Saturday, 18 December 2010

Internacional Claim Third

Internacional 4-2 Seongnam Ilhwa Chumna

Internacional drew what has been a long season to a close with success as they claimed third place in the FIFA Club World Championship with a 4-2 victory over Seongnam Ilhwa Chumna of the Korea Republic in Abu Dhabi earlier on today.

Inter took the lead with fifteen minutes on the clock when Tingha headed home across from Alecsandro to put them ahed. Inter doubled their lead twelve minutes later when Alecsandro turned from creator to scorer. A great pass from Andres D'Alessandro saw Alecsandro fire the ball into the far corner of the goal of Jung S-R. Seven minutes in the second half the game was over as a contest, Rafael Sórbis went bombing down the right hand side and the Argentinian superstar Andres D'Aleesandro fired home from 25 yards out to get the goal of the game.

Alecsandro claimed his second goal of the game nineteen minutes from time, a cross from Nei was missed by the Seongnam Ilhwa Chumna defenders and he was left with a simple tap in at the back post. With the game in the bag, Internacional dropped the pace and Colombian Mauricio Molina grabbed a consolation when a Choi S-K pass split the Inter defence and he slotted past substitute Roberto Abbondanzieri in the Inter goal. Molina also had the last laugh when he picked up a second in injury time when he popped up at the back post to slot home.

FC Internazionale Milano won the tournament with a 3-0 victory over the conquerers of Internacional, TP Mazembe of DR Congo. Two goals in the opening 17 minutes from Goran Pandev and Samuel Eto'o put FC Internazionale Milano in control before Jonathan Biabiany wrapped things up three minutes from time.

There was some good news for Inter as Andres D'Alessandro was awarded the Bronze ball as the third best player in the tournament. Dioko Kaluyituka of TP Mazembe took the Silver Ball and Samuel Eto'o won the Golden Ball as player of the tournament.

We at CONMEBalls are now taking a winter break. We're back the middle of January when the Paulista and Carioca tournaments get underway. See you all then.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Internacional Crash Out

TP Mazembe 2-0 Internacional

Despite careful preparation, sending scouts to TP Mazembe's 1-0 win over Mexican side Pachucha and the general confidence going through the Internacional camp their campaign came to a sudden and abrupt end after a shock 2-0 defeat to the Congolese side at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in the semi final of the FIFA Club World Championship.

The 2006 champions were hoping to follow the tradition of Brazilian clubs generally having the upper hand over African sides in the competition. After the TP Mazembe spent a pre-match prayer together in the goalmouth, Internacional started well. Settling quickly into their rhythm. A Rafael Sobis free kick whizzed over the bar before and two minutes later the TP Mazembe defence somehow survived when Sobis was provided with another chance. The African side played on the counter attack and Renan did well to keep out a shot from Mulota Kabangu before Tingha wasted a great chance by heading over a cross from Nei.

The 5,000 or so Internacional fans who had made the trip were left stunned eight minutes after the break when Mulota Kabangu caught the Inter defence asleep to slot home from close range. Inter went on the attack in order to save their tournament, Mazembe goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba denied both Sobis and Giuliano and with five minutes left TP Mazembe booked their place in Saturday's final when a long ball found Dioko Kaluyituka and he beat Renan to wrap things up.

It's the first time the Libertadores champions have not made the final and it's an unwanted honour for Internacional. The have the pleasure of the 3rd/4th place play-off on Saturday against the loser of the Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma FC and FC Internazionale Milano semi final tomorrow. It's going to be a very disappointing end to what has been a good year for the Porto Alegre based club.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Craque do Brasileirão Awards

The annual awards ceremony took place at Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro on Monday to celebrate the achievements of the 2010 Série A season. The ceremony is run in conjunction by the CBF and media outlet Globo.

Here is who won what

Player of the Year: Darío Conca (Fluminense).

Leading scorer: Jonas (Grêmio with 23 goals

Craque da Galera: Darío Conca (Fluminense)
This award is voted for by a fan vote

Best Newcomer: Bruno César (Corinthians)

Coach of the Year: Muricy Ramalho (Fluminense)

Referee of the Year: Sandro Meira Ricci

Team of the year 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Fábio (Cruzeiro)
Right Back: Mariano (Fluminense)
Centre Back: Dédé (Vasco da Gama)
Centre Back: Miranda (São Paulo)
Left Back: Roberto Carlos (Corinthians)
Midfield: Elias (Corinthians)
Midfield: Jucilei (Corinthians)
Midfield: Walter Montillo (Cruzeiro)
Midfield: Dario Conca (Fluminense)
Forward: Neymar (Santos)
Forward: Jonas (Grêmio)

There was also an award for the best fans of the year and that went to Bahia, the Série B side who will be joining the top flight next year.

Copa Sudamericana Final 2nd Leg

Independiente 3-1 Goiás (after extra time)
Independiente wins 5-4 on penalties

Independiente claimed a place in the 2011 Copa Libertadores after a dramatic fightback in the second leg of the Copa Sudamericana final saw them lift the crown on penalties at the Estadio Libertadores de América.

The Goiás side were probably tired after Independiente fans had an all night vigil at their Buenos Aires hotel in an attempt to give the Brazilian players sleep deprivation. Julián Velázquez put the home side ahead after nineteen minutes when he was first to react after a great save from Harlei in the Goiás goal. After the celebrations had died down, Goiás were level on the night when Rafael Moura headed home a Wellington Saci cross past a despairing Hilario Navarro to level on the night and restore the two goal advantage.

By half time though the tie was level, three minutes after Goiás got their two goal cushion back they were undone by a mistake from defender Ernando. His attempted clearance was blocked by Facundo Parra and the ball looped above Harlei and into the goal. Seven minutes the tie was all square when Rodríguez swung a cross into the box and after Parra and Marcão challenged for the ball, it looped up in the air and the stiker thrust a boot out and beat Harlei.

After the drama and excitement of the first half, the second half was a complete contrast with chances few and far between. With none of the Goiás players featuring at the weekend they pressed for the winner but they couldn't get a goal within the 90 minutes. With away goals not counting, the tie went to extra time and again it was the visitors who pressed. Otacilo Neto had a goal ruled out for offside, Rafael Tolói rattled the woodwork and Marcão was also denied by the assistant referee.

Therefore the final was to be decided from 12 yards, substitute Maxi Velázquez put Independiente ahead before Rafael Tolói levelled. Parra and Éverton Santos were both successful before Gracián put Independiente ahead again. Goiás then suffered a blow when Felipe hit the woodwork to leave them behind the 8 ball. Mattheu then put Independiente two clear in the shoot out before Rafael Moura kept Goiás in the hunt. It then fell to Eduardo Tuzzio and he beat Harlei to give Independiente the crown and that spot in the Libertadores for next year. Also the Argentinians will contest the 2011 Recopa Sudameriacana against Inter and a trip to Japan for the Suruga Bank Championship.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 38

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

Week 38, the last round began on Thursday night in Presidente Prudente as relegated Prudente bid farewell to the top flight after a two year stay with defeat to an Internacional side warming up for a trip to the UAE and the FIFA World Club Championship. Alecsandro put Inter ahead with a quarter of an hour gone and Tingha doubled the lead eight minutes later. Giuliano wrapped things up nine minutes from time as Inter signed off in style before their next game on December 14th.

And onto Sunday, the final round with all nine games kicking off at the same time. The situation at the top of the table was simple, if Fluminense won they would be champions. Any other results could let in Corinthians or Cruzeiro. Grêmio and Botafogo met to decide fourth and Vitória and Atlético-GO fought out the last relegation place. This is how Sunday panned out.......

The opening goal of the round came after six minutes at the Arena de Baixada in Curitiba where veteran Paulo Baier got what turned out to be the only goal of the game for Atlético-PR against Avaí. That would give Atlético-PR a fifth place finish, much better than last years relegation battle. Then the big news came in from the Serra Dourada where relegated Goiás had taken the lead against Corinthians. A mistake from Júlio César in the Corinthians goal allowing Felipe Amorim to give a virtual Goiás reserve team the lead. News quickly spread to the Engenhão and Sete Lagoas where Fluminense and Cruzeiro were in action. The next goal came at the Monumental where Grêmio took the lead in their shoot out with Botafogo for fourth when André Lima fired the hosts ahead. At the Morumbi, São Paulo then established a two goal lead against Atlético-MG, Ilsinho put the hosts ahead with twenty-seven minutes gone and Lucas Silva doubled the lead three minutes later.

In between those goals going in at the Morumbi, Corinthians hauled themselves back into the title race when Dentinho levelled at the Serra Dourada. The news was wasn't greeted well in the Engenhão or in Sete Lagoas but served to fire up the Fluzão. Across town in Rio, Vasco da Gama were the next team on the scoresheet when Dedé put them ahead in the dead game against Ceará at the São Januário. Six minutes before the break Grêmio got themselves in the box seat for fourth when a 23rd of the season for Jonas put them two up against Botafogo. Marlos then put São Paulo three up just before the break as all the other games went into half time scoreless, including the crucial games at the Barradão, the Engenhão and in Sete Lagoas.

So into the last 45 minutes of the season and it was Vasco who struck first a minute after the break. The goal eventually being credited to an own goal by Ceará's Erivélton. At the Morumbi it was turning into a rout as two minutes later Renato Silva made it four for São Paulo as Atlético-MG's recent good run was bought to an end. With fifty two on the clock Grêmio secured fourth place when Douglas made it 3-0 against a Botafogo side that simply hadn't shown up on the night. Then came huge news from Sete Lagoas, where Rivaldo (no, not that one) had put Palmeiras ahead, if Cruzeiro were to do anything now they had to fight back from a goal down. Then came the crucial strike at the Engenhão just after the hour, a cross from the left finding Emerson who fired the ball between his namesakes legs in the Guarani goal to send the Fluzão into raptures. They now believed the title was heading their way. A minute later though, it was all change in Sete Lagoas as Henrique levelled for Cruzeiro to get them back in the title race.

In the big relegation match at the Barradão it was still goalless but Vitória were reduced to ten men with eight minutes left as frustration set in and Gabriel was sent off for a poor tackle. As the season drew to a close, Muricy Ramalho went to defend the lead his side had as Vitória piled on the pressure. Corinthians were still in second, hit the post and still couldn't find a way through the Goiás reserve side. Then came the late drama we expected, and it came in Sete Lagoas where Wallyson grabbed a winner for Cruzeiro. It wasn't enough to give them the title but it snatched them second place from Corinthians and gave them a place in Group 7 in next years Libertadores. Corinthians now, will have to enter into the qualifying stage where they will take on an as yet undetermined team from Colombia. Nothing to report though from the Vila Belmiro where a tame encounter between Santos and Flamengo fnished goalless and without much incident. It also finished goalless at the Barradão, a result with saved Atlético-GO and caused the heartbreak of relegation for Vitória. In contrast the scences at the Engenhão were in stark contrast as the Fluzão celebrated their first top flight title since 1984 and a fourth for coach Muricy Ramalho after his previous treble success with São Paulo.

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

Champions: Fluminense
Copa Libertadores Group Stage: Internacional (as holder), Cruzeiro, Santos (via Copa do Brasil)
Copa Libertadores Qualifiers: Corinthians, Grêmio or Goiás (to be confirmed after Copa Sudamericana final)
Copa Sudamericana: Grêmio (subject to Goiás in Sudamericana), Atlético-PR, Botafogo, São Paulo, Palmeiras, Vasco da Gama, Ceará, Atlético-MG, Flamengo (subject to Grêmio's participation)
Relegated: Vitória, Guarani, Goiás, Prudente

So that's it for the 2010 Campeonato Brasileiro. There is one game left of course and we'll have the second leg of the Sudamericana final on Thursday plus we will be following Internacional in the FIFA World Club Cup. The national competition will return mid-May 2011 but don't forget our coverage of the Campeonato Paulista and Campeonato Carioca begins in the middle of January and our coverage of the 2011 Copa Libertadores also begins the last week of January.

On a personal note I would just like to thank everyone who has been along for the ride this season, especially everyone who follows us on twitter. It's been a pleasure bringing you all the action from one of the most exciting leagues in the world.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Copa Sudamericana Final 1st Leg

Goiás 2-0 Independiente

In the final that no one expected, Goiás will take a commanding lead into the second leg after a first half blitz gave them an advantage over Independiente in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final at the Serra Dourada.

On a poor night weather side the home side to the lead with just 14 minutes on the clock when Rafael Moura slotted the ball past Hilario Navarro after the ball ended up at his feet inside the area. Six minute later, Moura turned provider as the Indepediente defence went walkabout and Otacílio Neto rolled the ball into an empty net. The visitors in all truth never settled in the conditions and Goiás took full advantage. It could have got worse for Independiente when they had Nestor Silvera sent off after an off the ball incident but they hung on the give them a chance in the second leg.

That second leg takes place next week at the Estadio Libertadores de América and kicks off at 0000 GMT on Thursday