Brazilian Futebol

News and opinion about Brazilian football (soccer).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Flamengo gives Sao Paulo a gift

Flamengo beat Cruzeiro 3-1 on Wednesday at the Maracana Stadium, in a match that had been postponed from the 16th round of the Brazilian Serie A soccer league. The result not only helped Flamengo move a little bit further away from the relegation zone, but also prevented Cruzeiro from closing the gap to league leaders Sao Paulo. With the loss, the team from Belo Horizonte remains with 45 points, nine less than Sao Paulo, with 54.

Right-back Leonardo Moura opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a powerful shot from just outside the penalty box. Forward Souza made it 2-0 twenty minutes into the second half, Guilherme gave new hope to Cruzeiro with eight minutes to go, but Obina confirmed the win for the locals with a goal in the 88th minute.

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Brazil finally solves Mexico

After a couple of losses to Mexico, Brazil finally restablished the normal state of affairs with a 3-1 win in a friendly match between the two teams in Boston on Wednesday. The last loss to the Mexicans had happened in June, when Brazil opened its campaign at the Copa America with a 2-0 defeat. The team would come back to win the title. Mexico had also won the previous matchup between the two countries, in 2005, also by a 2-0 score. In recent years, Brazil also lost to Mexico in the Gold Cup (1996 and 2003) and Confederations Cup (1999).

Mexico looked like it would win another game when it opened the score in the dying moments of the first half, with Guardado. But Brazil was lucky to tie the game one minute later with Kleber, avoiding going to the dressing room trailing at halftime. Brazil slowly took control of the game in the second half, and went ahead at the 80th minute, when Kaka made it 2-1. Afonso scored the third at the 87th minute, when Brazil was down to ten men - Elano had been sent off.

The 3-1 win made it a perfect North American tour for coach Dunga. On Sunday Brazil had beaten the United States by a 4-2 score, in Chicago. The coach now feels his team is ready to open the 2010 World Cup qualifying games next month. The Brazilians will face Colombia in their debut, away from home, on October 14.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sao Paulo increases lead

Defending champions Sao Paulo increased the lead atop the Brazilian Serie A soccer league after a scoreless draw with Atletico Mineiro on the road on Wednesday. The leaders are now nine points clear of second place Cruzeiro, which lost 1-0 to Juventude on the road. Sao Paulo reached 51 points in 24 games, while Cruzeiro has 42 in 23 matches.

In a game with few goal chances created by both sides, the visitors were happy to leave with a point, after goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni defended a penalty kick taken by Coelho in the 90th minute. Before that, Sao Paulo had hit the post and crossbar during the game, but failed to create much else against a well-positioned Atletico.

Third place Vasco fell to Gremio 3-1 in Porto Alegre, being overtaken by Santos in the standings. Santos now has the same 39 points as Vasco, but with one more victory, after beating Internacional 2-1. In other games, Corinthians had a hard time beating America Natal at home, 1-0, while Goias was beaten at home by Atletico Paranaense, 3-2. Finally, Flamengo got out of the relegation zone thanks to a 4-1 victory over Figueirense at the Maracana Stadium.

Three matches complete the 24th round on Thursday. Botafogo hosts Palmeiras, Parana plays Nautico at home and Fluminense goes to Recife to face Sport.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cruzeiro hopes rivals can win

In Brazil, team rivalries are stronger within particular cities. Thus, someone who cheers for Flamengo will basically prefer any team to win but Vasco, Fluminense or Botafogo, the other big teams in Rio de Janeiro. In Sao Paulo, the rivalry is set for Corinthians, Palmeiras, Sao Paulo and, to a lesser extent, Santos. In Porto Alegre, it's Inter and Gremio. And in Belo Horizonte, it's Cruzeiro and Atletico Mineiro. rarely will you see someone from Atletico cheering for Cruzeiro, or vice-versa. This Wednesday might be one of these days, however.

Trailing sao Paulo by eight points, Cruzeiro travels to Caxias do Sul to play Juventude, hoping to get three points to close the gap to the leaders. Meanwhile, in Belo Horizonte, Cruzeiro's crosstown rivals Atletico face no one other than Sao Paulo. A win by both teams from Belo Horizonte would cut the lead to five points, with Cruzeiro still holding a game in hand. For Sao Paulo, a draw on the road will not be considered that bad.

The defending champion is worried about what may happen away from the pitch though, as the country's Sport Court signalled with the possibility of punishing the team for an incident during the game against Goias last month, in Goiania. Even though the game was not played at Sao Paulo's Morumbi Stadium, the court is saying that a Sao Paulo fan invaded the pitch and put the players and referees at risk. The team could be punished with the loss of up to ten home games, which would either be played at a neutral venue or with closed gates.

In other games in the 24th round of the Brazilian Serie A soccer league, Corinthians hosts America Natal with the moral obligation of getting the three points at home. Atletico Paranaense travels to Goiania to face Goias, while Flamengo is at home to Figueirense needing a win to get out of the bottom four. Santos will try to recover from the 2-0 loss to Corinthians when it plays Inter at home. Gremio tries to build on the 3-0 win over Botafogo playing another team from Rio in Porto Alegre: Vasco. Fluminense travels to Recife to face Sport, Parana is at home to Nautico and Botafogo hosts a shaken Palmeiras, which is still trying to understand how it lost to Cruzeiro 5-0.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Brazilian Serie A - 23rd round

Three games on Saturday and seven on Sunday make up the 23rd round of the Brazilian Serie A. On Saturday, leaders Sao Paulo host Parana trying to keep the comfortable eight point lead atop the standings. America Natal and Juventude make a relegation zone matchup in Natal. And Flamengo tries to remain outside of the bottom four when it hosts Sport at the Maracana.

On Sunday, a desperate Corinthians hosts Santos, aware it can return to the bottom four soon if it keeps playing like in the last two games - 3-0 loss to Cruzeiro at home and 5-2 loss to Atletico Mineiro on the road. Speaking of Atletico Mineiro, the team travels to Curitiba to face the other Atletico, Paranaense. Second place Cruzeiro hosts Palmeiras, which fell to sixth with the loss to Sao Paulo in the last game. Gremio tries to overcome the impact of a 2-0 road loss to Sport when it faces fourth place Botafogo in Porto Alegre. Internacional travels to Recife to play Nautico, after falling 4-1 to Fluminense at home on Wednesday. Fluminense returns to Rio, where it will play third place Vasco in the local Rio derby. Finally, Goias hosts Figueirense in Goiania.
UPDATE: Several high-scoring matches, with leaders Sao Paulo beating Parana 6-0 and Cruzeiro crushing Palmeiras 5-0. Juventude had a good 3-0 road win over America, while Flamengo and Sport tied 1-1 at the Maracana. Atletico Paranaense momentarily left the relegation zone with a 1-0 win over Atletico Mineiro, and Gremio had a strong 3-0 home win over Botafogo. Corinthians surprised Santos 2-0, while Goias beat Figueirense 2-1. Inter had to settle for a 1-1 road draw with Inter, the same score of Vasco and Fluminense at the Maracana.

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