Monday, 28 November 2011

Brasileirão Petrobras - Week 37

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

The penultimate week of the season and still so much to be decided in the Brasileirão. Would Corinthians collect the title this week and who else would be joining Avaí in Série B next season.

At the Orlando Scarpelli in front of the Premier Sports TV cameras, Corinthians knew that victory over Figueirense and Vasco da Gama failing to win at the Engenhão against Fluminense would hand them the title. When Liédson put Corinthians ahead half way though the second half the massed ranks of fans believed the title was there for the taking. Then Alecsandro put Vasco ahead at the Engenhão with thirteen minutes left and it was as you were in the title race. The Corinthians fans were celebrating again when Fred levelled for Fluminense with his 21st goal of the season six minutes from time. They were about five mintues behind in Rio and when the full time whistle went in Florianópolis they Corinthians players stayed on the pitch and received the news of Leandro's dismissal reducing Vasco to ten men. As the party was about the get into full swing, there was injury time drama at the Engenhão when Diego Cavalieri spilled a shot and Bernardo pounced to give Vasco the win. It's all on next week now where both teams play deadly rivals, Corithians entertain Palmeiras while Vasco entertain Flamengo. The defeat for Figueirense may cost them a spot in next years Libertadores.

América-MG's relegation was finally confirmed despite a victory over Atlético-PR in Uberlândia. Leading scorer Kempes put América-MG ahead with twenty minutes gone but Atlético-PR got a life line when Paulo Baier converted from the spot on the hour. Gilson got the América-MG winner ten minutes from time to leave Atlético-PR on the brink of relegation. In another big relegation clash, Cruzeiro picked up a point at fellow strugglers Ceará to ensure that América-MG can't overtake them in the table. Ceará are also in a desperate struggle against the drop and they took the lead through Osvaldo with twenty minutes gone. Anselmo Ramon levelled three minutes later and when Paraguayan star Jose Ortigoza put Cruzeiro ahead eight minutes after the break they had secured their place in the top flight for next season. An equaliser from Daniel Marques eight minutes from time rescued a point for Ceará and gave them a fighting chance of surviving the drop next week. Bahia ensured their place in the top flight next season when they picked up a point at the Vila against Santos. In fact it was the first goal of the night that put Bahia ahead after eight minutes, Souza with the finish. Neymar's thirteenth of the season levelled matter after half an hour but Santos have that trip to Japan for the FIFA World Club Cup firmly on their minds.

The battle for the last Libertadores took a turn as well as Flamengo got themselves into poll position with victory over Internacional in Volta Redonda. Ronaldinho Gáucho put some bad press in the preceeding week behind him with the only goal of the game just before half time to leave the Rubro-Negro needing a point next week for the last spot. Coritiba have sneaked up on the edges of grabbing a Libertadores spot after victory over already relegated Avaí. The visitors had Fabiano sent off seventeen minutes from time and Jeci grabbed the all important goal six minutes from time. Avaí finished with nine men when Fernandinho was sent off a minute from time. Even with Flamengo in pole position at the moment the last Libertadores spot will be betweem them, Inter, Figueirense and Coritiba next week.

São Paulo's Libertadores hopes were ended when they fell to defeat to Palmeiras at the Pacaembu. Marcos Assunção with the only goal of the game ten minutes after half time to give Felipão back to back wins. São Paulo finished with ten men when Rivaldo was sent off in injury time. Botafogo's disastrous end to the season continued as Loco Abreu missed a penalty as their crushing defeat at Atlético-MG ended their feint Libertadores hopes as well. Daniel Carvalho put Atlético-MG ahead from the spot with a quarter of an hour gone and André doubled the lead ten minutes later. A second for André thirteen minutes from time sealed the points before Leonardo Silva wrapped up Atlético-MG's biggest win of the season in injury time. Finally the only game of the week that had little to no significance attached to it finished in an entertaining draw at the Olímpico. Atlético-GO took the lead  with twenty five minutes gone through Anselmo but two goals in a minute from Willian Magrão and Marquinhos put Grêmio ahead. Anderson rescued a point for Atlético-GO seven minutes from time with both teams now settled in mid-table obscurity.

So, one week to go in the 2011 Brasileirão and so much to play for. The title is up for grabs as is the final positions in Libertadores qualifying. It's two from three for the final relegation spots and it will all unfold from 7pm on Sunday. It's also rivalry round with all major Clássico matches taking place as well. They line up like this

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

The Série B season came to a close at the weekend with Náutico claiming the last promotion spot for the 2012 Brasileirão. They join fellow Recife based club Sport in the top flight alongside the Paulista sides Ponte Preta and the 2011 Série B Champions Portuguesa.

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