Wednesday, 29 September 2010

More trouble for River

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

We've pointed out before that River Plate are in trouble. The only way they can be sure of staving off relegation this year is to go and win the thing. They sit fifth on the league ladder despite losing last week and only managing a draw at home to lowly Quilmes this time round, but they're inside the bottom three on the Promedio and that's what counts more at the moment. It didn't have to be this way after the Quilmes game as River were going OK after Mariano Pavone put them in front with a volley from a corner three minutes into the second half. All looked rosy for a 1-0 win, but a free-kick two minutes into stoppage time saw Miguel Caneo get his head on it to deny them all three points. That's Quilmes's third straight draw.

There weren't too many goals around this week, two games finishing without any as Tigre and Racing saw their mid-table clash end 0-0 as did the top of the table battle between Arsenal and Newell's. Three matches saw just one goal put away, most notably for Independiente who sacked Daniel Garnero ahead of their clash with Gimnasia. That's not a bad fixture to go into without a gaffer as Gimnasia are rubbish and Leonel Galeano made sure with a cool finish midway through the first half as the Gimnasia defence allowed him too much space in the box. Champions Argentinos got their first win of the campaign over their predecessors Banfield, Gonzalo Vargas with a 77th minute winner after great work down the left flank. A first-minute strike from Marcos Rojo was enough for Estudiantes to beat Boca who remain resolutely in mid-table. It was a stunning left-footed volley that gave the keeper no chance as it arrowed into the far top corner - a goal worthy of winning any game. Estudiantes had much the better of the rest of the game, but the one goal proved enough. In mid-table, one goal for Lanús saw them beat All Boys. It came in the last minute of the first half as a header from a corner came down off teh bar and was eventually bundled in by Santiago Hoyos.

Two sent off for Olimpo meant they were always up against in their game with Vélez who were already 2-0 up when the first red card came out. Juan Martinez walked through the defence and slotted in for the opener after 22 minutes and only five more had elapsed when Maxi Moralez did likewise down the opposite channel. Cristian Vilanueva was first to go when he picked up his second booking on 57 minutes and Eduardo Casais followed five minutes later. That just left Vélez to wrap it up with a third, Sebastian Dominguez with the freedom of the penalty area to tap in from close range. Two off at Huracán as well, one from each side, as their game with Godoy Cruz ended level. David Ramirez copped a straight red after quarter of an hour, but Godoy Cruz were ahead just before the break as Jairo Castillo initially saw his penalty saved, but he followed in to tap home the rebound. They went into the break level though, the Godoy keeper dropping a routine cross at Gaston Machin's feet and he couldn't believe his luck. Machin turned villain late on as he became the second to be dismissed, picking up a second caution with eight minutes to go. Finally, San Lorenzo drop away from the leaders after a surprise defeat to Colón for whom Damian Diaz got the opener late in the first half, sweeping up after the initial shot was saved. Joaquin Larrivey sealed it in second half stoppage time, a poor defensive header letting him in to tuck it through the keeper's legs and in.

This week, Estudiantes get the chance to go top as they play their delayed round four clash with Gimnasia before the weekend sees us reach the halfway stage as round 9 gets underway. Estudiantes face San Lorenzo on Sunday in a big game - it'll either first or second against third. Vélez, leaders for now, are away at Newell's while River Plate go to reigning Apertura champions Banfield. After breaking their duck at the weekend, Argentinos look good to double up against Gimnasia, but there's only more misery in store for Quilmes as Arsenal pay a visit.

Round 4, Wednesday:
Estudiantes v Gimnasia La Plata

Round 9:
Quilmes v Arsenal
Newell's Old Boys v Vélez Sarsfield
All Boys v Tigre
Godoy Cruz v Independiente
Gimnasia La Plata v Argentinos Juniors
Racing Club v Huracán
Olimpo v Colón
San Lorenzo v Estudiantes
Boca Juniors v Lanús
Banfield v River Plate

Monday, 27 September 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 25

São Paulo 0-3 Goiás
Santos 4-1 Cruzeiro
Flamengo 1-3 Palmeiras
Guarani 1-0 Vasco da Gama
Atlético Goianiense 3-0 Prudente
Botafogo 1-1 Atlético Paranaense
Internacional 3-2 Corinthians
Vitória 1-2 Fluminense Atlético Mineiro 1-2 Grêmio
Avaí 5-0 Ceará

Goiás bounced back from the midweek "Classico" reverse with a resounding first half show in the Morumbi to see off São Paulo. Carlos Alberto put the visitors ahead half way through the first half and Rafael Moura doubled the lead ten minutes before the break. On the stroke of half time a second from Rafael Moura wrapped things up for Goiás to keep their relegation fight alive. Cruzeiro's long unbeaten run came to a resounding end at the Vila Belmiro as Santos put their recent problems behind them with a 4-1 victory. Marcel put Santos ahead nine minutes after the break but Eduardo was sent off ten minutes later. The ten men doubled their lead through Edu Dracena twenty minutes from time. Thiago Ribeiro halved the lead ten minutes from time but two goals in the last two minutes from Alex Sandro and Neymar wrapped things up. Flamengo again find themselves on the edge of the relegation zone as they fell to a 3-1 home defeat to Palmeiras. Kléber set the Big Green on the path to victory with two first half goals, the first of those coming from the spot, in the space of 10 minutes. Dejan Petkovic game Flamengo hope from the spot with ten minutes left but as Flamengo pressed for an equaliser Lincoln wrapped up the points a minute from time.

Guarani picked up their sixth home win of the season after a single goal was enough to see off Vasco da Gama. The goal from courtesy of a Baiano penalty ten minutes from time as the wheels begin to come off Vasco's season. Prudente are odds on to be relegated now after their 3-0 crushing at Atlético-GO. Agenor put the home side into a first half lead before two in two minutes around the hour from Thiago Feltri and Marcão wrapped things up. To make matters worse for Prudente they had Rodrigo Mancha sent off twelve minutes from time. Botafogo had to settle for their third draw on the spin as a late late Atlético-PR goal robbed them of all three points at the Engenhão. Endo put Botafogo ahead with 22 minutes gone but a last minute goal from Joffre Guerrón salvaged a point for the visitors. More late drama in Porto Alegre as Internacional defeated leaders Corinthians. Tingha put the Libertadores winners into the lead on the half hour but Jorge Henrique levelled twenty minutes into the second half. Alecsandro put Inter back ahead thirteen minutes from time but when Bruno César levelled from the spot after Inter's Nei was sent off it looked like the points would be shared. But Inter went straight down to the other end of the field and Andrezinho grabbed a dramatic winner, the action didn't end their as Corinthians has Paulo André sent off in injury time.

Fluminense took advantage of the Corinthians defeat to return to the top of the table after a 2-1 win at Vitória. Dario Conca put Fluminense ahead from the spot ten minutes after the break but Henrique levelled for Vitória nine minutes later. It was only level for two minutes before Rodriguinho for the winner for the Tricolor. It looks like Atlético-MG will be joining Prudente in Série B after their 2-1 home defeat to Grêmio. Two goals in the opening fifteen minutes from the leagues top scorer Jonas and Gabriel put Grêmio in control. Diego Tardelli pulled a goal back on the half hour but to no avail as Grêmio continue to charge up the league table. Finally Avaí broke their 10 game run without a win after thumping Ceará 5-0. Rudnei put Avaí ahead with five minutes on the clock and Davi doubled the lead five minutes later. A brace from Jeférson before half time made it four and a second for Davi on the hour put the icing on the cake.

This is the last midweek round until November as the crazy run of games finally draws to a close and they line up like this

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

Friday, 24 September 2010

Copa Sudamericana Week 8

Second Stage Second Leg

Deportes Tolima 2-0 Oriente Petrolero
3-3 on points, Deportes Tolima advances on goal difference
Cerro Porteño 2-2 Universitario
Universitario advances 4-1 on points
Sport Huancayo 2-0 Defensor Sporting
3-3 on points, Defensor Sporting advances on goal difference
San José 4-0 Atlético Huila
San José advances 4-1 on points
Estudiantes 1-1 Newell's Old Boys
Newell's Old Boys advances 4-1 on points
Emelec 5-0 Universidad San Martin
3-3 on points, Emelec advances on goal difference
Unión San Felipe 1-1 Guaraní
3-3 on points, Unión San Felipe advances 8-7 on kicks from the penalty mark
Caracas FC 0-0 Santa Fe
Santa Fe advances 4-1 on points

Deportes Tolima made it into the last sixteen after overcoming a first leg defeat to beat Oriente Petrolero 2-0. Wilder Medina put Tolima a goal up inside three minutes and Jorge Perlaza doubled the lead on 26 minutes. That proved to be the winner and both teams finished with ten after Danilo Peinado of Oriente and Gustavo Bolívar of Tolima were sent off for fighting on the half hour. Universitario of Bolivia claimed an impressive scalp in last season's defeated semi-finalists Cerro Porteño after it finished all square in Asunción. Roberto Galindo put Universitario ahead half way through the first half but Julio Dos Santos levelled for Cerro Porteño nine minutes after the break. Universitario went ahead again when Damian Cirillo edged them ahead half way through the second half. A Jorge Núñez penalty 17 minutes from time levelled things on the night but Cerro Porteño needed to score twice to progress but were unable to.

After winning the first leg 9-0 last week Defensor Sporting send a virtual reserve team to Peru for the return with Sport Huancayo and it was the home side that restored from pride after a 2-0 victory. An own goal from Damian Suárez put Sport ahead just before half time and they made sure of victory on the night when Hector Ramírez added a second half way through the second half. After a 1-1 draw in Colombia a couple of weeks ago Atlético Huila couldn't cope with the Bolivian altitude as they were easily brushed aside by San José. Aquilano Villalban set San José on their way with five minutes on the clock and Regis De Souza doubled the lead half way through the first hald. Alejandro Bejarano made it three before the break and Anibal Medina wrapped things up for San José with 66 minutes on the clock.

Newell's Old Boys produced the surprise result of the round after they removed Estudiantes from the competition. Trailing from the first game, Estudiantes were first to score when Fedrico Fernández put them ahead with just twelve minutes on the clock. Newell's Old Boys got their crucial goal two minutes before half time, Ivan Borghello with the crucial away goal which left Estudiantes needing to score twice to progress, something they couldn't do. After defeat in Peru last week, Emelec were much too strong on home soil for universidad San Martin. Two goals in the space of five first half minutes from Jamie Ayoví and David Quiroz put Emelec in control and when Fernando Gimenez added a third a minutes after the break the writing was on the wall for Universidad San Martin. A second for Ayoví made it four and Enner Valencia wrapped things up a minutes from time.

The only tie of the round to go the distance as Unión San Felipe of Chile squeezed past Guaraní of Paragay after a penalty shoot out. Fedrico Carballo put Guaraní in the driving seat when he gave them the lead a minute before half time but Migual Gonzalez levelled matters 13 minutes after the break. So with everything level it came down to penalties, each side was successful with their first four penalties but when Eros Pérez missed the fifth for Unión San Felipe, Pedro Chávez was denied to send Guaraní through. Elvis Marecos and Jorge Mendoza both had chances to send Guaraní into the round of 16 but the game was over when Pablo Aurreochea missed after Cristían Magaña had put Unión San Felipe 8-7 up. Finally Santa Fe advanced into the round of 16 after a scoreless draw against Caracas FC saw them progress after their 2-1 victory at home the week before.

So finally after two months of games the round of 16 lines up like this as we welcome title holders LDU Quito into the competition. These ties take place week commencing October 4 and October 18.

LDU Quito v Unión San Felipe
Avaí v Emelec
Santa Fe v Atlético Mineiro
San José v Newell's Old Boys
Deportes Tolima v Banfield
Palmeiras v Universitario
Peñarol v Goiás
Independiente v Defensor Sporting

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 24

São Paulo 2-1 Guarani
Prudente 0-1 Palmeiras
Cruzeiro 2-0 Ceará
Goiás 1-3 Atlético Goianiense
Vasco da Gama 2-2 Botafogo
Santos 2-3 Corinthians
Grêmio 2-2 Flamengo
Atlético Paranaense 1-0 Internacional
Fluminense 5-1 Atlético Mineiro
Vitória 3-0 Avaí

São Paulo made it back to back wins after success at home to fellow Paulista outfit Guarani. Marlos put São Paulo ahead with fourteen minutes on the clock but the Morumbi crowd were stunned when Baiano levelled from the spot just before the break. São Paulo pressed on in the second half and won the game courtesy of a Ricardo Oliveira goal just after the hour. Palmeiras got win seven of the season when a single goal was enough to see off bottom of the table Prudente. The goal came on the hour from Marcio Araujo and that result now leaves Prudente nine points away from safety. After a draw at the Engenhão at the weekend Cruzeiro got back to winning ways by scraping past Ceará at the Mineirão. They left it late though, the opening goal coming only eight minutes from time courtesy of a Walter Montillo penalty and Ernesto Farias wrapped things up in injury time to leave Cruzeiro in the three way title challenge.

In the big derby in Goiânia, the honours went the way of Atlético-GO as they triumphed 3-1 over Goiás. Elias put Atléico-GO ahead with just six minutes on the clock but Amaral levelled for Goiás twenty minutes later. Gilson put Atlético-GO ahead four minutes after the break and Juninho made the game safe six minutes from time to enable Atlético-GO to leapfrog Goiás in the table. The Clássico Alvinegro at the São Januário finished honours even as a Botafogo fight back enabled them to claim a point. Ramon put Vasco ahead with fourteen minutes on the clock and Éder Luís doubled the lead eight minutes before the break. German Herrera pulled one back for Botafogo nine minutes after the break but he was then sent off shortly afterwards. It looked like Vasco were going to claim the points until Botafogo were awarded a penalty as the game went into injury time and it was coolly dispatched by Sebastian Abreu to give the big Uruguayan a five game scoring streak. Flamengo were another team to leave it late as they claimed a point at Grêmio. Douglas put Grêmio ahead with just six minutes on the clock and you had to fear for the Rubro-Negro but Kléberson levelled just after the half hour. A twelfth goal of the season for Jonas put Grêmio back ahead but with three minutes to go the veteran Dejan Petkovic levelled to give Fla a point.

Atlético-PR remain in the chase for a Libertadores spot as they claimed victory over the current holders at the Arena de Baixada. In a game that finished 10 a-side the only goal came just before half time from Paulo Baier. The red cards came in the last minutes of the match, Atlético-PR's Ivan Gonzalez and Daniel Henrique of Inter both seeing red after squaring up to each other. Fluminense got back to winning ways in some style by dispatching a disappointing Atlético-MG 5-1 at the Engenhão. Leandro Euzébio put Flu ahead with eleven minutes on the clock but Danial Carvalho levelled eight minutes later. Carlinhos restored the Flu lead ten minutes before the break and after Atlétcio-MG had Ale sent off just after the hour Gum made it three. A second for Carlinhos 15 minutes from time made it four and to cap a miserable night for Atlético-MG, Diego Souza became their second player to see red. Marquinho then finished things off for Fluminense in injury time. Avaí's problems continue as they were easily brushed aside by Vitoria. José Junior had Vitória ahead inside three minutes but Avaí dug deep and it wasn't until the hour when Elkeson doubled the Vitória lead. Thiago Humberto wrapped things up for Vitória thirteen minutes from time.

Before the Majestoso all the talk was about Santos dismissing coach Dorival Junior in the lead up to the game. After a well publicised spat with Neymar at the Atléico-GO game a couple of weeks ago, Dorival Junior had left the youngster out of the side and fined him. He was left out of the game at the weekend and it was a bit too much for the Santos board, who took the players side. Gave Dorival Junior the boot and restored him to the side for the game against Corinthians. Anyway, on with the game and it was Santos who took an early lead in when Durval put them ahead with two minutes on the clock. Iarley levelled for Corinthians seven minutes later but the man of the moment, Neymar put Santos back ahead just short of the half hour. The teams went in level at half time when Elias levelled three minutes before the break and a Paulo Andre goal twenty minutes from time won it for Corinthians to keep them top of the pile with a game in hand.

Week 25 takes place over the weekend and they line up like this

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

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Games in hand or points on the board?

Gimnasia La Plata 3-0 Huracán
Racing Club 4-0 Lanús
San Lorenzo 3-1 Olimpo
Godoy Cruz 1-2 Tigre
Quilmes 2-2 Argentinos Juniors
Arsenal 0-0 Vélez Sarsfield
All Boys 2-1 Estudiantes
Newell's Old Boys 1-0 River Plate
Banfield 4-0 Independiente
Boca Juniors 3-1 Colón

It's the perennial question: is it better to have points on the board or games in hand? It's also a particularly pertinent one for Estudiantes and their fans. It all looked to be falling into their hands with results elsewhere. Last weekend, however, they were undone by All Boys who have got to grips with top-flight football quickly. Eduardo Dominguez turned in a headed cross under little pressure to put All Boys ahead midway through the first half, but normal service appeared to have been restored on the stroke of half time with Rodrigo Brana's header. Not so, as Sebastian Grazzini broke the offside trap and chipped delightfully over the keeper four minutes after the break. Estudiantes couldn't find another way through and they slip to fourth, two points off the league lead. They still have that game in hand though.

San Lorenzo are the new leaders by one point after coming from behind to see off Olimpo. Quarter of an hour had gone when Los Santos' keeper Damian Albil couldn't hold a long-range free-kick and David Vega was on hand to poke it in. Cristian Tula equalised on the half hour in similar circumstances and it was another free-kick which helped San Lorenzo go ahead, Jonathan Bottinello with the header. Olimpo had Marcelo Mosset sent off shortly after that which all but ended the game and it was wrapped up ten minutes from time as San Lorenzo broke from deep and Diego Rivero was on hand to finish a sweeping move. They overtake Vélez who were held to a goalless draw by Arsenal while Banfield are up to fourth after thumping an increasingly rubbish Independiente. The last Apertura champions were in front in the third minute through Ruben Ramirez, profiting from some awful marking at a free-kick. Sebastian Romero doubled the lead on twenty minutes, reacting quickest to a shot which came back to him off the bar and Ramirez got his second five minutes after the break, this time the ball falling to him via the post. Gabriel Valles was sent off two minutes later, scuppering any chance of an Independiente comeback and the win was duly completed late in the game by Emilio Zelaya who, frankly, took the mick out of the defence. Independiente are bottom.

Argentinos Juniors sit above them on goal difference after getting just their third point of the campaign in a 2-2 draw with Quilmes. After a goalless first half, Juan Sabia put Argentinos ahead three minutes into the second as a corner trickled along the six-yard line and he despatched it comfortably. Charles Aranguiz was sent off for Quilmes shortly before they got level, Diego Torres with a free header as he found himself all on his own in the penalty area. Another sending off preluded the second goal, Santiago Hirsig getting his second caution moments before a pinpoint cross found the diving Juan Morales who headed home. The nine men looked to be holding on for the win, but deep into stoppage time, Nicolas Berardo found the back of the net as the numbers game worked in Argentinos's favour from a corner. Lanús also finished with nine players, but didn't fare quite so well. They were already behind to a Matias Martinez header before Agustin Pelletieri was the first to be dismissed in first half stoppages. Giovanni Moreno had put Racing two up from the penalty spot before Maxi Lugo was the second to be sent off and the floodgates opened. Matias Cahias poached one from close range and Gabriel Hauche pinched one off Moreno's toes in the last minute after the Colombian had danced through a very tired defence.

Just one sending off at the Bombonera where a Martín Palermo hat-trick helped Boca come from behind to beat Colón. Ivan Moreno y Fabianesi helped himself after an awful defensive mix-up late in the first half, but Palermo's dinked finish in first half stoppage time sent the sides in level. The veteran's second came moments after the restart as Colón failed to pick him up at a free-kick and the game was up for the visitors when Juan Quiroga picked up a second yellow card midway through the second half. A third had to come as Colón were penned in their penalty area for pretty much all the remainder and Palermo was on hand to eventually put the game to bed as the ball pinged around the box. Not so good news for their rivals River Plate who lost to Newell's in Rosario by a single goal, Ivan Borghello getting between two defenders to head home in the tenth minute.

Gimnasia pull away from the bottom with a much-needed win over fading Huracán. They were ahead on the half hour, Alvaro Navarro opening his body out to create the space for a curling shot into the opposite top corner. Hernan Encina got a late brace to seal it, the first a delicate lob with the outside of the boot, the second a tap-in at the back post. Tigre came from behind to beat Godoy Cruz who were ahead on the quarter hour through David Ramirez whose attempted through ball came back to him off a defender and he smashed it in from 20 yards. It remained 1-0 to half-time, but Tigre were level within a minute of the restart, Denis Stracqualarsi latching onto a long through ball that the defence couldn't cope with. Quarter of an hour from the end, Claudio Perez won it with a routine header from a corner that the keeper came for and got absolutely nowhere near.

Next week, Estudiantes have a visit from Boca as they look to brush off that defeat. San Lorenzo are at home to Colón while the last two champions - faring rather differently to each other - face off as Banfield travel to face Argentinos. River complete the round with a home game against lowly Quilmes.

Vélez Sarsfield v Olimpo
Independiente v Gimnasia La Plata
Argentinos Juniors v Banfield
Estudiantes v Boca Juniors
Lanús v All Boys
Colón v San Lorenzo
Arsenal v Newell's Old Boys
Huracán v Godoy Cruz
Tigre v Racing Club
River Plate v Quilmes

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 24 Preview

A look ahead to Week 24

São Paulo x Guarani


Week 5 Meeting: Guarani 0-0 São Paulo

Last 5 (League Only): São Paulo WLLWW Guarani DLWLW

Only one point and two places separate the teams in the league at the moment. Inconsistency is the downfall of Guarani at the moment and with only one away win all season you don't give them much hope at the Morumbi. Finishing in the top four is a must for São Paulo and this could well see them get the three points they they need to keep them in contention

Our Tip: Home Win

Bet365.com Prices: São Paulo 1/2 Guarani 6/1 Draw 3/1

Prudente x Palmeiras

Week 5 Meeting: Palmeiras 0-0 Prudente

Last 5 (League Only): Prudente LLLDL Palmeiras LWDDL

Prudente are heading for Série B in quite a big way but last time out at home they were only five minutes away from defeating Flamengo until a late late show rocked them. Palmeiras were surprising winners at Grêmio on their last road trip and may have had what little confidence knocked out of them after a defeat in the Choque-Rei at the weekend but it's doubtful if Prudente have enough to actually win the game. Winning something Palmeiras is incapable of, 11 draws this season tells it's own story.

Our Tip: Draw

Bet365.com Prices: Prudente 2/1 Palmeiras 11/8 Draw 9/4

Cruzeiro x Ceará

Week 5 Meeting Ceará 1-0 Cruzeiro

Last 5 (League Only): Cruzeiro DWWWW Ceará DDWLL

Ceará have only one away victory in the league all season, that came at the Mineirão against Atlético-MG. Well they are back in Belo Horizonte to take on the form team in the competition at the moment. The draw against Botafogo at the weekend halted Cruzeiro's five game winning run but they are right in the title hunt now and the smart money will be on them extending what is now an 8 game unbeaten run.

Our Tip: Home win

Bet365.com Prices: Cruzeiro 4/9 Ceará 13/2 Draw 16/5

Goiás x Atlético Goianiense

Week 5 Meeting: Atlético-GO 1-3 Goiás

Last 5 (League Only): Goiás DWDWL Atlético-GO LLWLW

Derby day in Goiânia as the teams in 18th and 19th in the league go head to head at the Serra Dourada with Goiás being in much better form that Atlético-GO at the moment. Goiás come into this game on the back of a four game unbeaten run whilst Atlético-GO have had back to back defeats against Santos and Atlético-PR. This will be the sixth meeting between the sides in all competitions this year and it's honours even at the moment with two wins each and a single draw

Our Tip: Home Win

Bet365.com Prices: Goiás 6/5 Atlético-GO 9/4 Draw 23/10

Vasco da Gama x Botafogo

Week 5 Meeting: Botafogo 1-1 Vasco da Gama

Last 5 (League Only): Vasco da Gama LDDDW Botafogo DLWWD

The Clássico Alvinegro takes place at the São Januário with Vasco da Gama looking to get back to winning ways after losing their fourteen game unbeaten run at the weekend. Botafogo showed great character to come from behind to get a draw against Cruzeiro on Saturday night, even if they needed the help of a dodgy penalty to get the draw. Vasco are another team that have simply drawn too many games this season but survival is their aim but Botafogo with a title to chase may just edge this one out.

Our Tip: Away Win

Bet365.com Prices: Vasco da Gama 13/8 Botafogo 9/4 Draw 13/8

Santos x Corinthians

Week 5 Meeting: Corinthians 4-2 Santos

Last 5 (League Only): Santos DWLLD Corinthians WWLDW

The last two Paulista and Copa do Brasil champions clash at the Vila Belmiro in the "Majestoso". League leaders Corinthians have just begun to find some form of late and they have won their last two. Santos are what only can be described as mixed form, although unbeaten in their last two they had back to back defeats to Ceará and Botafogo before that. Corinthians were defeated by Santos in the Paulista back at the end of February but things have changed a lot since then.

Our Tip: Draw

Bet365.com Prices: Santos 13/10 Corinthians 21/10 Draw 23/10

Grêmio x Flamengo

Week 5 Meeting: Flamengo 1-1 Grêmio

Last 5 (League Only): Grêmio WLWWD Flamengo DWDLD

Grêmio were languishing in the relegation zone just three weeks ago, but now after stringing some results together and finding some away form they are into mid-table. It's strange, least year they couldn't lose at home or win away and things seems to be reversing now. Flamengo's defence of their title hasn't gone well at all, goal scoring has been a problem. When Vágner Love is still the leading goal scorer despite being back in Moscow for almost three months now tells you what Flamengo's main problem has been. Still with Grêmio's dodgy home form they may sneak way with a point.

Our Tip: Draw

Bet365.com Prices: Grêmio 5/6 Flamengo 100/30 Draw 5/2

Atlético Paranaense x Internacional

Week 5 Meeting: Internacional 4-1 Atlético-PR

Last 5 (League Only): Atlético-PR WWLDW Internacional WWDLW

Two side with very similar recent records clash at the Arena de Baixada as fourth placed Internacional travel to Atlético-PR. Inter ended Vasco's long unbeaten run at the weekend whilst Atlético-PR have reacted well to their own long unbeaten run being ended by winning back to back games against Atlético-MG and Atlético-GO. Home advantage is a big thing for Atlético-PR and although Inter were comfortable winners at São Paulo last week Atlético-PR will be a sterner test.

Our Tip: Draw

Bet365.com Prices: Atlético-PR 17/10 Internacional 8/5 Draw 9/4

Fluminense x Atlético Mineiro

Week 5 Meeting: Atlético-MG 1-3 Fluminense

Last 5 (League Only): Fluminense DLLWL Atlético-MG LLWDL

Fluminense have been a team in crisis, it's not that long ago since they were over a game clear at the top of the table and looking a surefire bet to lift the title. The wheels have come off in a big way and three defeats in their last five and a draw away at Flamengo last weekend wasn't really what the Tricolor fans were looking for. Atlético-MG's big problem all season has been conceding goals, they are conceding on average nearly two goals a game on their travels and if Fluminense get Washington, Fred and Alan firing it could well be a long night for the Belo Horizonte based club.

Our Tip: Home Win

Bet365.com Prices: Fluminense 8/11 Atlético-MG 15/4 Draw 13/5

Vitória x Avaí

Week 5 Meeting: Avaí 0-0 Vitória

Last 5 (League Only): Vitória WDDDL Avaí LDLDL

Only one word to describe the form of Avaí at the moment, gash. No win now in 11 for the Florianópolis club as they have slumped to the edge of the relegation zone and are in danger of being replaced by rivals Figuerense in the top flight next year. Vitória have got over their Copa final defeat and are unbeaten in the last four although their win at the weekend was the first in 8 games they shouldn't be getting dragged into any relegation issues. For the fact Avaí are quite simply awful at the moment this is what you could consider as your home banker but this league never fails to throw up a surprise or two every week.

Our Tip: Home Win

Bet365.com Prices: Vitória 17/20 Avaí 16/5 Draw 5/2

Please note all prices were correct when this article was published. CONMEBalls aren't responsible for you losing your money if you choose to follow this advice. Gamble safely and within your means.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 23

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

Corinthians reclaimed top spot in the league as they comfortably brushed aside Prudente at the Pacaembu. Iarley put Corinthians ahead half way through the first half and Jorge Henrique doubled the lead three minutes after the break. Elias made sure of the points eight minutes from time to hand Prudente a defeat that leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table. Botafogo had to come from behind to claim a point against Cruzeiro, a result that ended the visitors five game winning run. Botafogo took the lead with 5 minutes on the clock when Alessandro's shot bounced over the goalkeeper. Argentinian striker Walter Montillo from the spot 13 minutes into the second half and then put the visitors ahead twenty minutes from time. Botafogo got level five minutes later, when a pretty poor decision saw Fogo awarded a penalty of their own and El Loco converted. Atlético-PR remain the rank outsiders for honours as they got back to winning ways with victory at Atlético-GO. A doubled inside the opening 15 minutes from Branquinho put Atlético-PR in charge. Diogo Galvão pulled a goal back for Atlético-GO but the visitors held on for their tenth win of the season.

The 280th Choque-Rei saw São Paulo register a league double over bitter rivals Palmeiras at the Pacaembu in front of a miserable crowd of just over 15,000. Both goals came in the second half, Lucas put São Paulo ahead nine minutes after the break and an eigth of the season for Fernandão fifteen minutes from time wrapped things up for São Paulo. Palmeiras now lie outside the qualifying places for the Copa Sudamericana for next season. No goals at the Estádio Brinco de Ouro as Guarani and Santos finished goalless. The point not much use for either side in the context of things. Vitória pulled away from the relegation zone as they defeated Atlético-MG. Vitória were two up inside fifteen minutes, Julian Viáfara converted from the spot with four minutes on the clock and Egídio doubled the lead. Vitória were reduced to ten men after 27 minutes when Anderson Martins was sent off and Atlético-MG pulled a goal back through Daniel Carvalho four minutes before the break. When Neto Berola levelled for Atlético-MG twenty minutes into the second half the game was there for the taking but it was the ten men of Vitória who got a winner from Henqirue sixteen minutes from time. The last unbeaten record since the World Cup break was brought to an end when Internacional defeated Vasco da Gama at the Beira-Rio. One goal was enough to separate the sides and it came from Edu a minutes after the break.

A high scoring game at the Engenhão as the 374th Fla-Flu finished in a six goal thriller. It was Leandro Euzébio who opened the scoring for Fluminense with nine minutes on the clock, but strikes from Deivid and David ensured Flamengo went into the break ahead. Rodriguinho levelled for Flu ten minutes after the break but a minute later Renato Abreu put Flamengo ahead again. But a second from Rodriguinho eighteen minutes from time ensured honours were even if they result didn't suit Flu. Goiás made it four games unbeaten in their fight to get away from the relegation zone but they left it late at Ceará. Oziel put Ceará ahead with sixteen minutes on the clock but with four minutes left Wellington Monteiro grabbed an equaliser to give Goiás a valuable point. Avaí are on the edge of the relegation zone now after crashing to defeat at home to Grêmio. We always said Grêmio were poor travellers but given their home form we might have to reconsider. Jonas went to the top of the goal scoring charts after a goal in each half, those split by one for André Lima to give Grêmio their biggest away win of the season.

And no rest for anyone as again their is a midweek round to keep everyone busy. They line up like this

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


Friday, 17 September 2010

Copa Sudamericana Week 7

Second Stage 1st Leg

Oriente Petrolero 1-0 Deportes Tolima
Newell's Old Boys 1-0 Estudiantes
Universidad San Martin 2-1 Emelec
Santa Fe 2-1 Caracas FC
Defensor Sporting 9-0 Sport Huancayo


Oriente Petrolero of Bolivia will take a lead into next weeks second game against Desportes Tolima after a single goal was enough to give them victory. Desportes Tolima withstood some heavy pressure but finally cracked ten minutes from time when Mauricio Saucedo grabbed the winner for Oriente Petrolero. Newell's Old Boys also managed to grab a first game advantage when they defeated Estudiantes in Rosario. They left it late though it took a penalty in the third minutes of injury time from Mauro Fórmica to give them victory. Peru's Universidad San Martin will also take an advantage to the altitude of Emelec after a 2-1 first game victory. It all started well for the Ecuadorians when Joao Rojas put them ahead with just four minutes on the clock but Pablo Vitti levelled matters just before half time. Emelec then had Gabriel Achilier sent off four minutes after the break and Ronald Quinteros put Universidad San Martin ahead with sixteen minutes left. The night ended on a sour note for Emelec when they had Mariano Mina sent off four minutes from time.

Santa Fe of Colombia were another team to come from behind as they defeated Caracas FC of Venezuela. Heatklif Castillo put Caracas ahead eight minutes before the break but Luis Seijas levelled matters ten minutes into the second half. Óscar Rodas got the winner for Santa Fe eighteen minutes from time. Defensor Sporting of Uruguay are all but into the last 16 as they went goal crazy against Sport Huancayo of Peru. Defensor were ahead with a minute on the clock when Diego De Souza converted from the penalty spot. Sport Huancayo then had Blas Lopez sent off five minutes before the break and Mario Risso doubled the lead a minute before the break. Two goals in a minute just after the break, a second for De Souza and Miguel Amando made it four before Rodrigo Mora got the fifth on 56 minutes. Adrian Luna converted from the spot on the hour to make it six and then Sport Huancayo had Javier Salazar sent off to reduce them to nine. A second for Rodrigo Mora, this time from the spot made it seven before Eduardo Aranda and a second from Luna completed the scoring.

Second Stage 2nd Leg

Peñarol 2-1 Barcelona
Peñarol advances 6-0 on points
Banfield 1-1 Vélez Sársfield
Banfield advances 4-1 on points

Uruguay's Peñarol advanced into the round of 16 and a clash with Goiás after a 2-1 success at home to Barcelona of Ecuador. Joonatan Ramis put Peñarol into the lead with eighteen minutes to go but after an own goal from Sebastian Sosa with 11 minutes to go gave Barcelona hope as they were a goal way from qualification. As Barcelona pressed, Peñarol made the tie safe in injury time wen Antonio Pacheco slotted home from the spot. Banfield made it into the round of 16 and clash with either Oriente Petrolero or Deportes Tolima after knocking Vélez Sársfield. A game that saw four red cards, finished level on the goals but Vélez won the card count. Marcelo Carrusca put Banfield ahead with a quarter of an hour but as Vélez chased the game they lost Fernando Ortiz, Santiago Silva and Leandro Somoza to red card within an 18 minute period. Carrusca then got a red card to go along with his goal five minutes to go but Jonathan Cristaldo levelled the tie on the night but it wasn't enough to see Vélez through.

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 22

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

When Willian put Atlético-GO two up at the Vila Belmiro two minutes after half time the Santos fans must have wondered what was going on, Josiel had opened the scoring with 13 minutes on the clock. Edu Dracena halved the deficit with 51 minutes on the clock and Madson levelled with 15 minutes to go. Alan Patrick put Santos ahead two minutes later and an own goal from Marcel three minutes later gave the home side victory at last. Cruzeiro are now a point behind the leaders after their 4-2 win over a Guarani team that can't put back to back results together. Rômulo put Cruzeiro ahead with 24 minutes on the clock and Wallyson doubled the lead before half time. Two goals in six minutes got Guarani right back in the game, Geovane got the first and Paulo Roberto levelled with 15 minutes to go. The lead lasted less than a minute when Fabinho restored the Cruzeiro lead and Ernesto Farias wrapped things up five minutes from time. Grêmio's recent good run was ended at home by Palmeiras giving them their fourth home defeat of the season. Marcos Assunção put the Big Green ahead with 14 minutes on the clock and Ewerthon doubled the lead three minutes after the break. Jonas grabbed a consolation for Grêmio in injury time, his ninth of the season.

Goiás climbed off the bottom of the table when they stunned Botafogo at the Serra Dourada. Wellington Monteiro put Goiás ahead with 15 minutes gone and Rafael Moura doubled the lead on the half hour. Sebastian Abreu pulled a goal back for Botafogo two minutes before the break and instead of kicking on from there they went further behind ten minutes from time when Rafael Moura got his second of the game from the spot. Bernado wrapped things up for Goiás with a fourth in injury time. Atlético-PR got back to winning ways when they defeated Atlético-MG at the Arena de Baixada. Bruno Mineiro put Atlético-PR ahead with just two minutes on the clock but Obina levelled for Atlético-MG just after the half hour. It looked the game was heading for a draw but three minutes from time Paraguyan midfielder Ivan Gonzalez grabbed the winner. The big clash of the week was at the Engenhão where the top two in the table clashed and it was Corinthians who completed a league double to go level on points wiith Fluminense. Jucilei put Corinthians ahead just before the break and when Iarley doubled the lead twenty minutes into the second half the Paulista club were heaping the pressure onto Flu. Washington's tenth of the season, the first player to reach double figures, pulled a goal back from Fluminense five minutes later but they couldn't find a goal to level matters.

Prudente slumped to the bottom of the table after letting a lead slip at home to Flamengo. Adriano Pimenta put Prudente ahead just before half time but was then sent off for a second yellow card after the celebration. Flamengo left it late, Diego Mauricio levelled with five minutes to go and Toró stole all three points for the Rubro-Negro with a winner four minutes into injury time. Stalemate in Salvador as Vitória and Ceará finished without a goal. The result through pushed Vitória onto the edge of the relegation zone. Internacional pulled off a great victory at the Morumbi and end São Paulo's recent good run. Wilson Matias put Inter ahead with ten minutes on the clock but Cléber Santana levelled for São Paulo ten minutes later. Leandro Damião put Inter back ahead on the half hour and Giuliano doubled the lead and made the points safe on the hour. Vasco da Gama kept their post break unbeaten record intact but it's now becoming a run of more draws than victories after letting a lead slip at home to Avaí. Ramon put Vasco ahead with 24 minutes on the clock and when Avaí's Emerson saw red twenty minutes into the second half you'd have backed Vasco to take all three points. But Caio levelled matters for Avaí sixteen minutes from time to give them a welcome point.

And it's straight into Week 23 at the weekend and they line up like this. The highlights of the weekend both come at the Engenhão, on Saturday Botafogo take on Cruzeiro and it's followed by the 374th Fla-Flu on Sunday.

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

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série B Update

When Vasco da Gama were in the second tier in Brazil last season we did tend to provide pretty regular updates of their campaign to get back into the top flight. With a little spare time at the moment, we're going to drop a league to give a brief insight into who might be joining the big boys in 2011.

First a round up of the relegated teams from last season.

Santo André

Despite running Santos all the way for the Paulista title Santo André are struggling to make an impression in their fight to get back into the top flight. The squad that did so well in the Paulista was ripped apart as they players were cherry picked and as a consequence they have struggled. They have spent part of the season in relegation zone and a 3-1 win against Paraná, only their sixth of the season, has temporarily lifted them to the edge of the relegation zone

Naútico

One of the two Recife clubs that were relegated at the end of least season, they have also struggled to make an impression on the division. Currently on a two game losing run they are tenth in the table but only two wins away from the promotion zone. Their last win came against Santo André but they have since fallen to Coritiba and Duque de Caxias.

Sport Recife

From the Libertadores to Série B inside 12 months is the tale of woe for Sport. Currently in some decent form, they have won their last four, they currently lie sixth in the table and are four point behind the relegation zone. Sport are currently on a ten game unbeaten run, their last defeat was at the end of July to Duque de Caxias.

Coritiba

Possibly the biggest name of the four to fall out of the top flight at the end of last year, the rioting of the fans after the Fluminense game just showing how much they felt the disappointment. They are doing the best of the the relegated side, they currently lie in the last promotion spot in fourth with 37 points but their recent form has been mixed of late.

So, leading the way at the moment are Figueirense (they were relegated in 2008) and the Florianópolis based club will be looking to join rivals Avaí in the top flight next year. They currently lead the way with 39 points after 22 weeks and are joined also in the promotion spots by three teams on 37 points. The previously mentioned Coritiba, Bahia and the famous América Mineiro looking for back to back promotions. Also on 37 points but below Coritiba on games won are Paulista club Ponte Preta. Ten points separate the top ten clubs in the league and with 48 points still up for grabs there is no reason why Rio club Duque de Caxias in tenth can't force a way into the promotion picture. São Caetano, who lost out in the final of the Paulista Torneo Interior are in ninth and another Paulista club are just above them. Portuguesa missed out by three points last season and their bid to halt Guarani's promotion bid after the Bruno Carazine Constantino incident failed. The remaining team in the top ten are Guaratinguetá, another Paulista club who are making a good impression after their promotion from Série C last year.

The bottom two in the table, Ipatinga look doomed after only picking up 15 points so far this season and it looks like América RN with a point more will be joining them in Série C next year. Another Paulista club, Bragantino are in the relegation zone. They just managed to keep their Paulista A1 place last season by the skin of their teeth so do have some fight in them. Vila Nova are the final club in the relegation zone but they are only a point behind Santo André at the moment. Paraná in 12th aren't safe and with Icasa, the Capital's Brasiliense and newly promoted ASA filling the remaining spots in the league.

We'll hopefully provide a further update on Série B as the season draws to a close. It certainly is going to be a tight race for the promotion spots.

Arsenal slip lets Estudiantes take charge

Tigre 2-0 Gimnasia La Plata
Colón 1-1 All Boys
Huracán 2-2 Banfield
San Lorenzo 0-0 Vélez Sarsfield
Lanús 1-4 Godoy Cruz
Estudiantes 2-0 Racing Club
Argentinos Juniors 1-2 Newell's Old Boys
River Plate 1-0 Arsenal
Independiente 0-0 Quilmes
Olimpo 1-3 Boca Juniors

Leaders Arsenal were knocked off the top of the league last weekend as they suffered just their second defeat of the season. They lost at the Monumental where River Plate picked up a vital three points in their bid to stave off relegation (we've included the Promedio table as well, so you can appreciate the bother they're in). They left it late, Rogelio Funes with a thumping header from a corner with quarter of an hour to go. Both sides ended a man down, Roberto Pereyra and Pablo Aguilar sent off in the last minute after a set-to.

That loss sees Arsenal slip to fifth - that's how close it is. Estudiantes take over at the top, still with that game in hand as well, after a regulation victory over Racing. After a goalless first half, Enzo Perez got the opener seconds into the second period as Racing started slowly. The second came ten minutes later, Gabriel Mercado with a thunderbolt from 20 yards as Racing were overwhelmed. The cue went in the rack and they closed out a comfortable win. Vélez were held to a goalless draw away at San Lorenzo but that point sees them both move up, Vélez to third and San Lorenzo to fourth either side of River Plate.

At the other end, Quilmes picked up a point from a 0-0 draw with Independiente which lifts them off the foot of the table. Gimnasia slip to 20th after losing to Tigre and finishing with ten men. They were already two behind when Pablo Fontanello picked up a second booking, Diego Castana with the first on the half hour, a thunderous drive from all of 30 yards. Fernando Telechea doubled the advantage after the break and that was that. Another defeat for champions Argentinos sees them slip to 19th. They led in the 63rd minute, a strong run down the right and a decent cross setting up Gonzalo Vargas, but it didn't last. Comedy defending allowed Gabriel Cichero to equalise for Newell's quarter of an hour later and more of the same allowed Luis Rodriguez to ghost into the box unnoticed to head the winner nine minutes from time. Santiago Gentiletti was sent off in stoppage time, completing the misery for the champs.

Boca got a vital win, beating Olimpo with something in reserve. Lucas Viatri rattled in the opener, his fourth of the season, on the quarter hour, but Olimpo were level when Juan Cobo stole in to nick one at the near post a minute later. Martin Palermo restored the lead on the hour, making the most of a defensive blunder, and Juan Insuarralde had a free header from close range to win it. There were draws between Colón and All Boys - one each, an early penalty for All Boys after some outstanding lunatic goalkeeping responded to by Esteban Fuertes's second half header - and between Huracán and Banfield. Rolando Zarate got both Huracán goals, but twice they were pegged back within five minutes of taking the lead. The big winners of the week were Godoy Cruz who beat Lanús 4-1, three coming in the last half hour to seal it.

Next week, Arsenal take on Vélez Sarsfield in a top-of-the-table clash, but it's all falling into place for Estudiantes. They go to All Boys at the weekend while River Plate are in Rosario to face Newell's. The big game at the bottom is between Argentinos and Quilmes.

Gimnasia La Plata v Huracán
Racing Club v Lanús
San Lorenzo v Olimpo
Boca Juniors v Colón
Godoy Cruz v Tigre
Quilmes v Argentinos Juniors
Arsenal v Vélez Sarsfield
All Boys v Estudiantes
Newell's Old Boys v River Plate
Banfield v Independiente

Campeonato Brasileiro Week 22 Preview

In a change to recent previews, we're going to stick our necks on the line and try to help the gamblers out there try and win some money. Trusting our tips with your own money is done at your own risk.

Santos x Atlético Goianiense

Last meeting: Week 3 - Atlético-GO 0-3 Santos

Recent League Form: Santos LLDWW Atlético-GO WLWLWD

Santos are back at the Vila Belmiro and after back to back defeats look to get back on the horse against an Atlético-GO side which has had impressive wins recently only to play poorly in the following game. Although a Libertadores place for Santos is guaranteed they can still win the title but need to get winning and quickly otherwise they will become just like Corinthians who put the cue well and truly on the rack after their Copa win last year. Atlético-GO might have the leading goal scorer in the competition in Elias but this isn't a night when he is going to make his mark.

Prediction: For the simple fact Atlético-GO can't win back to back, our money is on Santos

Cruzeiro x Guarani

Last meeting: Week 3 - Guarani 2-2 Cruzeiro

Recent League Form: Cruzeiro WWWWL Guarani WLWLW

Guarani are a bit like Atlético-GO, they can't string two wins back to back and a trip to the Mineirão to take on an in form Cruzeiro on the back of four straight wins isn't going to change anything in the pattern for Guarani.

Preditcion: Cruzeiro to make it 5 on the spin.

Grêmio x Palmeiras

Last meeting: Week 3 - Palmeiras 4-2 Grêmio

Recent League Form: Grêmio WWDWD Palmeiras DDLDW

Grêmio are another team in form, since slumping into the relegation zone they have strung together a decent run that has seen them climb into mid-table and over take Palmeiras in the table. Palmeiras have only lost 5 games all season, which is just one more than most of the clubs at the top of the table but 11 draws tells it own story. This is Grêmio at home though, and they are a different animal on home soil.

Prediction: Grêmio just to sneak home

Goiás x Botafogo

Last meeting: Week 3 - Botafogo 3-0 Goiás

Recent League Form: Goiás DWLLL Botafogo WWDWL

Goiás have embarked on their own little upturn in the last couple of games winning one, against Guarani, before collecting an impressive point at Internacional at weekend. When Botafogo got their season off the mark in the week 3 clash and since the world cup break have only had their colours lowered twice. El Loco is beginning to find the back of the net again and Fogo really are a team on the march

Prediction: Botafogo for us. Simply in a rich vein of form

Atlético Paranaense x Atlético Mineiro

Last meeting: Week 3 - Atlético-MG 3-1 Atlético-PR

Recent League Form: Atlético-MG WDLWL Atlético-PR LDWWD

Atlético-PR's long unbeaten run was surprisingly ended Guarani at the weekend whilst Atlético-MG are concentrating on getting themselves out of the relegation zone. Home advantage could be they key to this one as and with Atlético-MG only having a single win away from the Mineirão all season and Atlético-PR impressive at home it may just tip the scales

Prediction: Atlético-PR to get back on the horse

Fluminense x Corinthians

Last meeting: Week 3 - Corinthians 1-0 Fluminense

Recent League Form: Fluminense LWLDD Corinthians LDWWL

Quite simply the match of the round as the top two meet at the Engenhão. Chicão's goal separated the teams back in May and they have been the two dominant forces in the league so far this season. Victory for Fluminense would see them open up a six point lead over Corinthians, but the visitors still have a game in hand on Fluminense and that could prove crucial in the long run. Washington is firing in the goals for Fluminense at the moment but both sides have had the wobbles recently.

Prediction: Honours even in this one.

Prudente x Flamengo

Last meeting: Week 3: Flamengo 3-1 Prudente

Recent League Form: Prudente LDLLD Flamengo DLDLL

Two teams who haven't won since Week 15 in the case of Prudente and the week before for Flamengo clash at the Prudentão. Flamengo's recent fall has seen them slump to the edge of the relegation zone and if results don't go their way they could well end up there come Friday. Prudente have been rocked since the three point deduction and the spirit seems to be draining out of them as the weeks go by. This is a crucial match for both sides.

Prediction: Neither team to get the win they need

Vitória x Ceará

Last meeting: Week 3 - Ceará 1-0 Vitória

Recent League Form: Vitória DDLDL Ceará WLLLD

Vitória haven't won since their 1-0 success at Cruzeiro in week 15 and they are now dangerously close to the relegation zone. Ceará after being a roaring success before the break have struggled since but their win at weekend over Santos would have built up confidence. Ceará have been the surprise package so far this season with many tipping them to go down.

Prediction: Vitória

São Paulo x Internacional

Last meeting: Week 3 - Internacional 0-2 São Paulo

Recent League Form: São Paulo LWWWD Internacional DLWDW

A repeat of the Libertadores semi-final between the two clubs when Inter progressed on away goals. Defeat at the Engenhão on the weekend ended São Paulo's three game streak but Internacional have been patchy at best since lifting the continental title. With Sandro now at Tottenham, the Inter midfield are really missing him. Libertadores football is a must for São Paulo so they need to start picking points up and quick.

Prediction: São Paulo to repeat their Libertadores second leg success

Vasco da Gama x Avaí

Last meeting: Week 3 - Avaí 2-0 Vasco da Gama

Recent League Form: Vasco da Gama DDWDD Avaí LDLLD

Vasco, as we might keep mentioning, are still the only undefeated team since the World Cup Break and that's now a 14 game run. Avaí though are a team heading in the opposite direction, they were impressive before the break but they haven't collected a win their victory over Corinthians back in week 14 and have only picked up two points in that run.

Prediction: Home banker.

we hope you've enjoyed this different look ahead to the week in Brazil. All feedback welcome and apologies for the lack of weekend previews. There are only so many hours in the week.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 21

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

Week 21 in Série A and it was the weekend the league got turned upside down as most of the so called big sides failed against teams in the lower reaches. First to fail were Corinthians who surprisingly went down to a Grêmio side that claimed it's first away win in the league for over a year. One goal was enough to separate the sides and it came just after the half hour from Douglas. Despite having Vilson sent off 12 minutes into the second half, Grêmio hung on to dent Corinthians title charge. Flamengo twice came from behind to claim a point against Vitória with all the goals coming in the last twenty minutes of the game. José Junior put Vitoria ahead but eight minutes later Kléberson levelled for Flamengo. When Schwenck put Vitória ahead nine minutes from time you feared for Flamengo but a second from Kléberson a minute later rescued a point. Fluminense failed to take advantage of Corinthians slip up as they crashed to a late defeat at Atlético-GO. It was all going well when Washington put Fluminense ahead after 22 minutes but the lead lasted only 7 minutes before Willian levelled for Atlético-GO. With Corinthians losing Fluminense would have settled for a point, especially after Gilson was sent off for the home side 17 minutes from time but they were stunned when Juninho grabbed a dramatic winner for Atlético-GO in injury time.

The two draw specialists of the league finished level at the Pacaembu as Vasco da Gama became the second side this term to reach double figures in the draw column. Vasco are still one behind Palmeiras in the draw count but remain unbeaten in thirteen now. Botafogo closed the gap on the Top 2 after bringing a halt to the recent São Paulo revival. Midweek hero Sebastian Abreu put Botafogo ahead half way through through the second half and Edno made the points safe ten minutes from time. The win closes the gap for Botafogo at the top of the table to four points. Atlético-MG left it late as they avenged their 4-0 defeat to Prudente back in week 2. Obina got the winner for Atlético-MG three minutes time, a result which boots Atlético-MG's relegation fight but leaves Prudente wondering where their next win will come from. Cruzeiro are another team right in the title picture now after their 2-1 away win at Avaí. Roger put Cruzeiro ahead from the spot with 24 minutes on the clock but they had Marquinhos Paraná sent off eight minutes after the break. The ten men though doubled their lead through Thiago Ribeiro 18 minutes from time but when Avaí pulled a goal back through Laércio Carrerinha ten minutes from time Cruzeiro hung on to claim all three points.

Atlético-PR's 7 match unbeaten run came to an end at Guarani as the home side consolidated their position in mid table and keep them on the edge of the Libertadores equation. One goal settled the game and it came six minutes from time when Rhodolfo scored into his own goal. The victory allowed Guarani to leapfrog Atlético-PR in the table. No goals at the Beira-Rio as Internacional failed to close the gap on the leaders to leave them 9 points adrift of Fluminense. Goiás though, will see this as a point gained in their fight against the drop. Finally Santos became another side to come unstuck to a lower positioned side as Ceará picked up their first win in six games. Magno Alves put Ceará ahead after half an hour but on loan Keirrison picked up his first goal for Santos since arriving on loan from Barcelona. Ceará through grabbed a winner 21 minutes from time when Magno Alves grabbed his second of the game to leave Santos in a similar hole as Internacional.

Midweek round again, you bet your bottom dollar as they line up for week 22 like this. The gameof the round sees the top two in the table clash at the Maracanã.

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