Brazilian Futebol

News and opinion about Brazilian football (soccer).

Monday, October 23, 2006

Technical problems

Due to some unforeseen technical problems at my end, I've been unable to update the page regularly in the last couple of weeks. I hope to end this problem soon in order to return to the publishing of regular updates as soon as possible. Sorry for this inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Brazilian Serie A - round 29 preview

With a seven-point lead over Santos, Sao Paulo hosts 10th place Juventude this weekend, knowing it must get the win to stay atop the table ahead of meetings against Gremio (next week) and Santos (November 5) away from home later in the tournament. Meanwhile, Santos travels to Rio to face Botafogo, and Gremio plays a relatively easier away match, against Sao Caetano. All leaders play on Saturday - as well as Cruzeiro and Fortaleza -, with six other matches on Sunday.

Here are my views for the matches this weekend:

CRUZEIRO x FORTALEZA: Cruzeiro is in its final push for a Libertadores spot, five points behind Parana in the standings. This week the team has a moral obligation to beat Fortaleza at home, even though the visitors' play of late seems to have been better than their results would indicate. An away draw against Sao Paulo and a win over Fluminense last month should serve as a reminder that the team has the ability to pull a surprise every now and then. Cruzeiro is unbeaten in five at home, while Fortaleza has lost only three times in its last ten away games.

BOTAFOGO x SANTOS: Good wins over Corinthians and Gremio have put Santos back in the fight for the league title. The team must still overcome a seven-point deficit against Sao Paulo in ten matches to reach the top of the table. Since it will face Sao Paulo next month, the team will be in good position if it manages to beat the rivals and win all home games, getting an occasional win or at least a draw away from home. This week has a tough but not impossible matchup with Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro. The locals are coming off a 1-0 away loss to Figueirense, and will want to win this one to keep safely out of harm's way in the battle against relegation. Botafogo has won four of its last five home games, with Santos winning one of its last six away matches (with three draws and two losses).

SAO PAULO x JUVENTUDE: Leader Sao Paulo will play Juventude at home. The visitors are in midtable form thanks to their great performances at home and not so great play away from Caxias do Sul. In order to keep a comfortable lead in the standings, Sao Paulo cannot afford to lose points here, but the team must keep its focus and play seriously to do so. Unbeaten in six at home, Sao Paulo will try to hand the visitors their fifth straight away loss.

SAO CAETANO x GREMIO: Sao Caetano seems condemned to play in the Serie B next year, and its total lack of fan support only adds to their problem. Dead last in attendance figures with just over 1,500 fans showing in average for each home game (and often less), the team cannot say it truly has home advantage here. That's good news for Gremio, coming off two away losses and desperately in need of a win to keep Sao Paulo within reach in the standings. Winless in eleven, Sao Caetano has lost its last six matches (two at home). Gremio has won only once in its last five away matches.

INTERNACIONAL x FLUMINENSE: Internacional still has a slim shot at the title, but in order to keep in the race for the top of the standings, the Libertadores champion must stop drawing at home. This week the match against Fluminense shouldn't normally present too much of a challenge, but the team from Rio is determined to recover from its current poor form that has it sitting dangerously close to the relegation zone, just two points ahead of Corinthians. Inter has won three of its last four at home, after a brief four-game winless streak at the Beira-Rio. Fluminense has lost three straight overall, and is winless in five away from home.

FIGUEIRENSE x PONTE PRETA: Ponte Preta managed to temporarily escape from the bottom four, but it will have a tough time this week away at Figueirense. Having just one more point than 17th place Corinthians, the team must try to get at least a point here, something which is not impossible. Figueirense, currently eighth in the standings, usually plays well at home and will do whatever it can to get the three points. Figueirense has lost only once at home in its last ten matches in Florianopolis, while Ponte is winless in nine away from Campinas, including three straight losses.

PARANA x GOIAS: Goias' remarkable comeback has seen the team put a seven-point cushion between itself and the relegation zone it found itself in not long ago. Parana will have a tough match at home this weekend, trying to keep pace with Inter in a fight for fourth place in the standings. The title seems a bit out of reach, but the team is focused on keeping a good run to secure a place in the Libertadores in 2007. The locals have won four of their last five games overall, including three straight at home. Goias is coming off three straight wins, including an away victory. Prior to that away triumph, however, the team had an eight-game winless stint away from home.

FLAMENGO x CORINTHIANS: Amidst a crisis that reached new levels this week with the team's elimination from the Copa Sudamericana, Corinthians travels to Rio de Janeiro to face Flamengo, in a match between the two most popular teams in the country. Corinthians is currently in 17th place with 32 points, but Flamengo is not that much better, in 14th place with four more points. Another loss could mean trouble for Corinthians' coach Emerson Leao. Corinthians is winless in four overall, having lost its last two games. Flamengo lost to Palmeiras last weekend, but has won four of its last six games.

SANTA CRUZ x VASCO: Time is running out for Santa Cruz, which still finds itself in dead last, two points behind Sao Caetano. Put simply, the team cannot afford to lose more points at home, and must beat Vasco this weekend to keep its dream of remaining in the Serie A alive. The team from Rio has not been playing well lately, falling five points behind Parana in the race for the last Libertadores spot in 2007. With just two wins and seven losses in its last nine games, Santa hopes to play like it has in wins over Juventude and Palmeiras late in September. Vasco finally won last weekend, beating Fortaleza 2-0 at home after a seven-game winless streak.

PALMEIRAS x ATLETICO PARANAENSE: Atletico confirmed its role as the lone Brazilian team left in the Copa Sudamericana after a draw with River Plate on Thursday. This Sunday, the team must travel to Sao Paulo to face another tough match, against Palmeiras, which is still trying to see if interim coach Marcelo Vilar has what it takes to be in charge in place of fired coach Tite. With three straight home wins, the team looks good to get the three points again. Atletico has only two draws and a win to show for in its last nine away games.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Three Brazilian teams out, one left

Three of the four Brazilian teams which were still playing in the Copa Sudamericana have been eliminated in the round of 16 of the competition. Only one team, Atletico Paranaense, still has a chance to advance to the quarterfinals.

On Wednesday, Corinthians started the away game against Lanus well, with an early goal. By the end of the match, however, the team had lost by a 4-2 score. To make matters worse, midfielder Carlos Alberto and coach Emerson Leao exchanged insults on the pitch, making it clear that the atmosphere at the 2005 Brazilian champion dressing room is far from good. The team must now focus on trying to escape the relegation zone in the Brazilian Serie A, where it currently sits.

Fluminense also lost in Argentina, 2-0 to Gymnasia La Plata, and said farewell to the tournament. Finally, Santos was able to beat San Lorenzo 1-0 at the Vila Belmiro, but the result was not enough to revert a 3-0 beating in the first leg, two weeks ago in Argentina.

Atletico Paranaense, which beat River Plate 1-0 in Buenos Aires in the first leg, is home this Thursday for the second leg of the matchup. The Brazilian team only needs a draw to advance.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Brazil comes back from behind to beat Ecuador

After an easy 4-0 win over Kuwait on Saturday, Brazil was back on the pitch this Tuesday, facing Ecuador in a friendly in Sweden. The good Ecuador team that had already played well in the World Cup did not disappoint, and started the game by controlling the action against a lost Brazilian side. After a general failure at the Brazilian defence, Borja opened the score in the 23rd minute. Things started to change when Valencia was sent off for an elbowing infraction, six minutes later. And Brazil was lucky to get the equaliser before halftime, with Fred taking advantage of a poor clearing attempt to make it 1-1 in the 44th minute. Ronaldinho Gaucho replaced Dudu Cearense in the second half, and the team coached by Dunga quickly improved its on-field display. Ronaldinho himself set up Kaka 28 minutes into the second half to make it 2-1, as the Brazilians had full control of the game against an Ecuador team unable to overcame its one-man inferiority. Ronaldinho would still hit the crossbar twice from free kicks, and the end result would be a 2-1 win for Brazil, still unbeaten after the World Cup under coach Dunga. The next match for the National side will be next month, against Switzerland, in Basel.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Brazilian Serie A - round 28 preview

Approaching the final stretch, with 11 games left to play for each team, the 2006 Brazilian League title is still up for grabs. However, the leaders know their time to waste precious points is over, and they must get everything they can if they do not want to risk arriving at the later rounds needing a miracle to keep their title hopes alive. Round 28 can limit the title chase to two teams or bring a third one closer to the dispute. Second place Gremio travels to Santos to face a third place team that could end the weekend trailing just Sao Paulo in the standings. Sao Paulo, on the other hand, goes to Rio to face Fluminense, knowing that a win there coupled with a Santos victory would leave the team seven points clear atop the table.

Here are my views for this weekend's games:

PONTE PRETA x JUVENTUDE: Ponte remains in 17th place, two points behind Corinthians, and slowly fading into a certain relegation spot. Coming off three straight losses, the team must win this home game if it has any true hopes of remaining in the Brazilian football elite. Juventude might prove to be the perfect opponent for that, having lost its last three away games. The team from Caxias do Sul will not be an easy three points though, and could battle for at least a tie.

FLUMINENSE x SAO PAULO: After a 5-1 home win over Vasco on Wednesday, Sao Paulo restored its confidence that it can keep atop the standings to claim its fourth ever National title. This weekend the team travels to Rio, where it will face a Fluminense side which is coming off a terrible 4-1 loss in a derby against Flamengo. The visitors have a clear chance here, though they have lost their last two meetings with Fluminense in Rio for the Brazilian League.

VASCO x FORTALEZA: Vasco will try to erase the embarrassing 5-1 away loss to Sao Paulo by facing a team in the relegation zone. Winless in seven, the locals will try to halt Fortaleza's bid to remain in the Serie A. The visitors have been playing better lately, and have lost only once in their last four away games.

INTERNACIONAL x SAO CAETANO: Inter fell to fourth place, nine points behind Sao Paulo, after a 2-1 away loss to Cruzeiro on Thursday. Depending on the team's next results, Inter may all but give up on its quest for a fourth National title, concentrating on the World Club Championship to be played in December in Japan. This weekend the team has the obligation to win though, as it faces a free falling Sao Caetano side that seems condemned to play in the Second Division next year. Winless in 10 games, Sao Caetano has five straight losses that left the team in second last in the standings, with just 26 points in 27 games.

ATLETICO PARANAENSE x CRUZEIRO: Atletico has another chance to tune up its squad before the important game against River Plate for the Sudamericana. After losing 3-2 away to Juventude, the team is back home to face Cruzeiro this weekend, riding a three-game unbeaten streak at home. The visitors defeated Inter 2-1 on Thursday, but keep playing inconsistently. Prior to defeating Ponte Preta on september 24, Cruzeiro had lost seven straight away from Belo Horizonte.

SANTA CRUZ x PARANA: Santa Cruz has another tough game trying to recover to escape relegation. After a 3-0 loss away to Botafogo on Thursday, the team returns home to face Parana, which is fighting Inter for fourth place in the standings. Santa Cruz has won its last two home games, while Parana has lost six of its last seven away matches.

PALMEIRAS x FLAMENGO: Palmeiras gave the tournament new life after beating Sao Paulo and losing to Gremio, keeping the difference between the two top teams in the league at five points. Now the team must concentrate on saving itself from relegation, sitting a short three points above 17th place Ponte Preta. Returning to Sao Paulo to play at its Parque Antarctica Stadium, the team hosts Flamengo on Sunday. The visitors are coming off a good 4-1 win over arch-rivals Fluminense on Wednesday, and will certainly fight for at least a point here. The locals are unbeaten in eight at home, winning six and drawing two of those games.

GOIAS x CORINTHIANS: After a 3-0 loss at home to Santos, Corinthians travels to Goiania to face a recovering Goias side. Unbeaten in seven, Goias does not look like the team that spent 11 matches without a win earlier in the season. After a great 4-0 win at home over Gremio, the team is coming off an important 2-1 away victory over Sao Caetano on Wednesday, and could give the defending champions some trouble. The loss to Santos halted a six-game unbeaten streak by Corinthians, which will try to regroup for this important match.

FIGUEIRENSE x BOTAFOGO: Botafogo's good play of late has temporarily rewarded the team with a spot in the Copa Sudamericana next year. Currently in ninth place with 37 points, the team is tied with Figueirense, its opponent this Sunday. Seven points clear of the bottom four, these teams seem to be concentrating more on keeping their place in the continental qualification zone, and could provide for an entertaining meeting here.

SANTOS x GREMIO: The most anticipated match of round 28 is the one to close the weekend on Sunday, with third place Santos hosting second place Gremio at the Vila Belmiro Stadium. Having suffered only one loss at home all season, Santos will try to build on the good 3-0 away win over Corinthians achieved on Thursday, while Gremio tries to shake off its 4-0 loss to Goias suffered in its last away game. A draw is not that bad a result for Gremio, though the team must be worried about Sao Paulo possibly increasing its lead if it beats Fluminense on Saturday.

Santos regains third place

Santos crushed Corinthians 3-0 on Thursday, regaining third place in the standings of the Brazilian Serie A. The team benefitted from Internacional's 2-1 loss to Cruzeiro in Belo Horizonte. In the other match closing round 27 of the league, Botafogo had no mercy in giving last place Santa Cruz a 3-0 pounding in Rio de Janeiro.

After an entertaining first half in which both teams created good chances early on, Sanots had to play without captain and goalkeeper Fabio Costa since the 4th minute, when he had to leave the field injured. The team was still able to open the score in the 41st minute, on a free kick by Kleber. Corinthians' coach Emerson Leao was sent off for complaining that the free kick had been awarded unjustly. Corinthians took a more offensive approach in the second half, trying to tie the game, but was unable to solve young Felipe, who replaced Costa. Santos managed to hold on to the early lead and actually found two late goals to put the game away, with Leandro making it 2-0 in the 79th minute and Ze Roberto netting another two minutes later. The veteran player was sent off after receiving a second yellow card during his celebration of the goal.

Internacional was not able to keep pace with Sao Paulo and Gremio, and fell to fourth place in the standings after going to Belo Horizonte and losing to Cruzeiro 2-1 at the Mineirao Stadium. The locals opened the score in the 34th minute, with Wagner receiving a pass inside the box and putting the ball past Inter's goalkeeper. Ceara tied the game for the visitors in the last minute of the first half, but Ferreira pulled Cruzeiro back ahead in the 63rd minute.

Finally, Botafogo took advantage of an early goal to control Santa Cruz, finally scoring twice more in the final minutes to build a 3-0 win at the Maracana Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro. Reinaldo scored the first goal after just 8 minutes of play, with Juca (83') and Ze Roberto (89') scoring the other goals for the locals, now seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sao Paulo gets back on track

League leader Sao Paulo got back on track this Wednesday, crushing Vasco 5-1 at the Morumbi Stadium to keep 5 points ahead of second place Gremio, which beat Palmeiras 2-1 in Porto Alegre.

At the Morumbi Stadium, the locals did not take long to open the score, thanks to an own goal by Andrade after just 7 minutes. Danilo made it 2-0 in the 15th minute, as Sao Paulo showed a pace and effort that had not been apparent since the loss to Internacional in the Libertadores final. Not even Leandro Amaral's goal in the 23rd minute was enough to cool down the leaders. Fabao scored the third ten minutes later. Leandro Amaral would still be sent off before the first half was over for receiving his second yellow card of the game, and the one-man advantage would prove to be just what Sao Paulo needed to seal the fate of the game in the second half. Defender Miranda scored just after halftime to make it 4-1, and goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, coming back from suspension, gave the game its final numbers in the 63rd minute, on a perfect free kick from just outside the penalty box. By the end of the match, the less than 10,000 fans present to the stadium began chanting that the team would be the champions of Brazil this season. They can be excused after an almost perfect exhibition by their home team, but the title race is far from over.

Gremio made sure the tournament stayed open by defeating Palmeiras 2-1 at home, in a game that could have easily ended with a larger advantage for the team from Porto Alegre. From the start, the team just controlled all action in the pitch, finally opening the score in the 33rd minute, through Ramon. Juninho hit the crossbar for Palmeiras five minutes later, but that was all the visitors would get in the first half. Paulo Baier tied the game on a penalty kick soon after the start of the second half, but Gremio continued to be the better team. The locals scored again with Tcheco on a free kick, and still lost many chances before the end of the game, with Palmeiras attempting a weak pressure near the dying moments of regulation.

In other results, Flamengo came from behind to beat Fluminense 4-1 at the Maracana Stadium, with two goals by Renato and two by Obina. Tuta scored for Fluminense. Ponte Preta could not escape the relegation zone, going to Curitiba and falling 2-1 to Parana, now in fourth place. Sao Caetano also seems destined to the Serie B next year, after losing 2-1 at home to Goias to fall to second last. Fortaleza is now one point ahead of Sao Caetano after managing to hold on to a 1-1 draw with Figueirense at home. Finally, Juventude won its ninth home game of the season, beating Atletico Paranaense 3-2 in Caxias do Sul.

Three games complete round 27 on Thursday, with Corinthians playing Santos, Cruzeiro hosting Internacional and Santa Cruz travelling to Rio to face Botafogo.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Brazilian Serie A - Round 27 preview

After a break due to the Election Day on Sunday, the Brazilian Serie A returns to full steam on Wednesday and Thursday, with round 27. All teams have now caught up and played the same number of games, with Sao Paulo clearing five points at the top of the table, in a race that still includes Gremio, Internacional and Santos. Seven games are scheduled for Wednesday, with the remaining three taking place on Thursday.

Here are my views for this round's games:

JUVENTUDE x ATLETICO PARANAENSE: Atletico is still concentrating on the Copa Sudamericana, where it has beaten River Plate last week in Buenos Aires. Even then, the team managed a good scoreless draw at home against Sao Paulo last Saturday, in the made up match that had been postponed due to the Libertadores final between Sao Paulo and Inter. This Wednesday the team travels to Caxias do Sul to face Juventude, as both teams are tied for 9th place with 35 points in the standings. Juventude is coming off three straight home wins and has lost only once at home this season, while Atletico drew once and lost another in its two last away matches. Denis Marques will not play for Atletico, with Paulo Rink replacing him in attack. Juventude will be without defender Fabricio, suspended, and midfielders Renan and Marcio Azevedo, injured.

PARANA x PONTE PRETA: Parana was not able to take advantage of its game in hand against Internacional, and lost 3-2 to the gauchos in Porto Alegre last Saturday. As a result, the team failed to claim fourth place from Inter, and remains in fifth in the last Libertadores spot. This week it has an easier assignment playing at home against Ponte Preta, currently in 17th place and in the bottom four. The locals have won three of their last four home games, while Ponte has managed only a draw in its last four away matches. Parana will be without defenders Emerson and Neguette, as well as midfielder Beto, suspended. Left-back Edinho will also sit out the game, injured. Three players are injured in the Ponte side and won't be able to play: right-back Nei and midfielders Thiago and Almir.

FORTALEZA x FIGUEIRENSE: Fortaleza knows its time is short to try to mount a last-minute rally to escape relegation. A 3-1 away win over Fluminense in its last match certainly looked promising, but the team does not have enough space left for losing points, especially at home. Figueirense can be a tough opponent however, despite winning only twice in its last 10 games. The locals will field the same team that beat Fluminense, while Figueirense will have its main defenders back from suspension, Chicao and Tiago Prado, as well as defensive midfielder Carlos Alberto, who also sat out last game with a suspension.

FLAMENGO x FLUMINENSE: The traditional Rio de Janeiro derby definitely doesn't carry the same importance as other games between the clubs in the past. Being closer to the relegation zone than the title race, Flamengo and Fluminense will just try to get some points here to enhance their chances of continuing in the Serie A in 2007. Flamengo had a three-game winning streak snapped in its last game, a 3-0 loss to Santos, while Fluminense has won only once in its last 10 games. Savio will play in midfield for Flamengo, with Obina and Luizao in attack and midfielder Renato taking a more defensive positioning. Fluminense has a new coach, with Paulo Cesar Gusmao making his debut in place of departed Antonio Lopes. Left back Marcelo will not play, but Petkovic may return.

GREMIO x PALMEIRAS: Gremio tries to recover from a humbling 4-0 away defeat to Goias by hosting Palmeiras. The locals have won their last seven home games, and that might prove enough to push the team to another victory here. The visitors have lost their last three away games, but will try to repeat the performance shown in its their last game, a 3-1 win over Sao Paulo just two days after coach Tite was fired by the team's board. Edmundo, Enilton and Wendel are out injured for Palmeiras. For Gremio, defensive midfielder Lucas is suspended, while forward Leo Lima is out after undergoing knee surgery. Important midfielder Hugo is back from suspension though.

SAO PAULO x VASCO: A loss and a draw in its last two games wasn't exactly how Sao Paulo wanted to have ended the month of September. Despite the small setback, the team still finds itself five points ahead of Gremio to lead the league. The team must start winning again though, or risk losing the title in the final 12 rounds still left to play. On Wednesday Sao Paulo faces Vasco at home. The visitors have drawn their last six games, and are looking to get back into the Libertadores qualification zone. Aloisio returns to the team's attack from injury, while goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni comes back after serving a one-match ban. Defensive midfielder Mineiro is out, called up to the Brazil squad that will face Kuwait and Ecuador this week. Leandro Amaral will start his first game in Vasco's attack, while Ramon leaves the midfield with an injury to his left ankle. Vasco's last win against Sao Paulo at the Morumbi was in 1989, when the team won the National title with a 1-0 win.

SAO CAETANO x GOIAS: Sao Caetano will have another tough battle in its quest to remain in the Brazilian football elite. Despite playing at home, the team faces a resurgent Goias side that beat Gremio 4-0 in its last outing. Tied for 18th place with just 26 points, the locals have not won in their last four home games. Goias is unbeaten in six, including two draws away from home. Full-back Triguinho returns to the home team, after one month out with a muscle injury, but midfielder Caninde is out suspended. Goias will be without defender Rogerio Correa, injured, with Cleber Gaucho and Leonardo returning to the team.

CRUZEIRO x INTERNACIONAL: Internacional will try to keep close to the title race when it travels to Belo Horizonte to face Cruzeiro. After a thrilling 3-2 win over Parana last weekend, Inter is now six points behind Sao Paulo and just one behind its crosstown rivals Gremio. Defeating Cruzeiro at the Mineirao Stadium is never easy however, despite the team's poor form this season. Cruzeiro is unbeaten in four at home, while Inter is coming off two straight away losses. Cruzeiro will use the same team that beat Ponte Preta in its last outing, while Inter will be without left-back Hidalgo, who's with the Peruvian National team, and defensive midfielder Perdigao, suspended. Defensive midfielder Edinho is questionable, since he's still recovering from a muscle injury.

CORINTHIANS x SANTOS: The local Sao Paulo State derby features a recovering Corinthians side against a Santos team that must win or practically give up on any title hope it may have. Unbeaten in six, the locals have managed to climb out of the relegation zone, even if just by two points currently. Santos has managed only two wins in its last six games, and has been slowly distancing itself from leader Sao Paulo. The last game was a convincing 3-0 win over Flamengo, however, and coach Wanderley Luxemburgo hopes it will be enough to fire up the team for the final stretch in the league. Corinthians has the worst attack in the league, with just 25 goals for, while Santos boasts the best defense, with 24 goals against. Betao, Eduardo Ratinho and Carlos Alberto are suspended for Corinthians, with Edson and Gustavo Nery out injured. Santos will be without forwards Reinaldo and Jonas and defender Manzur.

BOTAFOGO x SANTA CRUZ: Botafogo's good play of late has seen the team create some insurance ahead of the bottom four, and the team is now even dreaming about reaching a Libertadores spot by reaching Parana, currently six points ahead. The traditional Rio de Janeiro side has a good chance for three points on Thursday, when it hosts last place Santa Cruz. The visitors are trying to put together a comeback, however, and have won two straight games. Even then, Santa is still eight points behind the team currently in 16th place in the standings, Corinthians. Left-back Junior Cesar is out suspended for the locals, while defender Valenca and defensive midfielder Junior Maranhao are injured for Santa Cruz.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Inter holds on to defeat Parana

Internacional managed to get three points out of the home game against Parana that had been postponed due to the Libertadores Cup final. The result lifted the team past Santos and into third place in the standings, with 44 points. The team from Porto Alegre is now six points behind Sao Paulo, which went to Curitiba and had to settle for a scoreless draw against Atletico Paranaense, in the other postponed game that was made up this weekend. Due to the Brazilian general elections on Sunday, these were the only two games played in the Brazilian Serie A this weekend.

Inter started its game well, and built a 3-0 lead in the first half at the Beira-Rio Stadium. All three goals were scored by defenders, with Indio netting the first after just nine minutes and Fabiano Eller scoring twice, in the 22nd and 31st minutes. The visitors came back in the second half but fell just short after Cristiano (76') and Sandro (89') had goals to give the locals a scare.

Meanwhile, in Curitiba, Atletico and Sao Paulo were unable to find the net. Both teams managed to create good chances during the first half, but failed when it came to placing the final touch in the ball. Goalkeepers Cleber and Bosco - replacing Sao Paulo's captain Rogerio Ceni, suspended - were sharp and made key saves in different moments of the initial 45 minutes. In the second half, the teams concentrated their actions in midfield and failed to create many scoring opportunities. The result left Sao Paulo with 50 points, five clear of second place Gremio.