Monday, 21 November 2011

Brasileirão Petrobras - Week 36

São Paulo 3-1 América Mineiro
Vasco da Gama 2-0 Avaí
Grêmio 1-3 Ceará
Botafogo 1-2 Internacional
Corinthians 2-1 Atlético Mineiro
Cruzeiro 1-1 Atlético Paranaense
Atlético Goianiense 0-0 Flamengo
Bahia 0-2 Palmeiras
Coritiba 1-0 Santos
Figueirense 0-4 Fluminense

On Saturday the América-MG revival was bought to a halt as they were left on the brink of relegation after defeat to São Paulo at the Morumbi. Luís Fabiano put São Paulo ahead half way through the first half and he got a second to double the lead on the stoke of half time. Juan made it three six minutes after the break but São Paulo suffered a blow when Xandão was sent off on the hour. Alessandro pulled a goal back for América-MG with twelve minutes left and it looks like their season long stay in the top flight will end this weekend. The Premier Sports TV cameras were on hand to see Vasco da Gama go to the top of the table when they condemned Avaí to relegation at the São Januário. The visitors were reduced to ten men with just twenty minutes gone when Junior Urso was sent off for a second yellow card offence. The ten men held on for a further half an hour before Felipe but Vasco ahead six minutes after the break. When Elton doubled the lead fourteen minutes later you could feel the relief from the Vasco fans. Ceará still remain in the relegation zone despite a fantastic win at Grêmio. Leading scorer Felipe Azevedo put Ceará ahead with half an hour gone but the lead lasted only seven minutes before Douglas got the tricolor back on level terms. A second for Felipe Azevedo, converting from the penalty spot, restored the Ceará lead four minutes after the break and he completed his hat-trick ten minutes later to wrap up the points.

After their title challenge floundered in midweek, managerless Botafogo's hopes of securing a place in the Libertadores next season suffered a blow when Internacional left the Engenhão with all three points. Leandro Damião put Inter ahead on the stroke of half time and Oscar doubled the lead fifteen minutes from time. Felipe Menezes pulled a goal back three minutes later but it as Inter who jumped into the final qualifying spot. In front of the Premier Sports TV cameras Corinthians went back to the top of the table after coming from behind to defeat Atlético-MG at the Pacaembu. When Leonardo Silva put Atlético-MG ahead ten minutes after the break it was just what the Vasco fans wanted to hear but Liédson thought he'd rescued a point for Corinthians thirteen minutes from time. Cometh injury time, cometh the man as Adriano, in only his fourth appearance of the season, grabbed a winner to leave Corinthians in the driving seat in the title race. Two teams threatened with relegation met in Sete Lagoas and there was nothing to separate Cruzeiro and Atlético-PR. The visitors took the lead with twenty-six minutes gone when Marcinho put them ahead but Charles levelled for Cruzeiro two minutes before the break. Neither team could find a second half winner and the result still leaves both teams in danger of the drop. No goals at the Serra Dourada as a point was enough to secure Atlético-GO's top flight status and make life very difficult for Flamengo's bid to be in the Copa Libertadores next year. It's a second straight scoreless draw for Flamengo who really need to be finding the back of the net if they are to be at the top table next year.

It took a long time coming but Palmeiras finally secured their place in the top flight next season after a first win in eleven when they defeated Bahia. Ricardo Bueno put Palmeiras ahead with twenty minutes gone to ease their fears but they only wrapped up the victory in injury time when Marcos Assuncão got the second as Bahia pressed for an equaliser. Coritiba can look forward to Copa Sudamericana action next year after they defeated Santos at the Couto Pereira. A goal from Leonardo on the hour was enough for to win it for Coritiba as Muricy Ramalho rested some of his star players with a place in Série A secured and the FIFA World Club Cup in mind. At the Orlando Scarpelli, Fluminense secured a spot in the Copa Libertadores when they ended Figuerense's fourteen match unbeaten run in spectacular fashion. After his four goal show in midweek, Fred was again the Fluminense talisman as he added a hat-trick to make it seven goals for the week and twelve in his last six games. The former Olympique Lyonnias man opened the scoring three mintues after the break and doubled the lead nine minutes later. Marquinho got in on the act with the third eighteen mintues from time before Fred wrapped up his hat-trick five minutes from time to take him to twenty for the season. It was a first defeat for Figueirense since a 2-1 defeat at home to São Paulo on September 3 and leaves them in a three way fight for the last Libertadores spot.

Next week all fixtures kick off at the same time with just 180 minutes left in the season. Flamengo take their home game to Macaé and América-MG move to Uberlândia due to Stadium clashes. The title is still up for grabs, as is the last Libertadores spot while two teams are still available for the drop to Série B. They line up like this

Palmeiras x São Paulo
Santos x Bahia
Flamengo x Internacional
Fluminense x Vasco da Gama
Grêmio x Atlético Goianiense
Atlético Mineiro x Botafogo
Figueirense x Corinthians
Coritiba x Avaí
Américo Mineiro x Atlético Paranaense
Ceará x Cruzeiro

Meanwhile, the last weekend of fixtures take place in Série B at the weekend. Portuguesa will return to the top flight as Champions whilst Náutico and Ponte Preta will join them in the top flight. Five teams, Sport Recife, Bragantino, Vitória, Boa and Americana are all still in with a shout of the fourth and final promotion spot.

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