 3
Game 3: Colón (ARG) v Universidad Católica (CHI) Leg 1: Jan 26 Leg 2: Feb 9
Game 4: Real Posotí (BOL) v Cruzeiro (BRA) Leg 1: Jan 27 Leg 2: Feb 3
Game 5: Newell's Old Boys (ARG) v Emelec (ECU) Leg 1: Jan 27 Leg 2: Feb 10
Game 6: Junior (COL) v Racing Club (URU) Leg 1: Jan 28 Leg 2: Feb 4

The six winners of these ties will qualify for the groups stages. There are 4 teams in each group who will meet on a home and away basis. The winners of each group are guaranteed passage to the Round of 16 and they will be joined by the best 6 places runners up and special Mexican Invitees San Luis and Guadalajara, included as compensation for their exclusion following the Swine Flu scare last year.

Group 1

Corinthians (BRA), Cerro Porteño (PAR), Independiente Medellín (COL), Winner Game 6

11-Feb Cerro Porteño (PAR) vs. Independiente Medellín (COL)
24-Feb Corinthians (BRA) vs. Winner Game 6
9-Mar Winner Game 6 vs. vs. Cerro Porteño (PAR)
10-Mar Independiente Medellín (COL) vs. Corinthians (BRA)
17-Mar Cerro Porteño (PAR) vs. Corinthians (BRA)
18-Mar Independiente Medellín (COL) vs. Winner Game 6
25-Mar Winner Game 6 vs. Independiente Medellín (COL)
1-Apr Corinthians (BRA) vs. Cerro Porteño (PAR)
8-Apr Independiente Medellín (COL) vs. Cerro Porteño (PAR)
14-Apr Winner Game 6 vs. Corinthians (BRA)
22-Apr Cerro Porteño (PAR) vs. Winner Game 6
22-Apr Corinthians (BRA) vs. Independiente Medellín (COL)

Group 2

São Paulo (BRA), Club Nacional (PAR), Once Caldas (COL), Monterrey (MEX)

9-Feb Club Nacional (PAR) vs. Once Caldas (COL)
10-Feb São Paulo (BRA) vs. Monterrey (MEX)
24-Feb Monterrey (MEX) vs. Club Nacional (PAR)
25-Feb Once Caldas (COL) vs. São Paulo (BRA)
10-Mar Once Caldas (COL) vs. Monterrey (MEX)
11-Mar Club Nacional (PAR) vs. São Paulo (BRA)
17-Mar Monterrey (MEX) vs. Once Caldas (COL)
18-Mar São Paulo (BRA) vs. Club Nacional (PAR)
31-Mar Monterrey (MEX) vs. São Paulo (BRA)
1-Apr Once Caldas (COL) vs. Club Nacional (PAR)
21-Apr Club Nacional (PAR) vs. Monterrey (MEX)
21-Apr São Paulo (BRA) vs. Once Caldas (COL)

Group 3

Estuidiantes (ARG, Holders), Bolívar (BOL), Alianza Lima (PER), Winner Game 2

10-Feb Bolívar (BOL) vs. Alianza Lima (PER)
11-Feb Estudiantes (ARG) vs. Winner Game 2
18-Feb Alianza Lima (PER) vs. Estudiantes (ARG)
24-Feb Winner Game 2 vs. Bolívar (BOL)
9-Mar Bolívar (BOL) vs. Estudiantes (ARG)
10-Mar Alianza Lima (PER) vs. Winner Game 2
16-Mar Winner Game 2 vs. Alianza Lima (PER)
23-Mar Estudiantes (ARG) vs. Bolívar
30-Mar Winner Game 2 vs. Estudiantes (ARG)
8-Apr Alianza Lima (PER) vs. Bolívar (BOL)
20-Apr Bolívar (BOL) vs. Winner Game 2
20-Apr Estudiantes (ARG) vs. Alianza Lima (PER)

Group 4

Lanús (ARG), Blooming (BOL), Universitario (PER), Winner Game 1

9-Feb Lanús (ARG) vs. Winner Game 1
11-Feb Blooming (BOL) vs. Universitario (PER)
16-Feb Winner Game 1 vs. Blooming (BOL)
17-Feb Universitario (PER) vs. Lanús (ARG)
25-Feb Blooming (BOL) vs. Lánus (ARG)
25-Feb Universitario (PER) vs. Winner Game 1
23-Mar Winner Game 1 v Universitario (PER)
24-Mar Lanús (ARG) vs. Blooming (BOL)
30-Mar Winner Game 1 vs. Lanús (ARG)
6-Apr Universitario (PER) vs. Blooming (BOL)
15-Apr Lanús (ARG) vs. Universitario (PER)
15-Apr Blooming (BOL) vs. Winner Game 1

Group 5

Internacional (BRA), Cerro (URU), Deportivo Quito (ECU), Winner Game 5

9-Feb Cerro (URU) vs. Deportivo Quito (ECU)
23-Feb Internacional (BRA) vs. Winner Game 5
9-Mar Winner Game 5 vs. vs. Cerro (URU)
11-Mar Deportivo Quito (ECU) vs. Internacional (BRA)
18-Mar Cerro (URU) vs. Internacional (BRA)
25-Mar Deportivo Quito (ECU) vs. Winner Game 5
31-Mar Internacional (BRA) vs. Cerro (URU)
1-Apr Winner Game 5 vs. Deportivo Quito (ECU)
13-Apr Deportivo Quito (ECU) vs. Cerro (URU)
14-Apr Winner Game 5 vs. Internacional (BRA)
22-Apr Internacional (BRA) vs. Deportivo Quito (ECU)
22-Apr Cerro (URU) vs. Winner Game 5

Group 6

Banfield (ARG), Nacional (URU), Deportivo Cuenca (ECU), Morelia (MEX)

10-Feb Banfield (ARG) vs. Morelia (MEX)
11-Feb Nacional (URU) vs. Deportivo Cuenca (ECU)
17-Feb Deportivo Cuenca (ECU) vs. Banfield (ARG)
23-Feb Morelia (MEX) vs. Nacional (URU)
9-Mar Deportivo Cuenca (ECU) vs. Morelia (MEX)
10-Mar Nacional (URU) vs. Banfield (ARG)
16-Mar Banfield (ARG) vs. Nacional (URU)
16-Mar Morelia (MEX) vs. Deportivo cuenca (ECU)
31-Mar Morelia (MEX) vs. Banfield (ARG)
7-Apr Deportivo Cuenca (ECU) vs. Nacional (URU)
21-Apr Nacional (URU) vs. Morelia (MEX)
21-Apr Banfield (ARG) vs. Deportivo Cuenca (ECU)

Group 7

Vélez Sársfield (ARG), Colo-Colo (CHI), Deportivo Italia (VEN), Winner Game 4

10-Feb Vélez Sársfield (ARG) vs. Winner Game 4
16-Feb Colo-Colo (CHI) vs. Deportivo Italia (VEN)
23-Feb Deportivo Italia (VEN) vs. Vélez Sársfield (ARG)
24-Feb Winner Game 4 vs. Colo-Colo (CHI)
11-Mar Deportivo Italia (VEN) vs. Winner Game 4
16-Mar Colo-Colo (CHI) vs. Vélez Sársfield (ARG)
24-Mar Winner Game 4 vs. Deportivo Italia (VEN)
25-Mar Vélez Sársfield (ARG) vs. Colo-Colo (CHI)
31-Mar Winner Game 4 vs. Vélez Sársfield (ARG)
6-Apr Deportivo Italia (VEN) vs. Colo-Colo (CHI)
15-Apr Vélez Sársfield (ARG) vs. Deportivo Italia (VEN)
15-Apr Colo-Colo (CHI) vs. Winner Game 4

Group 8

Flamengo (BRA), Universidad de Chile (CHI), Carcas (VEN), Winner Game 3

18-Feb Universidad de Chile (CHI) vs. Caracas (VEN)
24-Feb Flamengo (BRA) vs. Winner Game 3
10-Mar Caracas (VEN) vs. Flamengo (BRA)
11-Mar Winner Game 3 vs. Universidad de Chile (CHI)
17-Mar Caracas (VEN) vs. Winner Game 3
17-Mar Universidad de Chile (CHI) vs. Flamengo (BRA)
24-Mar Winner Game 3 vs. Caracas (VEN)
7-Apr Flamengo (BRA) vs. Universidad de Chile (CHI)
13-Apr Caracas (VEN) vs. Universidad de Chile (CHI)
14-Apr Winner Game 3 vs. Flamengo (BRA)
21-Apr Universidad de Chile (CHI) vs. Winner Game 3
21-Apr Flamengo (BRA) vs. Caracas (VEN)

After the group stage teams are ranked according to their performance. The best ranking group winner is seeded number 1 and goes down to 8. The group runner up will also be ranked 9-16 but San Luis and Guadalajara have been allocated seedings 13 and 14 in accordance with their finishing positions last year before their withdrawal. Then its 1v16, 2v15, 3v14, 4v13, 5v12, 6v11, 7v10 and 8v9. Unlike the Champions League in Europe teams from the same group can face each other in the last 16.

The higher ranked team will always have home advantage in the second leg and as they progress they will always face the lowest ranked team left in the competition. Away goals count in every round up to the final and if the tie is level after 180 minutes it goes straight to penalties. In the final, away goals don't count and if the tie is level at the end of 180 minutes there is 30 minutes of extra time before penalties will decide the destination of the trophy.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Campeonato Carioca - Taça Guanabara Week 1

Bangu 0-3 Boavista
Olaria 2-2 Volta Redonda
Madureria 2-1 América
Vasco da Gama 1-0 Tigres do Brasil
Macaé 2-3 Botafogo
Flamengo 3-2 Duque de Caixas
Friburguense 0-0 Resende
Americano 0-3 Fluminense

Boavista were the biggest winners of the weekend in Group A and head the table after their comfortable 3-0 win away at Bangu. Leo Guerreiro with a goal either side of half time before Jougle finished things off seven minutes from time. Olaria came from behind to get a point off Volta Redonda. América have been promising big things in the pre-season but they came unstuck at Madureria. Claudemir gave América a dream start, firing them ahead after only 3 minutes but Marcelo Ramos levelled after twenty miutes and went onto get the winner three minutes before half time. Vasco da Gama struggled to overcome Tigres do Brasil but sneaked home thanks to a goal from Fagner seven minutes before half time.

In the late game on Saturday, current holders Botafogo were given a real run for their money by Macaé. Gustavo Herrera put Botafogo ahead with only two minutes on the clock but Macaé responded almost immediately through André. A shock looked on the cards when Fernandao put Macaé ahead just after the half hour but Lucio Flavio levelled and Marcelo Cordeiro got the winner two minutes before half time.

On Sunday the Série A Champions Flamengo were made to work hard for their three points by Duque de Caxias. The visitors stunned the Maracanã when Maurinho fired them ahead after 17 minutes. They held onto the lead for over half an hour before Kleberson levelled five minutes after half time. Gonzalo Fierro then put Flamengo ahead two minutes later but Duque de Caxias weren't going to give up and John levelled with 11 minutes to go. When it looked like Duque de Caxias were going to get a point they had their hearts broken five minutes from time when Fernando grabbed a winner for the home side. The only scoreless game of the weekend came at Friburguense, where Resende claimed a point. Finally Fluminense continued their great run of form from last year when they brushed aside Americano. Everton put Flu ahead half way through the first half before Maicon doubled the lead on the stroke of half time. Júlio César wrapped things up in the second half.

No rest for the wicked as there is a midweek round to keep everyone on their toes. They line up like this

Fluminense x Bangu
Resende x Macaé
Boavista x Americano
Tigres do Brasil x Madureira
Volta Redonda x Flamengo
América x Vasco da Gama
Duque de Caxias x Olaria
Botafogo x Friburguense

Campeonato Paulista A1 - Week 1

Rio Claro 1-3 Botafogo SP
Bragantino 4-0 Oeste
Palmeiras 5-1 Mogi Mirim
Ituano 4-1 Mirassol
Ponte Preta 1-1 Santo André
Sertãozinho 1-1 Barueri
Monte Azul 1-1 Corinthians
São Paulo 1-3 Portuguesa
Rio Branco 0-4 Santos
São Caetano 2-0 Paulista

A few surprise results in Week One of the Camapeonato Paulista A1, none more so at Monte Azul where the champions, Corinthians, were held to a 1-1 draw. Iarley put Corinthians ahead with a quarter of an hour gone but Monte Azul levelled matters 4 minutes later through Borebi and held on for a valuable point. Portuguesa came from a goal down to beat São Paulo at the Morumbi. Marcelinho Paraíba put São Paulo ahead six minutes before half time but Heverton levelled nine minutes into the second half. Seven minutes later Marco Antônio put Portuguesa ahead from the spot before a second from Heverton wrapped up the win. Sertãozinho were on the brink of claiming a victory over Barueri but Willian's injury time equalizer claimed a point for the Série A side.

Santo André's miserable run of form continued when they were held by Ponte Preta. Leo Oliveira put Ponte Preta ahead ten minutes into the second half but Bruno Cesar levelled matters nine minutes later to rescue a point. Santos ran out comfortable 4-0 winners at Rio Branco, they were two up inside 19 minutes after goals from Paulo Henrique and Neymar and the same two players also added second half goals. Palmeiras went top after their 5-1 win over Mogi Mirim. Diego Souza and Léo put the Big Green two up at half time before Robert, a second from Souza and a penalty from Cleiton Xavier wrapped things up.

The other big winners of the weekend were Bragantino and Ituano who were winners over Oeste and Mirassol respectively. Botafogo SP claimed an excellent 3-1 victory away at Rio Claro and São Caetano were 2-0 winners over Paulista.

More action this midweek as there is a full round of fixtures. They line up like this

Botafogo SP x Ituano
Portuguesa x Sertãozinho
Santos x Ponte Preta
Oeste x Monte Azul
Paulista x Rio Claro
Corinthians x Bragantino
Mirassol x São Paulo
Mogi Mirim x Rio Branco
Barueri x Palmeiras
Santo André x São Caetano

We'll be back later in the week with a full round up.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

State Championships Ready To Roll

Here at CONMEBalls to kick start our coverage of the 2010 scene in Brazil which includes full coverage of Série A from May, Copa Libertadores, Recopa Sudamericana and Copa Sudamericana we will be bringing action from the State Championships in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. We will also be bringing the action from Argentina and keeping a close look at the South American sides at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Meanwhile ahead of the State Championships, here is a brief guide to the two competitions we will be covering.

The Campeonato Carioca is a 16 team competition which decides the Rio de Janeiro state championship. Flamengo have been victorious for the last three years. There are two separate competitions the Taça Guanabara and the Taça Rio. The Taça Guanabara comes first and starts next Saturday when Botafogo will be looking to defend their crown. The teams are split into two groups of 8 with the big 4 in Rio, Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco da Gama being seeded and split between the two groups. The teams the play a single round robin against the other teams in their groups before the top two in each group qualify for a single game semi final before the final. The winner of this competition then qualifies for the state final which takes place in late April.

The Taça Rio format slightly differs from that of the Taça Guanabara. The teams remain in the same groups but play a single round robin against the teams in the other group. Giving eight fixtures instead of seven. Again after the league phase is completed there are single game semi finals and final where Flamengo will be looking to defend their title. Again the winner of this competition will then take their place in the two legged State championship final at the end of April. Both games are normally held at the Maracanã but if a team wins both Taça Guanabara and Taça Rio then this game is not held. This has happened twice before, in 1996 when Flamengo won both tournaments and it was repeated in 1998 by Vasco da Gama.

The opening games in the Guanbara are as follows

Bangu v Boavista
Olaria v Volta Redonda
Madureira v América RJ
Vasco da Gama v Tigres do Brasil
Macaé v Botafogo
Flamengo v Duque de Caxias
Friburguense v Resende
Americano v Fluminense

Meanwhile down in São Paulo the Campeonato Paulista is the old recognised competition in Brazil after being founded in 1902. The format though, is slightly different to the Carioca. Corinthians are the current holders of the title. There are 20 teams in the top division (of three) and they play a single round robin format to give 19 games. The top four teams then qualify for the semi finals which are played over two legs on a home and away basis and then the final is also played on a two legged basis. Also the 4 highest ranked teams that do not reside within the city of São Paulo compete for the Campeão do Interior or Upstate Champion on the same basis. Santos, despite not being with the city of São Paulo is ineligible for the Campeão do Interior. The bottom four teams after the regular weekly rounds are relegated to Série A2.

The opening round of the Paulista A1 lines up like this

Rio Claro v Botafogo SP
Palmeiras v Mogi Mirim
Ituano v Mirassol
Ponte Preta v Santo André
Bragantino v Oeste
Sertãozinho v Grêmio Barueri
Monte Azul v Corinthians
São Paulo v Portuguesa
Rio Branco SP v Santos
São Caetano v Paulista

A round of the weekend events will appear here from Monday.