Monday, 5 December 2011

Brasileirão Petrobras - Week 38

São Paulo 4-1 Santos
Internacional 1-0 Grêmio
Cruzeiro 6-1 Atlético Mineiro
Atlético Goianiense 5-1 América Mineiro
Atlético Paranaense 1-0 Coritiba
Bahia 2-1 Ceará
Avaí 1-1 Figueirense
Botafogo 1-1 Fluminense
Vasco da Gama 1-1 Flamengo
Corinthians 0-0 Palmeiras

Corinthians are the 2011 Brasileirão Petrobras champions after a a spiteful score less draw with arch enemies Palmeiras at the Pacaembu in front of the Premier Sports TV cameras. After the untimely death of Sócrates early in the morning before the game a respectful moment of silence was observed by all in the stadium. When the action started it was Palmeiras who were the more likely to break the deadlock. Deola in the Palmeiras goal was reduced to a mere spectator at times. With the news that Diego Souza had put Vasco da Gama ahead at Engenhão after half an hour filtering through the ground at half time, Corinthians were still in the box seat for the title but going behind would be a complete disaster. The fun and games at the Pacaembu began two minutes after the break when Jorge Valdivia was sent off for a forearm but the news from Rio that Flamengo has equalised through Renato Abreu settled nerves amongst Corinthians supporters. Then the news got better for Corinthians as Vasco had Jumar sent off twenty minutes from time but two minutes later it was ten a side when Wallace was shown a red card. The tension was unbearable at the Pacaembu especially when Palmieras rattled the woodwork but the news came through it was all over at Vasco and the fans began celebrating a fifth title. Then came the good old fashioned South American punch up in injury time, Palmeiras substitue João Vitor was sent off for a nasty challenge on Jorge Henrique. The Palmieras bench thought there had been a severe over reaction and piled into the midfielder. Leandro Castan of Corinthians got a red card for his part in it all but how Luan of Palmeiras stayed on after kicking Jorge Henrique right under the nose of the assistant we will never know. The final whistle went in the Pacaembu and the celebrations started in true style with the fireworks going off left, right and centre. It was a fitting finish for Corinthians and a tribute to the Doctor.

While Flamengo secured their place in the Copa Libertadores next year with that point at Vasco, it was Internacional who sneaked in the at back door to claim the fifth and final spot via league qualification. For most of the night São Paulo were in the box seat as they ripped a reserve Santos side to bits in Mogi Mirim. Luís Fabiano, Cicero and Lucas Silva had São Paulo three up at half time but Elano pulled a goal back on the hour. A second for Fabiano ten minutes from time wrapped things up for São Paulo. Internacional made it into the Libertadores after victory in the 389th Gre-Nal at the Beira-Rio. The only goal came on the hour when Argentinian Andres D'Alessandro converted from the spot to give them the win and send them to Colombia for their Libertadores qualifying tie. Figuerense were denied the chance of qualifying when they were held by already relegation local rivals Avaí at the Recassada. Diogo Orlando put Avaí ahead a minutes before the break but Figueirense levelled two minutes after the restart through Heber. Figueirense then had Julio Cesar sent off shortly afterwards but with Inter winning they were always behind on that count.

The relegation picture was settled pretty early in the afternoon as Cruzeiro brushed aside uninterested local rivals Atlético-MG in Sete Lagoas. Cruzeiro who needed to win to guarantee their place in the top flight were four up at half time after goals from Roger, Leandro Guerreiro, Anselmo Ramon and Fabrício. Wellington Paulista made it five on the just before the hour before Réver pulled a goal back for Atlético-MG. The game finished ten a side after Wellington Paulista and Werley were sent off after clashing thirteen minutes from time and Everton capped a remarkable day for Cruzeiro with the sixth in injury time. Atlético-PR were relegated for the first time in their history despite denying local rivals Coritiba a spot in the Libertadores with victory at the Arena de Baixada. Ecuadorian striker Joffre Guerrón got the only goal of the game seventeen minutes from time but the home side finished with ten men after Fabrício Carioca was sent off in injury time. Ceará were also relegation after losing at Bahia, who themselved sneaked into the last Copa Sudamericana place for next season. Camacho put Bahia ahead with thirteen minutes gone and Lulinha doubled the lead two minutes before the break. Felipe Azevedo pulled a goal back for Ceará almost instantly but the news from Sete Lagoas at half time saw the game fizzle out into a damp squib.

Fluminense secured third place and spot in the group stage of the Libertadores after they ended up settling for a point in Volta Redonda against Botafogo. The Tricolor were ahead with just five minutes gone when Fred got his 22nd of the season, leaving him one behind Borges of Santos but Felipe Menezes levelled for Botafogo seven minutes later. Fluminense finished with ten men after Erwin Valencia was sent off fourteen minutes from time but after their shocking start to the season Fluminense must be happu with their third palced finish. Finally Atlético-GO secured a place in the Copa Sudamericana when they took already relegated América-MG to the cleaners at the Serra Dourada. Felipe put Atlético-GO ahead with ten minutes gone before Mario doubled the lead from the spot five minutes later. Gilson put Atlético-GO three ahead at the break but Thiago Carleto pulled one back for América-MG on the hour. This spurred Atlético-GO onto greater things as Anailson got a fourth twenty minutes from time before Paulo Henrique wrapped up Atlético-GO's biggest win of the season five minutes from time.

So, this is who got what in Brazil this year

Champions: Corinthians
Copa Libertadores Group Stage: Santos (as holder), Fluminense, Vasco da Gama (via Copa do Brasil)
Copa Libertadores Qualifiers: Flamengo, Internacional
Copa Sudamericana: São Paulo, Figueirense, Coritiba, Botafogo, Palmeiras, Grêmio, Atlético Goianiense, Bahia
Relegated: Atlético Paranaense, Ceará, América Mineiro, Avaí

So that's it for the 2011 Brasileirão Petrobras and it's congratulations once again to Corinthians. That isn't the end of the year here at CONMEBalls, we have both legs of the Copa Sudamericana final plus we will be keeping tabs on Santos at the FIFA World Club Cup. The national competition will return mid-May 2012 but don't forget our coverage of the Campeonato Paulista and Campeonato Carioca begins in the middle of January and the 2012 Copa Libertadores gets underway in the last week of January.

I would like to thank everyone who takes the trouble to read this every week and 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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