Monday, 31 May 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 5

Flamengo 1-1 Grêmio
Palmeiras 0-0 Prudente
Avaí 0-0 Vitória
Corinthians 4-2 Santos
Guarani 0-0 São Paulo
Atlético Miniero 1-3 Fluminense
Internacional 4-1 Atlético Paranaense
Ceará 1-0 Cruzeiro
Atlético Goianiense 1-3 Goiás
Botafogo 1-1 Vasco da Gama

At the Maracanã on Saturday night Flamengo had to settle for a point against Grêmio despite a stellar performance from Serbian veteran Dejan Petkovic. Petkovic put Flamengo ahead after seven minutes when Grêmio failed to clear and he slammed the ball home. Slack defending allowed defender Rodrigo to equalize for Grêmio six minutes after the break. The other two game on Saturday finished goalless. With the Palestra Itália closed for refurbishment, Palmeiras took on Prudente on their old home ground at the Arena Barueri and there was no breakthrough. Palmeiras did have the ball in the net in the first half but it was chalked off for an offside. In Florianópolis, Avaí failed to score at home for the first time this season as they were held by Vitória. There were plenty of chances in the game but both goalkeepers and the woodwork kept the strikers at bay.

The first big match up on Sunday saw Corinthians take on Santos at the Pacaembu, the home side were ahead inside three minutes thanks to Jorge Henrique taking advantage of a mistake from Felipe in the Santos goal. André levelled the game for Santos 7 minutes after the break but it was level for only a minute before Bruno César put Corinthians ahead again. Ralf doubled the lead after 66 minutes and Paulinho made the game safe six minutes from time. Marcel's goal three minutes from time was mere consolation for Santos. Guarani picked up what could be a valuable point against a full strength São Paulo after a stalemate at the Estádio Brinco de Ouro da Princesa. Both sides hit the woodwork but a couple of great saves from Guarani keeper Douglas kept the scoresheet blank. Muricy Ramalho picked up his first away win as Fluminense coach after a come from behind success at Atlético-MG. Muriqui had Atlético-MG ahead inside three minutes and the lead lasted until the hour when Gum's header levelled the game. Alan put Flu ahead from the narrowest of angles three minutes later and Fred wrapped things up in injury time. Internacional picked up their second win of the season after disposing of Atlético-PR. All the goals came in the second half, Alecsandro put Inter ahead four minutes after the break and Gonzalo Sorando doubled the lead two minutes later. Andrezinho made it three five minutes later and a second from Alecsandro fourteen minutes from time made it four. Manoel got a consolation for Atlético-PR seven minutes from time.

Ceará maintained their 100% home record after another 1-0 home win, this time against Cruzeiro. Lopes tured home the winner seven minutes before half time. Cruzeiro finished with ten men after the dismissal of substitute Wellington Paulista. After being booked for a challenge he gave the referee a few too many words, and was shown a second yellow. In another derby in Goiânia, Goiás picked up their first win of the season against their local rivals. Atlético-GO took the lead on 11 minutes when Elias converted from the spot. Romertio levelled the game fifteen minutes later and his second 10 minutes after the break put Goiás ahead. Bernardo wrapped things up for Goiás four minutes later. In the final game of the weekend Botafogo took on Vasco at the Engenhão. After some pre-match trash talking from Sebasian Abreu, away with Uruguay on World Cup duty, about Vasco's Dodô fired things up. The last time the teams met at the Engenhão; Vasco were 6-0 winners in the Carioca in Januray and when they took the lead through Ernani after 26 minutes they were on course for a repeat success but eight minutes later German Herrara levelled for Fogo and the teams had to settle for a point each.

Two games left now before the World Cup break, week 6 is the second midweek round of the season and they line up like this

Atlético-PR x Botafogo
Fluminense x Vitória
Prudente x Atlético-GO
Ceará x Avaí
Palmeiras x Flamengo
Goiás x São Paulo
Cruzeiro x Santos
Grêmio x Atlético-MG
Vasco da Gama x Guarani
Corinthians x Internacional

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 4

Vitória 4-3 Atlético Miniero
Grêmio 3-0 Avaí
Fluminense 2-1 Flamengo
São Paulo 1-0 Palmeiras
Prudente 2-2 Corinthians
Santos 3-1 Guarani
Cruzeiro 1-0 Botafogo
Vasco da Gama 3-2 Internacional
Atlético Paranaense 2-1 Atlético Goianiense
Goiás 0-0 Ceará

Vitória picked up their first win of the season after a 7 goal thriller against Atlético-MG. Schwenck put Vitória ahead after 13 minutes but Muriqui levelled just after the half hour. A second from Schwenck six minutes before the break put Vitória into half time ahead but they lost Nino to a read card seven minutes after half time. Ricardinho levelled again for Atlético-MG half way though the second half but Schwenck completed his hat-trick to again edge Vitória ahead again. When Diego Tardelli levelled for a third time with nine minutes to go a draw was the likely result but Evandro grabbed a winner three minutes from time. Grêmio brushed aside Avaí with a confortable 3-0 victory to get their first win of the season. A first half double from Jonas set the basis for the victory which was completed by Fabio Rochemback in the last minute. Fluminense were victorious in the Fla-Flu at the Maracanã. Rodriguinho put Fluminense ahead after ten minutes but Flamengo were picking up a number of yellow cards for some poor challenges. Dario Conca doubled the lead for Fluminense 11 minutes into the second half. Fernando was then sent off for Flamengo, who pulled a goal back in the last minute via a free kick from goalkeeper Bruno.

The other big midweek derby saw São Paulo make it back to back wins with success over Palmeiras. One goal seperated the sides and it came from Fernandão nine minutes into the second half. The only downside to the São Paulo victory was the dismissal of Cicinho a minutes from time. Corinthians remain top after twice coming from behind to claim a point at Prudente. Wanderley put Prudente ahead after 17 minutes but William levelled just after the half hour. Diego Giaretta put Prudente back ahead a minute before half time but a second half own goal from Denis gave Corinthians a point. After their 8-1 defeat in the cup at the Vila Belmiro a month ago, Guarani might not have picked the points up but they showed spirit in a 3-1 defeat. When Neymar put Santos ahead with only 2 minutes gone you expected a repeat but Baiano stunned the home fans with a leveller seven minutes before half time. The second half saw Guarani put up a fight up and looked to be taking a point away but Marcel edged Santos ahead 8 minutes from time and André wrapped things up two minutes from time.

Botafogo fell to their first defeat of the season at Cruzeiro, who edged up into third. One goal seperated the teams and that came from Thiago Ribeiro with 18 minutes on the clock. Vasco finally picked up their first win but did it the hard way against Internacional. A double within the space of two minutes from Andrezinho sent Inter into half time two goals to the good. Elton halved the defecit four minutes after the restart and Inter then had Fabiano Eller sent off after 63 minutes. Philippe Coutinho levelled from the spot 13 minutes from time and Nilton grabbed a winner four minutes from time. Huge win for Atlético-PR in what was an early season six pointer against Atlético-GO. Paulo Baier put Atlético-PR ahead with 19 minutes gone and Wagner Diniz doubled the lead just on the half hour. Keninha then saw red for Atlético-GO and he was followed by Wagner Diniz. Elias pulled a goal back for Atlético-GO 18 minutes from time but the home side held on. Finally no goals in Goiás as the home side picked up their first point of the season in a dull encounter against Ceará.

No week 5 preview this week as the games get underway today and they line up like this with three tasty local derbies.

Flamengo x Grêmio
Palmeiras x Prudente
Avaí x Vitória
Corinthians x Santos
Guarani x São Paulo
Atlético Miniero x Fluminense
Internacional x Atlético Paranaense
Ceará x Cruzeiro
Atlético Goianiense x Goiás
Botafogo x Vasco da Gama

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 4 Preview

Vitória x Atlético-MG
Grêmio x Avaí
Fluminense x Flamengo
São Paulo x Palmeiras
Prudente x Corinthians
Cruzeiro x Botafogo
Santos x Guarani
Vasco da Gama x Internacional
Atlético-PR x Atlético-GO
Goiás x Ceará

Week 4 of the Campeonato Brasileiro is the first midweek round of many due to the World Cup break. Three games take place on Wednesday night where Atlético-MG travel to a Vitória side that has struggled so far in the league despite making the Copa do Brasil final. Last time away from home Atlético-MG were thumped in Prudente and will be looking for beter this time. After losing their long unbeaten record at home last time out, Grêmio will be looking to get one over on an Avaí side that has started the season in good form and currently lie second in the table. The final Wednesday night game does get any bigger as the 373rd Fla-Flu takes place at the Maracanã. The teams last met in the Carioca at the end of January when Flamengo staged a remarkable recovery to win 5-3 but both teams have changed coaches since that day.

Thursday night starts with another huge derby as the 279th Choque-Rei takes place at the Morumbi. Palmeiras were victorious when the teams met in the Paulista back in February but it was a rare hightlight of a poor Paulista campaign for the Big Green. São Paulo are very much a team in form at the moment, in the semi finals of the Libertadores their confidence will be sky high after the win at Inter last weekend. Corinthians take their 100% record to the Prudentão and a clash with Prudente. Corinthians are scraping home by single goal margins at the moment but it's enough to put them top but if Prudente repeat their previous home form against Atlético-MG it could be a long night for the leaders. Botafogo have begun the season well and have their first big test when they go to a stuttering Cruzeiro side at the Minerão. Botofogo brushed aside Goiás at the weekend whilst Cruzeiro rescued a point from being two goals down at newly promoted Guarani. Their poor Libertadores showing still seems to haunt Cruzeiro at the moment.

Guarani return to their scene of their 8-1 thumping in the Copa do Brasil a month ago when they take on Santos at the Vila Belmiro. Guarani actually won the second leg, but it was against a much weakened Santos side and although it might not be the same scoreline this time you can't give much hope to the visitors. Vasco da Gama have struggled so far on their return to the big time and they will be looking to get something from the visit of an Internacional side that was defeated at home by São Paulo last time out. Only Goiás are keeping Vasco off the bottom of the table and their form at the São Januário will be crucial if they are to stay up. An early season six-pointer at the Arena da Baixada where an already struggling Atlético-PR take on Atlético-GO. The Curitiba club are already struggling after their long relegation battle last season and this Atlético-GO side are still coming terms to the league. Finally bottom club Goiás will look to get their season going when they entertain promoted Guarani. Goiás are currently the only team without a point this season but could potentially leap six places in the standings with victory over a newly promoted Guarani side who have settled well into the Série and currently lie in mid-table.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 3

Botafogo 3-0 Goiás
Atlético Goianiense 1-2 Santos
Palmeiras 4-2 Grêmio
Corinthians 1-0 Fluminense
Atlético Miniero 3-1 Atlético Paranaense
Internacional 0-2 São Paulo
Ceará 1-0 Vitória
Avaí 2-0 Vasco da Gama
Flamengo 3-1 Prudente
Guarani 2-2 Cruzeiro

Botofogo's promising start to the season continued as they brushed aside Goiás. A spiteful game which had 4 red cards saw two goals in a minute from Lúcio Flávio and Somália put Fogo in control just before half time as Goiás' Fabio became the first to go just before the break. German Herrera made it three 18 mintues from time before he was the second to go alongside Caio six minutes from time after the team mates begin fighting with each other. Wellington Saci was the second Goiás player to go as things finished 9 a-side. Santos picked up their first win of the season with a 2-1 success at Atlético-GO. Marquinhos put Santos ahead in the 63rd minute and Wesley doubled the lead two mintues later. Atlético-GO then had Agenor sent off seven minutes from time but the 10 men pulled a consolation goal back through Boka three minutes from time. Palmeiras made it 2 from 2 at home after overcoming a Grêmio side which still have that travel sickness problem. A double from Ewerthon put the Big Green in charge within half an hour but Jonas pulled a goal back on the half hour. On half time Marcos Assunção of Palmeiras and Dougles were sent off after clashing. Hugo then levelled the game three mintues into the second half after heading home but Maurício Ramos put Palmeiras back ahead on the hour and Cleiton Xavier restored the two goal gap 10 minutes later.

Corinthians remain the only team with a 100% record after defeating Fluminense at the Pacembeu. Only only one goal seperated the teams and it came via a Chicão free kick with 12 minutes on the clock. Atlético-MG got back on the horse after last week's defeat to overcome Atlético-PR. Muriqui put Atlético-MG ahead after 57 minutes and Digeo Tardelli doubled the lead two minutes later. Ricardinho made it three 17 minutes from time before Bruno Miniero pulled a goal back for Atlético-PR seven minutes from time. In a rehearsal of the Libertadores semi final São Paulo came away from the Beria-Rio with all three points against Internacional. Hernanes put São Paulo ahead eight minutes before the break before Fernandão sealed the win with a second just after the hour. Late drama at the Castelão as an injury time goal from Washington gave Ceará all three points against Vitória. The game had been ten a-side for the second half after Ceará's Heleno and José Juinior of Vitória had been sent off after 32 minutes.

Avaí remain in second after victory over a Vasco da Gama side struggling to adapt to top flight life and playing for the first time under new coach Celso Roth. Roberto put Avaí ahead after 27 minutes and Robson wrapped things up in injury time. Flamengo bounced back from their Libertadores exit with victory over Prudente in front of just 4000 spectators at the Maracanã. Vágner Love put Flamengo ahead from the spot on half time but Wanderley levelled for Prudente four minutes after the restart. It looked like the game was heading for a draw but Juan edged Flamengo back ahead three minutes from time before a second from the spot from Vágner Love wrapped things up. Guarani will be kicking themselves after letting a two goal lead slip against Cruzeiro in an entertaining game with plenty of chances. A double from Roger in the first half hour put Guarani in control. Cruzeiro fought back in the second half, Gil halved the deficit seven minutes after the break and Joffre Guerrón levelled matters fifteen minutes from time.

The first midweek roud takes place this week and they line up like this

Vitória x Atlético-MG
Grêmio x Avaí
Fluminense x Flamengo
São Paulo x Palmeiras
Prudente x Corinthians
Cruzeiro x Botafogo
Santos x Guarani
Vasco da Gama x Internacional
Atlético-PR x Atlético-GO
Goiás x Ceará

Friday, 21 May 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 3 Preview

Botafogo x Goiás
Atlético Goianiense x Santos
Palmeiras x Grêmio
Corinthians x Fluminense
Atlético Miniero x Atlético Paranaense
Internacional x São Paulo
Ceará x Vitória
Avaí x Vasco da Gama
Flamengo x Prudente
Guarani x Cruzeiro

Botafogo, boosted by a win in São Paulo last week, host a Goiás side that has flattered to decieve so far this season. Fogo currently lie fourth whilst Goiás have yet to pick up a point this season. Copa finalists Santos travel at an Atlético-GO side that was dumped out of the Copa in midweek. It's a huge task ahead of the promoted side and they have only a point for their troubles so far. It may be too much to expect them to collect anything against a Santos side that is scoring goals for fun. The last Saturday game sees Palmeiras entertain Grêmio, woeful at the São Januário last week the Big Green will be looking to pick up three points against a Grêmio side with serious travel sickness. Grêmio may want to prove a point after losing their long unbeaten home record last week.

The only 100% record belongs to Corinthians and they entertain Fluminense. Winning at Fortress Grêmio would be a huge boost to Corinthians confidence and Fluminense are still getting used to new trainer Muricy Ramalho. Atlético-MG were woeful in Prudente last week and will be looking to hit back when they face Atlético-PR. It seems the visitors may be in for a long old season again and they need to get some points on the board to avoid another relegation battle. In a strange twist of fate, Inter and São Paulo stage a Libertadores semi final rehearsal after both were successful in midweek. Inter knocked holders Estudiantes out and São Paulo removed fellow Brazilians Cruzeiro. With the Continental competition now on the back burner til the end of July both teams can turn their attention to the league after fielding under strength sides in their opening games.

Vitória qualified for their first Copa final in midweek and will be looking to take that confidence with the to Ceará. The promoted side have started confidently and remain unbeaten in their opening two games. Vasco, with a new coach in tow, have a sifficult task against Avaí. They hit 6 in their opening home game and with Vasco failing to impress so it could be a long day. Flamengo need to bounce back from their Libertadores exit and entertain a Prudente side full of confidence after their big win over Atlético-MG last week. Tough times ahead for the Rubro-Negro as defending their title is their only chance of success this year. Another promoted side who have made a decent start is Guarani and they entertain a Cruzeiro side licking their wounds after a Libertadores exit in midweek.

Copa Libertadores Quarter Final 2nd Leg

Libertad 2-0 Guadalajara
Guadalajara advances on goal difference
São Paulo 2-0 Cruzeiro
São Paulo advances 6-0 on points
Estudiantes 2-1 Internacional
Internacional advances on away goals
Universidad de Chile 1-2 Flamengo
Universidad de Chile advances on away goals

For the second round running Guadalajara nearly made a bad job of defending a three goal first leg lead as they went down to defeat in Asinción. Adalberto Roman put Libertad ahead with twenty minutes on the clock and when Manuel Maciel made it two half way through the second half the Paraguayans were a goal away from penalties. But as in the previous round the Mexicans held on to quailfy for the semi finals. São Paulo eased into the semi finals after a repeat of their 2-0 first leg win. In fact it was the same goalscorers as well but in reverse order. The game though got off to a dramatic start when Cruzeiro's Kléber was sent off in the first minute of the game for an elbow on Richarlyson. Against ten men Cruzeiro's task was nigh on impossible and Hernanes put them ahead after 24 mintues. Dagoberto wrapped things up eight minutes after the break with a delicate lob over Fabio.

The holders Estudiantes were knocked out after dramtic night in Quilmes. It was all going well for Estudiantes as two quick fire first half goals from Leandro González and Enzo Pérez put the home side in the driving seat. Inter were very much second best in the first half but knowing they had to score came out all guns blazing in the second period. Alecsandro was denied by the assistant's flag on the hour, Gonzalo Sorondo should have scored with nine minutes left but with two minutes left the Estudiantes defence cracked and Giuliano won the tie for with a valuable away goal for Internacional. Flamengo are also out after failing to overturn their first leg defecit against Universidad de Chile. Vágner Love put Flamengo up just before half time to level the tie on aggregate but Walter Montillo levelled with 17 minutes to go. Adriano edged Fla ahead with 12 minutes to go, but the three goals conceded last week were haunting Flamengo and they still needed to score again. Frustration set in for the Rubro-Negro and Willians saw red for a second yellow card in the last minute and he was followed by Vágner Love in injury time.

With the rules of the competition São Paulo and Internacional will now face each other in the semi finals. The competition also now takes a break because of the FIFA™ World Cup and the semi final first leg games are scheduled for the week beginning July 26 with the returns a week later. Internacional will host São Paulo in the first leg whilst Universidad de Chile will travel to Guadalajara.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Copa Kia do Brasil Semi Final 2nd Legs

Vitória 4-0 Atlético Goianiense
Vitória wins 4-1 on aggregate
Santos 3-1 Grêmio
Santos wins 6-5 on aggregate

Vitória qualified for it's first ever final appearence in the Copa do Brasil after overcoming a single goal deficit to defeat Atlético-GO. Uelliton levelled the tie on aggregate with 30 minutes on the clock and two minutes later José Junior put Vitória two up on the night and ahead on aggregate. The score remained unchanged until a minute from time when a second from José Junior put the tie beyond doubt. Márcio Gabriel was then sent off for Vitória and Julian Viáfara wrapped things up five minutes into injury time.

Santos also qualified for their first final after overcoming a single goal defecit against Grêmio. The deadlock on the night was broken six minutes into the second half with a rasper from Paulo Henrique Ganso. Robinho then put Santos ahead on aggregate with a cheeky lob twenty minutes from time but suddenly Grêmio were level on aggregate through Rafael Marques. Santos still led on away goals and confirmed their final spot through Wesley five minutes from time. Then the stupidity of it all, Santos defender Edu Dracena and Grêmio striker Jonas were sent off for fighting each other and Grêmio goalscorer Marques was dismissed for a second yellow card.

The final will not take place after the World Cup. The first leg is in Santos on July 29, the return a week later on August 5.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 2

Fluminense 1-0 Atlético Goianiense
Prudente 4-0 Atlético Miniero
Vitória 1-1 Flamengo
São Paulo 1-2 Botafogo
Grêmio 1-2 Corinthians
Goiás 2-3 Internacional
Santos 1-1 Ceará
Vasco da Gama 0-0 Palmeiras
Cruzeiro 2-2 Avaí
Atlético Paranaense 2-2 Guarani

Fluminense bounced back from an opening day defeat to begin their home campaign with success over promoted side Atlético-GO. Despite having the much better chances through the game it took a Marquinho winner half way through the second half to seperate the teams. Welton Felipe saw red for Atlético-GO fifteen minutes from time. After their thumping in Florianapólis last week Prudente blew away Atlético-MG with a stunning first half display. Arajuo put Prudente ahead within a minute and Flavinho doubled the lead on the quarter hour. Henrique Dias made it three four minutes before the break and Diego Giaretta wrapped things up right on half time. Flamengo, sporting their new kit, were denied the chance to register their first win of the campaign after being pegged back at Vitória in terrible conditions. After Vágner Love put the Rubro-Negro ahead with only three minutes on the clock the only winner looked to be the pitch at the rain came down constantly causing puddles to form on the surface. Vitória though, battled on and got an equaliser through an Elkeson's free kick, that gave Bruno no chance to save, four minutes from time.

Botafogo's improvement gathers pace after an impressive win at the Morumbi against São Paulo. Léo Lima put the hosts ahead with only eight minutes on the clock but Antônio Carlos levelled twenty minutes later. It looked like it would be a point each but Renato Cajá grabbed a winner for O Fogão with five minutes to go. Fortress Grêmio was breached for the first time in Série A since September 2008 as Corinthians remained the only team with a 100% record in the division. Ralf put Corinthians ahead with only five minutes on the clock and when Souza doubled the lead in 64 minutes the long unbeaten run was in grave doubt. Maylson halved the defecit with 15 mintues to go but Corinthians held on the register a vital win. Inter registered their first win after coming from two goals down at Goiás. Éverton Santos pupt Goiás ahead on the half hour and Amaral doubled the lead ten minutes later. A brace from Walter levelled matter and Giuliano won it for Inter 8 minutes from time.

Ceará took the plaudits as they left the Vila Belmiro with a point against Santos. Ceará stunned the home fans when Washington put them ahead with only seven minutes on the clock. It stung the home side into action and the levelled when Neymar converted from the spot seven minutes before the break. We highlighed the importance of the game for both teams at the São Januário in the preview and we're still none the wiser now after Vasco and Palmeiras played out the first goalless draw of the season. Avaí blew their chance to stay top of the table after letting at 2 goal lead slip at Cruzeiro. It all went well in the first half as Pará and Roberto put Avaí two up at the break, these goals coming after Cruzeiro's Leonardo Silva had been sent off. Wellington Paulista halved the defecit seven minutes after the break, Zé Carlos of Avaí then saw red and a second from Wellington Paulista from the spot ensured parity. Guarani continued their good start to the season after picking a point up at Atlético-PR. Roger put Guarani ahead after 34 minutes but a lack of concentration before the break allowed Netinho to level. Roger's second restored Guarani's lead six minutes after the break but the lead lasted a mere three minute before Alex Miniero levelled for Atlético-PR.

A clear midweek from league action but eight sides are involved in Libertadores and Copa do Brasil action. They line up for week 3 like this;

Botafogo x Goiás
Atlético-GO x Santos
Palmeiras x Grêmio
Corinthians x Fluminense
Atlético-MG x Atlético-PR
Internacional x São Paulo
Ceará x Vitória
Avaí x Vasco da Gama
Flamengo x Prudente
Guarani x Cruzeiro

Argentinos clinch Clausura title

Arsenal 1-2 Godoy Cruz
San Lorenzo 2-1 Newell's Old Boys
Banfield 3-0 Boca Juniors
Chacarita Juniors 1-2 Racing Club
Gimnasia La Plata 3-3 Atlético Tucumán
River Plate 1-5 Tigre
Independiente 1-0 Lanús
Rosario Central 0-0 Vélez Sarsfield
Colón 1-4 Estudiantes
Huracán 1-2 Argentinos Juniors

Estudiantes did all they could to wrest the initiative from Argentinos Juniors on final day in the Clausura. Their two games kicked off at the same time and, after 22 minutes, Mauro Boselli had already struck twice to put Estudiantes in control against Colón. However, a minute later Juan Ignacio Mercier struck for Argentinos. That was going to be enough. Still Estudiantes poured forward and Boselli completed the hat-trick that took him top of the goal-scoring charts shortly after the break and Enzo Perez made it four. Facundo Curuchet pulled one back - too late to effect the result - but all eyes were still on the Tomas Duco where it remained 1-0, although Huracán had been reduced a man, Paolo Goltz picking up a second yellow. Surely no way back now and Facundo Coria made it 2-0 with twelve minutes to go. Pablo Jerez was sent off, reducing Huracán to nine, and Alan Sanchez got one back for them, but Argentinos eased down to a comfortable win to take the title.

The complicated and borderline corrupt relegation system sees Gimnasia and Rosario Central playing off against Primera B opposition at the end of the three-season cycle. Gimnasia blew a three-goal lead against Tucumán to end 3-3, although that hands the wooden spoon to Atlético. Gimnasia were three-up at half-time through Gaston Casas, Alvaro Navarro and Esteban Gonzalez, but it turned around in grand style as Emmanuel Gigliotti, Cesar Montiglio and Deivis Barone squared things up. Rosario were held 0-0 by Vélez and now face All Boys while Gimnasia play off against Atlético Rafaela in order to preserve their Primera Division status.

Godoy Cruz finish third after a 2-1 win over Arsenal having gone behind to Cristian Alvarez. Leonardo Sigali and Rodrigo Salinas struck to win it. Ignacio Piatti got a late winner for Independiente against Lanús as they finish fourth while Banfield's defence thumped nine-man Boca in finishing fifth. Marcelo Bustamante put them ahead just before the break and an own goal from Gabriel Paletta made it two shortly before Pablo Mouche picked up his second yellow. Ruben Ramirez made it three with the resulting free-kick and Boca ended with nine after Cristian Erbes also saw yellow for a second time. Boca's big rivals, River Plate, also ended on the end of a tubbing, Tigre going 5-0 ahead inside the first half. Rogerio Funes did pull one back after the break, but that was hardly going to settle a restless home crowd.

San Lorenzo end a troubled campaign on a winning note, Nelson Benitez with the winner twenty minutes from time and Racing beat ten-man Chacarita 2-1 after Claudio Cevasco was sent off. Only Tucumán's inability to win saves Chacarita from finishing bottom.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 2 previews

Fluminense x Atlético Goianiense
Prudente x Atlético Miniero
Vitória x Flamengo
São Paulo x Botafogo
Grêmio x Corinthians
Goiás x Internacional
Santos x Ceará
Vasco da Gama x Palmeiras
Cruzeiro x Avaí
Atlético Paranaense x Guarani

Muricy Ramalho must already be feeling the heat as Fluminense entertain Atlético-GO at the Maracanã. The defeat last week at newly promoted Ceará wasn't good and Atlético-GO come into the game full of confidence after the midweek away win at Vitória in the Copa. Prudente were shocking last week at Avaí and it isn't getting any easier for them this week when they welcome Atlético-MG to the Prudentão. Diego Tardelli will have a big point to prove this week after his exclusion from the World Cup squad and after a great performance in the Paulista it's suddenly looking like a long year for Prudente. Vitória were disappointing in midweek when losing to Atlético-GO but they weren't as bad as Flamengo were in the Libertadores. The scales are tipped in favour of Vitória in this one as Fla might have one eye on their trip to Santiago in midweek.

São Paulo's impressive midweek win at Cruzeiro will have put them in good heart when they entertain Botafogo. The Rio club were a little rusty during last weeks opener against Santos but it's difficult seeing them taking any points away from the Morumbi. Fortress Grêmio welcomes Corinthians to the Olímpico and after coming from a two goal defecit to defeat Santos in midweek it looks like there won't be many teams taking points away again this season. Corinthians comeback win over Atlético-PR wiped out the memory of a Libertadores exit but home advantage really is the big thing here. Goiás are looking for their first points of the season when they entertain Internacional. Against Libertadores committments might play a part here for Inter as they have a lead to defend in La Plata next week. Goiás lost to promoted Guarani last week and will be looking to bounce back.

Santos threw away a two goal lead in midweek but should have no problems dispatching Ceará at the Vila Belmiro. Ceará though will be buoyed by their opening day win over Fluminense. Vasco host Palmeiras in what is test more of the visitors abilities than the home side. Vasco leaked two early goals to go down at Atlético-MG last week whilst Palmeiras scrambled past a Vitória side distracted by Copa committments. If Vasco go down in this one it expect the alarm bells to ring. Table topping Avaí go to the Minerão to take on a Cruzeiro side brushed aside in midweek by São Paulo. If Avaí take the confidence into the game they gained last week they may just get the bacon against a side that will be more interested in rescuing their Libertadores campaign in midweek. Finally Atlético-PR host newly promoted Guarani. Atlético-PR threw a lead away at Corinthians last week and this is a must win game for them if they are to avoid another relegation battle this year while Guarani look to build on last weeks success.

Copa Libertadores quarter-finals, first leg

Guadalajara 3-0 Libertad
Flamengo 2-3 Universidad de Chile
Cruzeiro 0-2 São Paulo
Internacional 1-0 Estudiantes

Guadalajara's impressive home for continued with second 3-0 home victory, this time against Libertad of Paraguay. Omar Bravo put the Mexican side ahead after only nine minutes and Ricardo Vazquez doubled the lead on the half hour. Libertad went in search of an away goal to give them some hope but were caught with ten minutes to go when a second from Bravo put the tie beyond doubt. Flamengo suffered a second defeat of the competition as their hopes of reaching the semi final too a sever blow at the Maranana. Defender Mauricio Victorino put Universidad ahead with only four minutes on the clock and it was another defender, Rafael Orra who doubled the lead twenty minutes later. Adriano pulled a goal back six minutes before the break and Flamengo got a big break when Manuel Iturra was dismissed on the stroke of half time. But Universidad stunned the Flamengo faithful, when the ten men restored their two goal lead through Alvaro Fernandez two minutes into the second half. Universidad were happy with their lead and set about defending their lead, Flamengo threw the kitchen sink and the rest at the Chileans and finally pulled a goal back a minute from time through Juan but Universidad take an advantage back to Santiago next week.

São Paulo took a crucial lead in the all-Brazil clash after a 2-0 victory over Cruzeiro in the Minerão. Dagoberto put São Paulo ahead half way through the first half and Hernanes doubled the lead twenty minutes into the second half. It's a long way back into the tie for Cruzeiro as they chase back to back finals. Inter will take a narrow advantage to La Plata next week after 1-0 victory over holders Estudiantes in Porto Alegre. A game where chances were few and far between the hosts snatched victory two minutes from time when full back Gonzalo Sorondo finally got the breakthrough. Estudiantes will though, fancy their chances of overturning the deficit in the second leg.

The return legs take place next week.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Bielsa names his Chile squad

Chile coach Marco Bielsa has sprung a surprise with his squad after naming midfielder Jaime Valdes in his preliminary 30 man squad. Valdes hasn't appeared for the national team since 2006 and it is the first time he has been selected under coach Bielsa. Charles Aranquiz of Colo Colo has also been named despite not featuring in the qualifying stage due to injury.
The English connection is provided by West Bromwich Albion defender Gonzalo Jara, one of 14 players currently based in various European Leagues. Claudio Maldonado of CR Flamengo does miss out though despite recovering from a knee injury in double quick time.

The squad in full is

Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad, Spain), Miguel Pinto (Universidad de Chile), Luis Marin (Unión Española, Chile)

Defenders: Roberto Cereceda (Colo Colo, Chile), Pablo Contreras (PAOK, Greece), Ismael Fuentes (Universidad Católica, Chile), Mauricio Isla (Udinese, Italy), Gary Medel (Boca Juniors, Argentina), Gonzalo Jara (West Bromwich Albion, England), Waldo Ponce (Universidad Católica, Chile), Arturo Vidal (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany)

Midfielders: Charles Aranguiz (Colo Colo, Chile), Carlos Carmona (Reggina, Italy), Marco Estrada (Universidad de Chile), Matias Fernandez (Sporting CP, Portugal), Gonzalo Fierro (Flamengo, Brazil), Jose Pedro Fuenzalida (Colo Colo, Chile), Manuel Iturra (Universidad de Chile), Rodrigo Millar (Colo Colo, Chile), Pedro Morales (Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia), Rodrigo Tello (Besiktas, Turkey), Jorge Valdivia (Al-Ain, UAE), Jaime Valdes (Atalanta, Italy)

Forwards: Jean Beausejour (America, Mexico), Mark Gonzalez (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Hector Mancilla (Toluca, Mexico), Fabian Orellana (Xerez, Spain), Esteban Paredes (Colo Colo, Chile), Alexis Sanchez (Udinese, Italy), Humberto Suazo (Real Zaragoza, Spain)

This squad needs to be reduced to 23 by the FIFA deadline of June 1st

Copa Kia do Brasil Semi Final 1st Legs

Vitória 0-1 Atlético Goianiense
Grêmio 4-3 Santos

Atlético-GO took a valuable semi final lead in the Copa Kia do Brasil after a stunning away victory at Vitória. The newly promoted side are on the brink of a final appearance after a Rodrigo Tiuí goal ten minutes after half time gave them victory. Meanwhile the other semi final could go any way after a goal fest at the Olímpico Monumental. Santos are favourites to win this competition and started strongly as two goals from André put them in control in the opening twenty minutes against Grêmio. The hosts though stunned the visitors with four goals inside 17 second half minutes. Borges reduced the defecit on 58 minutes and his second six minutes later levelled matters. Jonas then put Grêmio ahead midway through the second half and when Borges completed his hat trick with fifteen minutes to go the Tricolor were in the driving seat. Santos though pressed for a way back into the game and pulled a goal back seven minutes from time through Robinho to make an interesting return next week at the Vila Belmiro.

The return legs take place next Wednesday night. We suspect both games will be available live and online through various online betting sites. CONMEBalls recommends

Maradona: marbles missing

Argentina coach Diego Maradona seems to have taken leave of his senses as he names a provisional 30 man squad for the FIFA World Cup. The big news is the exclusion of Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti from Internazionale and also left out are Gabriel Milito of FC Barcelona and CF Real Madrid's Fernando Gago. Also omitted are recently named French player of the year Lisandro Lopez, Ever Banega and Lucho Gonzalez. Lucas Barrios, the Dortmund striker, has reacted to continued non-selection by securing a Paraguayan passport and a call-up to Gerardo Martino's squad instead.

Five English based players make the squad, Maxi Rodriguez and Javier Mascherano of Liverpool, the Newcastle Untied pair of Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez and Carlos Tévez of Manchester City. 37-year old Martin Palermo of Boca Juniors is included in a squad which includes SEVEN forwards. Maradona expects to give Lionel Messi the freedom to roam the pitch like he does for his club side. Trouble there is that Maradona doesn't have Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta to pull the strings and the one player capable, Juan Roman Riquelme, simply doesn't get on with the boss or his favourite player, Palermo.

Just as intriguing as the players absent from the list are some of those selected. In using almost 90 players during qualification, Maradona singularly failed to pick Walter Samuel. And now he's in the squad. It's mystifying.

The squad in full:

Argentina squad: Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (AZ, Netherlands), Mariano Andujar (Catania, Italy), Diego Pozo (Colón, Argentina)

Defenders: Nicolas Burdisso (Internazionale, Italy), Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich, Germany), Walter Samuel (Internazionale, Italy), Gabriel Heinze (Olympique Marseille, France), Nicolas Otamendi (Vélez Sársfield, Argentina), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United, England), Juan Manuel Insaurralde (Newell's Old Boys, Argentina), Clemente Rodriguez (Estudiantes, Argentina), Ariel Garce (Colón, Argentina)

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool, England), Sebastian Blanco (Lanús, Argentina), Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes, Argentina), Jesus Datolo (Olympiacos, Greece), Jose Sosa (Estudiantes, Argentina), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Liverpool, England), Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina, Italy), Juan Mercier (Argentinos Juniors, Argentina), Angel Di Maria (Benfica, Portugal), Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United, England), Javier Pastore (Palermo, Italy)

Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Atlético Madrid, Spain), Diego Milito (Internazionale. Italy), Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors, Argentina), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City, England), Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid, Spain), Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Spain), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli, Italy).

This squad needs to be reduced to 23 players by 1st June.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Paraguay Name 30 Man Squad

Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino has named a 30 man squad ahead of the tournament in South Africa. Argentina born Lucas Barrios has been included in the squad thanks to his Paraguayan mother. Dortmund clubmate Nelson Valdez also makes the cut. England connections are provided by Paulo da Silva of Sunerland and Roque Santa of Manchester City. Unfortunately Salvador Cabañas hasn't made the squad after being shot in Mexico City last January.

Goalkeepers: Justo Villar (Valladolid, Spain), Aldo Bobadilla (Independiente Medellín, Colombia), Diego Barreto (Cerro Porteño, Paraguay).

Defenders: Claudio Morel Rodriguez (Boca Juniors, Argentina), Denis Caniza (Leon, Mexico), Paulo da Silva (Sunderland, England), Dario Veron (Pumas UNAM/Mexico), Julio Cesar Caceres (Atlético Mineiro, Brazil), Julio Manzur (Tigres, Argentina), Carlos Bonet (Olimpia, Paraguay), Aureliano Torres (San Lorenzo, Argentina), Marcos Caceres (Racing, Argentina), Antolin Alcaraz (FC Bruges/Belgium).

Midfielders: Edgar Barreto (Atalanta, Italy), Cristian Riveros (Cruz Azul, Mexico), Osvaldo Martinez (Monterrey, Mexico), Victor Caceres (Libertad, Paraguay), Enrique Vera (LDU Quito, Ecuador), Jonathan Santana (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany), Sergio Aquino (Libertad, Paraguay), Eduardo Ledesma (Lanús, Argentina), Nestor Ortigoza (Argentinos Juniors, Argentina), Marcelo Estigarribia (Newell's Old Boys, Argentina).

Forwards: Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City, England), Nelson Haedo Valdez (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Oscar Cardozo (Benfica, Portugal), Edgar Benitez (Toluca, Mexico), Lucas Barrios (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Rodolfo Gamarra (Libertad, Paraguay), Jorge Achucarro (Newell's Old Boys, Argentina).

This leaves Argentina and Chile left from CONMEBOL to name squads.

Brazil and Uruguay Name Squads

Dunga has named the 23 players he hopes will bring the FIFA World cup back to Brazil this summer. The big omissions are Flamengo's Adriano and Ronaldinho of AC Milan.

The late season form of goalkeeper Heurehlo Gomes sees him being the only English based player in the 23. Dunga will also name 7 players who will train-on in case of any injuries to the original 23. Others in the squad with English connections are Kleberson of Flamengo who had a spell at Manchester United, the former Arsenal pair of Gilberto Silva and Julio Baptista. Former Manchester City stars Elano and Robinho have been named and the latter is only one of three Brazil based players alongside Kleberson and Gilberto of Cruzeiro.

In an English newspaper this morning, Adriano was named in one of the 100 players to watch by Terry Venables, the former England Head Coach. Obviously he isn't in the loop with what is happening as Adriano's problems have been well documented, hence his rightful exclusion from the squad.

The squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Internazionale, Italy), Doni (AS Roma, Italy), Gomes (Tottenham Hotspur, England)

Defenders: Maicon (Inter Milan, Italy), Daniel Alves (Barcelona, Spain), Michel Bastos (Olympique Lyon, France), Gilberto (Cruzeiro, Brazil), Lucio (Internazionale, Italy), Juan (AS Roma, Italy), Luisao (Benfica, Portugal), Thiago Silva (AC Milan, Italy)

Midfielders: Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos, Greece), Felipe Melo (Fiorentina, Italy), Ramires (Benfica, Portugal), Elano (Galatasaray, Turkey), Kaka (Real Madrid, Spain), Julio Baptista (Roma, Italy), Kleberson (Flamengo, Brazil), Josue (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany).

Forwards: Robinho (Santos, Brazil), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla, Spain), Nilmar (Villarreal, Spain), Grafite (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany).

Meanwhile Uruguay head coach Oscar Washington Tabarez has named an initial 26 man squad for their campaign in South Africa. Only Diego Forlan of Villareal has any English connections, he is a former player of Manchester United. Only four home based players have been selected in the squad; goalkeeper Martin Silva from Defensor Sporting and midfielders Egidio Arevalo-Rios of Penarol, Nacional's Alvaro Gonzalez and Jorge Rodriguez of River Plate (URU). Botaogo forward Sebastian "El Loco" Abreu's early promising form has been rewarded with a place. The final 23 players must be submitted to FIFA by June 1.

The squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Lazio, Italy), Juan-Guillermo Castillo (Deportivo Cali, Colombia), Martin Silva (Defensor Sporting)

Defenders: Diego Lugano (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Diego Godin (Villarreal, Spain), Andres Scotti (Colo Colo, Chile), Jorge Fucile (Porto, Portugal), Martin Caceres (Juventus, Italy), Mauricio Victorino (Universidad de Chile, Chile), Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica, Portugal)

Midfielders: Walter Gargano (Napoli, Italy), Egidio Arevalo-Rios (Penarol, Uruguay), Sebastian Eguren (AIK Stockholm, Sweden), Diego Perez (Monaco, France), Alvaro Pereira (Porto, Portugal), Alvaro Fernandez (Universidad de Chile, Chile), Jorge Rodriguez (River Plate, Uruguay), Alvaro Gonzalez (Nacional, Uruguay), Ignacio Gonzalez (Valencia, Spain), Nicolas Lodeiro (Ajax, Netherlands)

Forwards: Sebastian Fernandez (Banfield, Argentina), Luis Suarez (Ajax, Netherlands), Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Sebastian Abreu (Botafogo, Brazil), Edinson Cavani (Palermo, Italy), Jorge Martinez (Catania, Italy).

Clausura goalfest on penultimate weekend

Vélez Sarsfield 4-1 Chacarita Juniors
Newell's Old Boys 6-0 Gimnasia La Plata
Racing Club 0-3 River Plate
Argentinos Juniors 4-3 Independiente
Estudiantes 0-0 Rosario Central
Tigre 1-2 Banfield
Boca Juniors 1-2 Huracán
Atlético Tucumán 1-1 Arsenal
Lanús 3-2 San Lorenzo
Godoy Cruz 3-0 Colón

On a weekend where 37 goals went in across the ten games in the Clausura, leaders Estudiantes could only muster a goalless draw in their game against Rosario Central. Indeed, they may feel it was a decent result as Juan Sebastian Veron was sent off on the half-hour. He is a hugely important player for the club and they do sometimes struggle for a plan B when he's not there. That slip allowed Argentinos Juniors to go top as they came from 3-1 down to beat Independiente in a thriller. Nicolas Pavlovich had put Argentinos ahead on 26 minutes, but Los Diablos Rojos were level inside 90 seconds, Leonel Nunez on target. Dario Gandín put Independiente ahead three minutes after the restart and Nunez's second made it 3-1 with twenty minutes to go. Pavlovich pulled one back, but heading into the last minute, it was still Independiente's game, but Juan Sabia levelled in the last minute and Matias Caruzzo won it with a dramatic late strike, in the fourth minute of stoppages. The title is between Argentinos and Estudiantes, separated by a point at the top of the table.

There was a hat-trick for Rogerio Funes as River Plate beat Racing 3-0. All three came before the game was half an hour old, the first inside two minutes, and that was that except for the late dismissal of Matias Almeyda which Racing couldn't make anything of. Rodrigo Lopez went one better, getting all four of Vélez Sarsfield's goals against Chacarita. He had two inside the first quarter hour before Facundo Parra pulled one back, but Lopez added a third before half-time and wrapped up with his fourth nine minutes from time. Newell's put six away past Gimnasia who finished the game with nine men. Joaquin Boghossian began the rout with a 13th minute penalty and Mauro Fórmica added a second within a minute. Lucas Bernardi made it three on the half hour and Gimnasia would end the first half with ten men, Alvaro Ormeno sent off with a minute to go. Juan Insaurralde and a second from Fórmica made it five before Ruben Maldonado picked up his second yellow leaving Gimnasia with nine players and Rolando Schiavi slammed home the penalty.

Tucumán still bring up the rear after their ninth draw of the season, but are only a point behind Chacarita. Juan Pereyra grabbed an equaliser after Luciano Leguizamo had put Arsenal in front in the first half. San Lorenzo's miserable season continues after defeat to Lanús. They were ahead in the first half through Bernardo Romero, but three in twenty second half minutes turned the game towards Lanús. Gonzalo Castillejos, Santiago Salcedo and Maxi Velazquez were all on target and Alejandro Gomez's late strike was scant consolation for The Saints. Boca Juniors are still struggling after another defeat. Adrian Peralta put Huracán ahead on the stroke of half-time, but Gabriel Paletta equalised five minutes into the second half. Boca were undone by the dismissal of Juan Krupoviesa on the hour and Gaston Machin made the ten men pay. The long running feud between Martín Palermo and Juan Riquelme looks to have been resolved with the latter leaving the club at the end of the season. Whether that will remove dressing room conflict or see many of the Riquelme faction follow him out of the club remains to be seen. Turbulent times at the Bombonera.

Elsewhere, Banfield beat Tigre, Ruben Ramirez and Roberto Battion on target before a late, late consolation from Bryan Rodriguez and Godoy Cruz consoldiated in third place with a comfortable win over Colón with Federico Higuain, Jairo Castillo and Sebastian Rodriguez all on target after a goalless first half.

The final round of fixtures stack up like this:
Chacarita Juniors v Racing Club
River Plate v Tigre
Banfield v Boca Juniors
Huracán v Argentinos Juniors
Independiente v Lanús
San Lorenzo v Newell's Old Boys
Gimnasia La Plata v Atlético Tucumán
Arsenal v Godoy Cruz
Colón v Estudiantes
Rosario Central v Vélez Sarsfield

If Argentinos win, they're champions. Estudiantes need at least a draw. That will be good enough if Argentinos lose, such is Estudiantes' superiority on goal difference, but really, they need to better Argentinos's result to prevail. It would be the first title in 25 years should Argentinos do it while Estudiantes were Apertura champions as recently as 2006, but they may struggle if Veron gets a ban. Tucumán could avoid the wooden spoon with a draw if Chacarita lose by three clear goals.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 1

Botafogo 3-3 Santos
Atlético Goianiense 0-0 Grêmio
Palmeiras 1-0 Vitória
Flamengo 1-1 São Paulo
Atlético Miniero 2-1 Vasco da Gama
Internacional 1-2 Cruzeiro
Corinthians 2-1 Atlético Paranaense
Ceará 1-0 Fluminense
Guarani 1-0 Goiás
Avaí 6-1 Prudente

Goals aplenty at the Engenhão at the Carioca and Paulista champions served up a six goal thriller to open up season. O Fogão were ahead through Antônio Carlos with only eight minutes on the clock but Neymar levelled on the half hour and three minutes later André put Santos into the lead but a second from Antônio Carlos right on half time levelled matters. Zé Eduardo restored the Santos lead with 10 minutes to go but German Herrera grabbed a deserved equaliser two minutes from time as Santos player Alex Sandro saw red in injury time. Atlético-GO gained a point on their top flight bow against a Grêmio side which needs to cure it's travel sickness problem if they are to have any chance of doing anything in the competition this year. Despite the bagging we gave them in the preview Palmeiras opened with a win against Vitória at the Palestra Itália. After Wallace was sent off for Vitória on the hour, Lincoln grabbed a winner for the O Verdão 12 minutes from time.

The clash of the previous two champions at the Maracanã failed to live up to expectations as a poor game saw Flamengo and São Paulo share the points. After Rogerio Céni had hit the post with a free kick, Washington put São Paulo ahead just before half time. Flamengo though started the second half strongly and grabbed a leveller five minutes after half time through Dênis Marques. It seemed both sides had one eye on midweek Libertadores committmemtnts. Vasco's return to the big time ended in disappointment after a slow start saw them go down to Atlético-MG in Belo Horizonte. Ricardinho put Atlético-MG ahead after only 9 minutes and Muriqui doubled the lead ten minutes later. Elton pulled a goal back ten minutes into the second half but Vasco couldn't find an equalizer. In another clash of Libertadores contenders Cruzeiro stunned the Beira-Rio to grab a vital win against Internacional. Kléber put Cruzeiro ahead from the spot with only four minutes on the clock but Taison levelled three minutes later. A second from Kléber nine minutes before half time turned out to be the winner.

Corinthians had to come from behind to defeat 9-man Atlético-PR. Despite having Paulo Baier sent off after 41 minutes Atlético-PR went ahead on the stroke of half time through Wagner Diniz. Souza levelled for Corinthians on the hour before Neto became the second Atlético-PR player to be sent off. The nine men couldn't hang on and Ronaldo won the game for Corinthians seven mintues from time. The big winners of the weekend were Avaí who thumped 9-man Prudente 6-1 in Florinapólis. Emerson put Avaí ahead with ten minutes gone but Willian José levelled with 26 minutes gone. Paulão was the first to see red nine minutes before half time and a second from Emerson edged Avaí ahead just before half time. There was still enough time left in the half for Carlos Eduardo to get his marching orders and with a 2 man second half advantage Avaí ran riot. Roberto made it three in the 53nd minute before a doubled for Caio further extended the lead. Emerson completed his hat-trick in the last minute to put Avaí top of the table in these early days.

Two of the promoted clubs both opened up life in the top flight with victories. Ceará opened up their campaign with a 1-0 victory over Fluminense in a game that finished ten a side. Flu's Cássio was the first to see red after 33 mintues and four minutes later the vital goal came from a disputed Geraldo penalty. Ceará held on to their victory with the only blot the dismissal of Heleno in injury time. Meanwhile Guarani also gained an opening day win at home to Goiás. The only goal came twenty minutes from time from Mazola. It made it a decent opening day for the majority of the promoted clubs.

This is how the line up for Week 2 which takes place next weekend after midweek Libertadores and Copa do Brasil commitments.

Fluminense x Atlético Goianiense
Prudente x Atlético Miniero
Vitória x Flamengo
São Paulo x Botafogo
Grêmio x Corinthians
Goiás x Internacional
Santos x Ceará
Vasco da Gama x Palmeiras
Cruzeiro x Avaí
Atlético Paranaense x Guarani

Friday, 7 May 2010

Copa Libertadores Round of 16 2nd Legs

Vélez Sársfield 2-0 Guadalajara
Guadalajara advances on goal difference
São Paulo 0-0 Universitario
São Paulo advances 3-1 on penalty competition
Estudiantes 3-1 San Luis
Estudiantes advances 6-0 on points
Corinthians 2-1 Flamengo
Flamengo advances on away goals
Nacional 0-3 Cruzeiro
Cruzeiro advances 6-0 on points
Internacional 2-0 Banfield
Internacional advances on away goals
Universidad de Chile 2-2 Alianza Lima
Universidad de Chile advances 4-1 on points
Libertad 2-1 Once Caldas
Libertad advances 4-1 on points

Vélez Sársfield were eliminated after their brave quest to overturn a three goal defecit against Guadalajara failed. They got off to the perfect start when Santiago Silva put them ahead after only three minutes, but resolute defending from the Mexicans frustrated Vélez. They finally broke down Guadalajara a minute from time when Rolando Zarate scored but Guadalajara held on to qualify for the last eight. São Paulo scraped into the last eight after defeating Universitario on penalties after another goalless draw between the two side. Rogério Céni was the São Paulo hero, saving two penalties despite missing his own spot kick and it was Dagoberto who stepped up to score the winning penalty.

Holders Estudiantes qualified after a 3-1 victory over Mexicans San Luis in La Plata. Leandro González put the holders ahead with only four minutes on the clock but three minutes later they were stunned when Diego De La Torre grabbed the equaliser and an away goal. Estudiantes ensured a comfortable progression as Leandro Benítez restored the advantage 6 minutes in the second half an his second four minutes later wrapped things up. Corinthians dream of winning the Libertadores in their Centenary Year is no more after they were knocked out by Flamengo at the Pacembeu. It was all going well for Corinthians as an own goal from David and a second from boyhood Fla fan Ronaldo put them in the driving seat with a two goal half time lead. Flamengo though got the crucial strike four minutes into the second half when Wágner Love pounced and that away goal was enough to put the Champions of Brazil into the last eight.

Last years runner up Cruzeiro comfortably overcame what was a potentially tricky trip to Montevideo with a 3-0 victory on Nacional. Thiago Ribiero put Cruzeiro ahead on the half hour and Diego Renan doubled the lead three mintues after the break. Then came a flurry of red cards, Cruzeiro were reduced to 10 when Leonardo Silva was dismissed on 53 mintues but he was followed by Sebastian Coates a minute later and Gustavo Varela with twenty minutes to go as the home side were reduced to nine. Gilberto put the icing on the Cruzeiro cake with a third 9 minutes from time. Internacional got the required win to take them into the last eight but the away goal scored last week came to their rescue. Alecsandro put Inter ahead four minutes before half time and Walter put them ahead in the tie 13 mintues into the second half. Banfield's James Rodriguez saw red eight minutes from time.

A dramatic finish in Santiago as Universidad de Chile squeezed into the last eight. Leading from the first leg last week the Chileans fell behind to Alianza Lima when Jose Fernández controversially levelled the tie with 24 minutes on the clock. The Peruvians held onto the lead for almost 40 minutes but Eduardo Vargas put Universidad ahead just after the hour. Alianza kept pressing and with three minutes to go they went ahead in the tie on away goals after a second from Fernández but that wasn't the end of it and Universidad stole the tie two minutes into injury time when Felipe Seymour grabbed a goal to level it on the night and send Universidad through. There was also late drama in Asunción as Libertad came from behind to make it into the last eight. After a goalless draw last week Once Caldas grabbed the initiative, and a precious away goal, ten minutes into the second half from Dayro Moreno. Libertad were left needing to score twice and they got a lifeline when Roberto Gamarra converted from the spot with 17 minutes left. It looked like the Colombian side were heading for the last eight but with a minute to go Gamarra got his second of the night, Libertad were into the last eight but there were some unsavoury scenes post game.

The last eight ties are imminent, the first legs take place the week beginning May 10 and the return legs the week beginning May 17. Here is how they line up.

Flamengo v Universidad de Chile
Guadalajara v Libertad
Internacional v Estudiantes
Cruzeiro v São Paulo

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 1 Preview

Botafogo x Santos
Atlético-GO x Grêmio
Palmeiras x Vitória
Flamengo x São Paulo
Atlético-MG x Vasco da Gama
Internacional x Cruzeiro
Corinthians x Atlético-PR
Ceará x Fluminense
Guarani x Goiás
Avaí x Prudente

The national championship resumes in Brazil at the weekend as Flamengo look to retain the title they won in dramatic circumstances in 2009. It's been a traumatic opening to the year for the Vultures, unsuccessful in the Carioca and scraping into the last 16 of the Libertadores has seen coach Andrade pay with his job. They welcome São Paulo to the Maracanã in what is the stand out opening fixture of the season as the previous two champions clash. Palmeiras somehow managed to throw the league away last year and their form in the Paulista doesn't excite us for their chances this season. An exit from the Copa do Brasil in midweek on penalties hasn't helped and they start at home to Vitória who come into the game on the back of winning their State title last weekend and qualifying for the semi finals of the Copa do Brasil themselves. Another big clash actually opens the season on Saturday as the Carioca and Paulista champions clash at the Engenhão. Botafogo will be rested up after winning the Carioca title but Santos, who made the semi finals of the Copa do Brasil defeating Atlético-MG, after two successive defeats will be game ready and that may just be enough for the visitors.

The newly promoted sides all face tough tasks, Copa do Brasil semi-finalists Atlético-GO entertain Grêmio in another clash of State Champions. Have to favour the visitors in this one who will be more game sharp after back to back clashes with Internacional. Série B Champions Vasco da Gama have a tough ask as they go to the Minerão to face an Atlético-MG side who were unlucky to miss out on Libertadores football last year. The big bonus for Atlético is retaining the services of Diego Tardelli, last seasons joint top scorer in the competition. Both teams exited the Copa do Brasil in midweek. Ceará welcome Fluminense to the Castelão and new Flu coach Mauricy Ramalho has a tough task ahead of him with another side who performed poorly in the state competition and exited the Copa do Brasil in midweek. The other promoted side Guarani entertains a Goiás side which were comfortable in mid table last year. Goiás are a tough side to beat and this will be no easy introduction for a Guarani team who finished runners up to Vasco last year.

The third big game of the weekend sees Libertadores round of 16 qualifiers Internacional and Cruzeiro go head to head at the Beira-Rio. Both teams had difficult midweek games and but Cruzeiro came through their trip to Montevideo with ease but the travelling may tip things in the balance of Inter. Avaí exceeded expectations last year with a sixth place finish and they will look to build on the when they entertain Prudente. Known as Barueri last year, Prudente also exceeded expectations as they finished in 11th. It's a big year for both clubs as they look to avoid second season syndrome. Finally Corinthians, in their centenery year, entertain Atlético-PR. Well, I say entertain but the club will start this season under a ground ban that was imposed by the CBF after an incident towards the end of last season in a game involving Flamengo. A midweek Libertadores exit at the hands of Flamengo means winning the title is now Corinthians main priority. Atlético-PR were involved in the relegation scrap for most of last year and must improve if they aren't going to be dragged into it again this year.

Copa Kia do Brasil Quarter Final 2nd Legs

Vasco da Gama 3-1 Vitória
Agg 3-3 Vitória advances on away goals
Santos 3-1 Atlético Miniero
Santos advances 5-4 on aggregate
Atlético Goianiense 1-0 Palmeiras
Agg 1-1 Atlético-GO advances 2-1 on penalties
Grêmio 2-0 Fluminense
Grêmio advances 5-2 on aggregate

Vasco's brave attempt to overcome a two goal defecit was denied as Vitória qualified for the semi finals on away goals despite a 3-1 defeat at the São Januário. Vasco halved the aggregate lead when Magno put them ahead after 12 mintues but the crucial goal came after 27 minutes when Julian Viáfara converted from the penalty spot. Vasco were left needing to win by three clear goals and Ramon got a second for Vasco just short of the hour. When Carlos Alberto levelled the tie on aggregate from the spot with 12 minutes to go you wondered if the comeback was on but Vitória held on to qualify for the semi-final. Santos overturned a single goal defecit to progress after a 3-1 win over Atlético-MG at the Vila Belmiro. André levelled the tie on aggregate after 17 minutes and Neymar edged Santos two ahead a minute before half time. Atlético-MG immediately replied through Corrêa to level the tie but they still needed to score again. Wesley restored the two goal advantage for Santos four minutes after the break and it was enough to see them home.

The year for Palmeiras just goes from bad to worse after they were eliminated by Atlético-GO on penalties after losing the game 1-0 in regulation. The only goal came twenty minutes from time from Marcão and with the tie level it went to a penalty competition. Atlético-GO held their nerve to win the penalty competition 2-1 and progress to a semi final appearance. Fluminense were already facing an uphill task after defeat in the first leg last week. Going to Fortress Grêmio was never going to be an easy task and it too much for Flu. Hugo put Grêmio ahead on the hour and Jonas wrapped things up six minutes later.

The semi-final draw was made on Thursday afternoon, ties will be played on 12th and 19th May

Atlético Goianiense x Vitória
Grêmio x Santos

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

2010 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Team Guide

A look at the 20 clubs who make up Série A this season in Brazil. The League starts this weekend with 3 games on Saturday and the rest of the week completed on Sunday. This season some teams will be forced to transfer games to secondary stadiums as work begins in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Also there will be a mid-season break while the FIFA World Cup takes place in South Africa.

Atlético Goianiense

Stadium: Estádio Serra Dourada (54,000)
State: Goiânia
Champions: None. Won Série C in 1990, 2008
State Champions: 11 times (Last 2010)
Manager: Geninho
Last season: 4th in Série B
Key Man: Rodrigo Tiuí
CONMEBalls Prediction: 18th

Atlético Mineiro

Stadium: Mineirão (75,783)
State: Minas Gerais
Champions: 1971
State Champions: 40 times (last 2010)
Copa CONMEBOL: 1992, 1997
Manager: Vanderlei Luxemburgo
Last season: 7th (Qualified for Copa Sudamericana)
Key Man: Diego Tardelli
CONMEBalls Prediction: 7th

Atlético Paranaense

Stadium: Arena da Baixada (28,272)
State: Paraná
Champions: 2001
State Champions: 21 times (last 2005)
Caretaker Manager: Leandro Niehues
Last Season: 14th
Key Man: Javier Toledo
CONMEBalls Prediction: 16th


Stadium: Ressacada (19,000)
State: Santa Catarina
Champions: None. Won Série C in 1998
State Champions: 14 times (last in 2010)
Manager: Péricles Chamusca
Last Season: 6th (Qualified for Copa Sudamericana)
Key Man: Vandinho
CONMEBalls Prediction: 12th


Stadium: Engenhão (45,000)
State: Rio de Janeiro
Champions: 1995
State Champions: 19 times (last 2010)
Copa CONMEBOL: 2003
Manager: Joel Santana
Last Season: 15th
Key Man: Sebastian "El Loco" Abreu
CONMEBalls Prediction: 11th


Stadium: Castelão (60,326)
State: Ceará
Champions: None
State Champions: 39 times (last time 2006)
Manager: PC Gusmão
Last season: 3rd in Série B
Key Man: Geraldo
CONMEBalls Prediction: 19th


Stadium: Pacaembu (37,180)
State: São Paulo
Champions: 1990, 1998, 1999, 2005
State Champions: 25 times (last time 2003)
FIFA World Club Champions: 2000
Copa do Brasil: 1995, 2002, 2009
Manager: Mano Menezes
Last Season: 10th (Qualified for Copa Libertadores via Copa do Brasil)
Key Man: Ronaldo
CONMEBalls Prediction: 8th


Stadium: Mineirão (75,783)
State: Minas Gerais
Champions: 2003
State Champions: 36 times (last 2009)
Copa do Brasil: 4 times (last 2003)
Copa Libertadores: 1976, 1997
Manager: Adílson Batista
Last Season: 4th (Qualified for Copa Libertadores)
Key Man: Thiago Ribiero
CONMEBalls Prediction: 4th


Stadium: Maracanã (95,000)
State: Rio de Janeiro
Champions: 1980, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1992, 2009
State Champions: 31 times (last 2009)
Copa do Brasil: 2006
Copa Libertadores: 1981
Caretaker Head Coach: Rogério Lourenço
Last season: Champions (Qualified for Copa Libertadores)
Key Man: Wagner Love
CONMEBalls Prediction: 5th


Stadium: Maracanã (95,000)
State: Rio de Janeiro
Champions: 2004
State Champions: 30 times (last in 2005)
Copa do Brasil: 2007
Manager: Muricy Ramalho
Last Season: 16th
Key Man: Dario Conca
CONMEBalls Prediction: 13th


Stadium: Serra Dourada (54,048)
State: Goiás
Champions: None ( Won Série B in 1999)
State Champions: 21 times (last 2006)
Manager: Emerson Leão
Last Season: 9th (Qualified for Copa Sudamericana)
Key Man: Angel Rojas
CONMEBalls Prediction: 10th


Stadium: Olímpico Monumental (51,082)
State: Rio Grande do Sul
Champions: 1981, 1996
State Champions: 36 times (Last 2010)
Copa Libertadores: 1983, 1995
Copa do Brasil: 1989, 1994, 1997, 2001
Manager: Silas
Last Season: 8th (Qualified for Copa Sudamericana)
Key Man: Jonas
CONMEBalls Prediction: 6th


Stadium: Estádio Brinco de Ouro da Princesa,
State: São Paulo
Champions: 1978
Manager: Vágner Mancini
Last season: 2nd in Série B
Key Man: Ricardo Xavier
CONMEBalls Prediction: 20th


Stadium: Beira-Rio (56,000)
State: Rio Grande do Sul
Champions: 1975, 1976, 1979
State Champions: 39 times (Last in 2009)
Copa Libertadores: 2006
FIFA Club World Cup: 2006
Copa Sudamericana: 2008
Copa do Brasil: 1992
Manager: Jorge Fossati
Last Season: 2nd (Qualified for Copa Libertadores)
Key Man: Pablo Guiñazú
CONMEBalls Prediction: 3rd


Stadium: Palestra Itália (32,436)
State: São Paulo
Champions: 1972, 1973, 1993, 1994
State Champions: 22 times (Last in 2008)
Copa Libertadores: 1999
Copa do Brasil: 1998
Manager: Antonio Carlos Zago
Last Season: 5th (Qualified for Copa Sudamericana)
Key Man: Cleiton Xavier
CONMEBalls Prediction: 17th


Stadium: Prudentão (44,414)
State: São Paulo
Champions: None
State Champions: None (Won Campeonato Paulista Série A2 in 2006)
Head Coaches: Toninho Cecílio
Last Season: 11th (Qualified for Copa Sudamericana)
Key Man: Wesley Morais
CONMEBalls Prediction: 14th


Stadium: Estádio Vila Belmiro (20,120)
State: São Paulo
Champions: 2002, 2004
State Champions: 18 times (last in 2010)
Copa Libertadores: 1962, 1963
Copa CONMEBOL: 1998
Manager: Dorival Júnior
Last Season: 12th (Qualified for Copa Sudamericana)
Key Man: Paulo Henrique Ganso
Prediction: 1st

São Paulo

Stadium: Morumbi (80,000)
State: São Paulo
Champions: 1977, 1986, 1991, 2006, 2007, 2008
State Champions: 21 times (last in 2005)
FIFA World Club Champions: 2005
Copa Libertadores: 1992, 1993, 2005
Copa CONMEBOL: 1994
Manager: Ricardo Gomes
Last Season: 3rd (Qualified for Copa Libertadores)
Key Man: Hernanes
CONMEBalls Prediction: 2nd

Vasco da Gama

Stadium: São Januário (25,000)
State: Rio de Janeiro
Champions: 1974, 1989, 1997, 2000
State Champions: 22 times (Last in 2003)
Copa Libertadores: 1998
Manager: Gaúcho
Last Season: Série B Champions
Key Man: Philippe Coutinho
CONMEBalls Prediction: 15th


Stadium: Estádio Barradão (32,000)
State: Bahia
Champions: None
State Champions: 25 times (last in 2010)
Manager: Ricardo Silva
Last Season: 13th (Qualified for Copa Sudamericana)
Key Man: Ramon Menezes
CONMEBalls Prediction: 9th

Please also check out, friend of the site, Pitaco Do Gringo's Série A Guide as well for more in depth analysis on the teams.

To the best of out knowledge the information in this article was correct at the time of publication.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Estudiantes remain in control

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

Estudiantes remain top of the tree in Argentina after coming from behind to see off ten man Chacarita. Los Funebreros were ahead early on through Omar Zarif, but they were reduced to ten men when Lisandro Lopez was sent off on the half hour. Mauro Boselli equalised with the resultant penalty. Christian Cellay put the leaders ahead moments later and so it remained. Argentinos also came from behind to remain just a point behind thanks to an Ismael Sosa double. Emiliano Alfaro put San Lorenzo in front five before half time, but Sosa turned it round, the second coming a minute from time. San Lorenzo ended with ten men when Damian Martinez was sent off in stoppage time. Those two now have a four-point buffer back to Godoy Cruz who lost ground thanks to Diego Chitzoff's late, late goal which gave Rosario Central a valuable win.

Better news for the traditional giants of the Argentinian game as Boca and River Plate both scored wins. Boca came from behind to beat Independiente who were ahead on the half hour through Ignacio Piatti. Fabian Monzon equalised a couple of minutes later and Martín Palermo sent them into half-time ahead. Pablo Mouche made it three moments before the end, but picked up a second booking for his celebration and was sent off. Leonel Nunez pulled one back in stoppage time, but Boca held on. River also went behind early Ricardo Alvarez putting Vélez ahead inside ten minutes. Paulo Ferrari squared it up on the stroke of half time and the winner came from Diego Buonanotte, back playing after that horrific car crash.

Banfield got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win over Huracán, Maxi Laso with the only goal on the hour. Racing are one of the form sides at the moment and won their fourth straight game away to Tigre. Claudio Bieler put Racing in front, but Tigre were level moments later through Diego Castano. Lucas Aveldano restored the lead just after the half hour mark and that's how it stayed. There were no goals between Gimnasia and Lanús, nor between Colón and Tucumán who hung on for a point despite playing the last twenty minutes a man short, Raul Saavedra seeing red. Newell's beat Arsenal with two first-half goals, Agustin Alayes and Rolando Schiavi on target.

Next week:

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

A win for Estudiantes would heap pressure on Argentinos who would also need to win against fourth-placed Independiente to keep the title challenge alive. Independiente need a win or it's over for them, as it would be for Godoy Cruz. Tucumán need to win to avoid the wooden spoon unless Chacarita also lose, in which case it will go to the final weekend.

Campeonato Paulista A1- Final 2nd Leg

Santos 2-3 Santo André
5-5 on aggregate, Santos wins by virtue of higher league position

Santos claimed an 18th Paulista title despite a 3-2 defeat to Santo André at the Pacembeu. Trailing 3-2 from the first game a week ago Santo André knew that they would have to win the game by two clear goals to be crowned champions and they got a dream start when they were ahead inside a minute. Nunes turning in a cross from Cincinho. Six minutes later Santos were level after great skill from Robinho set up Neymar. It was a frantic opening to the game and Ale headed Santo André into the lead with 20 minutes gone. Again Santos fought back and a second from Neymar levelled matters again on the half hour. Branquinho then put Santo André ahead for a third time two minutes before half time and their dream was still alive. Santo André had 45 minutes to get the goal to give them the title but the closest they got was in the last minute when Branquinho hit the posts and Santos were to celebrate their title despite a defeat.

In the Torneo Interior Botafogo SP claimed the honours after a 1-0 victory over São Caetano gave them the title by virtue of a superior league position. The winner came sixteen minutes from time courtesy of Jonas to level matters on aggregate and give Botafogo SP the result they needed.