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.

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