Brazilian Futebol

News and opinion about Brazilian football (soccer).

Monday, December 03, 2007

Second most popular team in the country is relegated

And so the 2007 Brazilian Serie A championship came to an end on Sunday, with Sao Paulo repeating as champions and winning its fifth ever National title. The team coached by Muricy Ramalho had been crowned four games before the end of the season, and tied once and lost twice in its three last games - including a 2-1 away defeat to Atletico Paranaense on Sunday. The big story of the last round of play was the fight against relegation to the Serie B. Which two teams would join Juventude and America in the Brazilian Second Division in 2008?

Corinthians, the second most popular team in the country, entered the last Sunday of the season one point ahead of Goias, itself one point in front of Parana. But Parana quickly gave up all hope of remaining in the Serie A, losing 3-0 on the road to Vasco, a result that also placed the team from Rio de Janeiro in next year's Copa Sudamericana. So the last spot in the Serie A would belong to either Corinthians or Goias.

Both teams tried to gain an advantage by delaying the start of their games, only entering the field fifteen minutes after the games were scheduled to start. By starting their games later, they hoped to learn about the result in their opponent's match and play accordingly to avoid relegation. But these tactics were of little help, since both teams did the same and nearly cancelled all advantage the other team could have had. In the end, Corinthians started its game two minutes later than Goias. But by conceding a goal in the first minute of play, Corinthians quickly fell behind 1-0 to Gremio in Porto Alegre. Goias soon conceded a goal to Internacional at home in Goiania, keeping the team from Sao Paulo one point ahead in the standings. Before the first half was over, however, Goias would tie the game, only to have Corinthians do the same one minute later. After the end of the first half, everything was like when the day began for the two teams.

In the second half, however, Goias went ahead 2-1 after taking a penalty kick three times - in the first two tries, Inter's goalkeeper Clemer defended the shots by Goias' Paulo Baier, only to see the referee call the shots back claiming Clemer had taken a step forward before the ball was kicked. corinthians fans started to despair after learning of the goal, and the team pressed forward in the final minutes of play trying to get a goal that would keep the team in the Brazilian soccer elite. This goal would never come, however, and the game finished on a 1-1 tie. For the first time ever in its 97 year-old history, the four-time Brazilian National champion and most popular team in the State of Sao Paulo had been relegated to the Brazilian Second Division.

Coritiba, Ipatinga, Portuguesa and Vitoria were promoted from the Serie B.

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