The first leg of the 2010 Copa do Brasil (Brazilian Cup) final between Santos FC and Esporte Clube Vitória took place in the former’s home stadium of the Estádio Urbano Caldeira last night and it was to be the home side who would be celebrating a first leg 2-0 advantage at the end of ninety minutes. Neymar, who is the top scorer in this year’s competition, scored his eleventh goal of the tournament, and the first goal of the game, after just fourteen minutes nonchalantly guiding the ball home after a cross from the right-hand side of the field from full-back Para. Inbetween Santos’ first and second goals there were a glut of chances wasted by the home side and it’s fair to say that the tie could’ve been as good as over had not been for a combination of wasted opportunities and some good goalkeeping from Lee in the Vitória goal, an example of the latter came in the 72nd minute when a penalty from Neymar was saved after the striker had tried to trick him. Despite his good work he allowed a potentially vital second goal to be scored in the 83rd minute when substitute Marquinhos curled home a beautiful free-kick to give Santos the cushion they needed going into next week’s second leg, which will be played in the Estádio Barradão in the city of Salvador next Wednesday.
Watch Santos FC – EC Vitória 1st leg highlights HERE:
The first legs of the Copa Libertadores have been played and both fixtures are finely poised ahead of the second legs which will be played next week. The all-Brazilian contest in Porto Alegre on Wednesday finished with 2006 champions Internacional grinding out a slender 1-0 win against four-time winners São Paulo in the Estádio José Pinheiro Borba. The goal came midway through the second half for Inter after some good work around the box led to the ball finding its way to the feet of Giuliano whose shot from just inside the 18 yard box hit the inside of a post before hitting the back of the net. On Tuesday Chileans Universidad de Chile and Mexicans Chivas Guadalajara finished in a 1-1 draw with both goals being scored early in the second half. Rafael Olarra gave the visiting Universidad side the lead after he took advantage of Chivas’ inability to clear a free-kick but la U, as the Chileans are more popularly known, barely had five minutes to enjoy the lead as the home side equalized in the 52nd minute when Omar Arellano tucked the ball home from a couple of yards out after Omar Bravo’s header was saved by Universidad keeper Miguel Perez. The second legs take place next week with Universidad de Chile hosting their second leg with Guadalajara on Tuesday, August 3rd whilst the all-Brazilian second leg takes place in São Paulo two days later.
Watch Internacional – São Paulo highlights HERE:
Watch Chivas Guadalajara – Universidad de Chile highlights HERE:
In front of 57,000 fans at the Stade 7 Novembre in Tunis old foes Olympique Marseille and Paris Saint Germain contested the Trophée des Champions, the French domestic Super Cup competition, and it was the league champions from Marseille who edged it thanks to a penalty shoot-out after the game had finished 0-0 in what was an uninspiring contest. After the 2009 edition of this trophy was played in Montreal, Canada the French Football Federation had decided to keep the show on the road and it was played in the Tunisian capital in front of a crowd who seemed to be routing for l’OM to win. PSG’s Péguy Luyindula missed the first penalty of the shoot out but parity was restored when Lucho González missed Marseille’s third kick of the series. However their angst at missing that penalty wouldn’t last so long as Ludovic Giuly missed the final kick for the Parisiens allowing Édouard Cissé, a former PSG player, to tuck home the winning spot kick for the Marseillais and secure the Super Cup outright for the first time in their proud history. The only other occasion OM had triumphed in this competition was back in 1971 after they shared the trophy with Stade Rennais following a drawn contest.
WATCH THE PENALTY SHOOT OUT HERE:
WATCH THE TROPHY PRESENTATION HERE:
It’s very rare that the Icelandic League, popularly known as the Úrvalsdeild, enjoys a moment in the world footballing spotlight but it is so, at the moment, thanks to a very original and hilarious goal celebration. The You Tube website has already had nearly two million hits for this video since it was posted two days ago and has shared with the world what could arguably be the greatest goal celebration of all time. The match was played between Stjarnan FC, from the town of Garðabær just outside the capital of Reykjavik, and Íþróttafélagið Fylkir from the eastern side of the capital. The game was tied at 1-1 when the home side Stjarnan won a penalty in stoppage time which Halldór Orri Björnsson scored with great aplomb. The goal and the resulting celebration can be seen in the video at the bottom of the page.
Do you have any better celebrations? Share your opinion and comment here.
Following the exit of Estudiantes de La Plata from the competition at the quarter-final stage the Copa Libertadores will have a new champion this year. In the semi-finals there will be an all-Brazil affair ensuring that the country supplies a finalist in the tournament for the sixth consecutive year. In the other semi-final two surprise teams from Chile and Mexico will face off in the hope that they can go all the way to the final. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog previews both matches, which are played over two legs.
The first semi-final is an all-Brazilian contest which also happens to be a repeat of the 2006 Copa Libertadores final. On that occasion Internacional of Porto Alegre got the better of defending champions São Paulo winning 4-3 on aggregate and a similar result is what Inter will be after this time if they are to maintain hopes of winning the trophy for a second time. São Paulo, however, have much experience in this competition and are hoping to be triumphant in this tournament for a fourth time. A look at the Campeonato Brasileiro table at the moment shows Internacional going well in 4th place, five points behind leaders Corinthians whilst São Paulo are languishing in 15th place after an inconsistent start. However one shouldn’t take the Tricolor lightly as they have made a habit in recent years of starting slowly in the Brazilian championship in order to concentrate on South America’s biggest prize before ultimately improving at the business end of the domestic season to secure a top four finish and qualify for the following season’s Libertadores. São Paulo also have one of the top scorers in this year’s tournament in the form of Washington who has scored five times and who is determined to make up for the defeat he suffered with Fluminense at the hands of LDU Quito in the 2008 Copa Libertadores final.
The other semi-final features two teams never to have won the Copa Libertadores and are looking to make their own bit of club history by reaching the final of the competition for the very first time. Universidad de Chile have only reached the semi-final stage on two other occasions, the most recent being in 1996 when they went out to eventual winners River Plate. Their opponents Guadalajara were semi-finalists as recently as 2005 but they were defeated 5-2 on aggregate by Atlético Paranaense and have had limited success at international level, only winning a CONCACAF Champions’ Cup title as far back as 1962. In this year’s tournament Guadalajara didn’t have to compete in the group stage due to accepting an invitation to return to the competition after they were forced to withdraw from the 2009 tournament because of the outbreak of swine flu. Universidad got through their quarter-final tie against Brazilian giants Flamengo by defeating the Rubro-Negro on away goals while Guadalajara just got the better of Paraguayan team Libertad coming through with a 3-2 aggregate scoreline. Domestically Universidad de Chile are in good form at the moment lying in second place just two points behind Colo-Colo whilst Guadalajara’s first match in the 2010 Torneo Apertura finished in a goalless draw at home to Puebla FC.
COPA LIBERTADORES SEMI-FINALS 2010
Guadalajara v Universidad de Chile (27/07/10)
Internacional v São Paulo (28/07/10)
Universidad de Chile v Guadalajara (03/08/10)
São Paulo v Internacional (05/08/10)
The league championships of Croatia, Romania and Moldova kicked off this weekend whilst some countries league championships are a couple of weeks old now. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the best of the recent action across Europe.
Croatia’s Prva Liga saw the big two, Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split, record big victories this weekend and, thus, began the new season in their usual place at the top of the table. Champions Dinamo easily saw off the challenge of newly-promoted Hrvatski Dragovoljac 4-1 with all the goals coming in the first forty-five minutes. Cup holders Hajduk did better beating NK Istra 6-1 with brothers Anas and Ahmad Sharbini both getting on the scoresheet.
In Romania both defending champions CFR Cluj and their rivals Unirea Urziceni could only muster goalless draws away at Universitatea Craiova and Pandurii Târgu Jiu respectively. This left the door open for three clubs from the capital Bucharest to go above them with Rapid, Dinamo and Steaua among the early pacesetters beating FC Vaslui, FC Astra and Universitea Cluj respectively.
In Moldova champions FC Sheriff Tiraspol have set the ball rolling for another anticipated season of dominance with an easy 3-0 home win against local rivals FC Tiraspol with all the goals coming in the second half. Zimbru Chişinău, who were the dominant force in Moldovan football until FC Sheriff began their run of success, also won their opening match by three goals to nil against FC Sfintul Gheorghe.
The Ukrainian Premier League is three matches old now and the only team with a prefect 100% record is FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk preserving this record with a 5-1 rout of FC Illichivets Mariupol thanks in part to Yevhen Seleznyov who scored a hat-trick. The big two of Dynamo Kyiv and champions Shakhtar Donetsk are still unbeaten after victories this weekend against Metalist Kharkiv and FC Zorya Luhansk respectively kept them two points off the summit. Arsenal Kyiv lost their 100% record this weekend going down to a 1-0 home defeat against PFC Sevastopol.
In Switzerland defending champions FC Basel have set the tone after two games after their 2-1 win over FC Sion ensured that they were the only team with a 100% record.
In neighbouring Austria Sturm Graz, Wiener Neustadt and Austria Wien also have perfect starts to the season after two matches beating FC Kapfenberg, Rapid Wien and LASK Linz respectively on matchday two of the new Bundesliga season.
The Estonian Meistriliiga saw a heavyweight contest at the top of the table with old foes Levadia and FC Flora fighting it out in the Tallinn Derby. The gap between the two clubs was six points before the match with FC Flora, in second place, having played three games fewer than their opponents who have won the league in each of the last four seasons. The game started well with an early goal for Levadia’s Konstantin Nahk who put the home side ahead after six minutes and the game would stay like that until midway through the second half when Flora’s Henri Anier restored parity and bring the hosts level. Tarmo Neemelo looked to have won the game for Levadia after his goal thirteen minutes from time regained the lead for the champions but Flora saved their title dreams when Sander Post equalised in stoppage time to give the visitors a share of the points. Third place Trans Narva FC’s 2-0 win over Tulevik Vijandi FC took them level on points with Flora but they have also played three games more than the capital side so Flora may fancy their chances of catching up to Levadia in the table.
In neighbouring Latvia there were wins for the big three this weekend as Liepājas Metalurgs, FK Ventspils and Skonto Riga all predictably won their games to keep things as you were in the Virsliga. Champions Metalurgs won 4-0 at home to FK Jauniba Riga with Croatian defender Jurica Puljiz scoring a brace whilst arch rivals FK Ventspils remained on top of the table after a 2-0 victory against FK Tranzits in the derby of Ventspils. Skonto Riga went behind to an early Lasa Gongadze strike in the twelfth minute before Alexandr Starkovs’ men came back to rout local rivals Olimps/RFS by six goals to one with Brazilian Nathan Junior keeping up his goal form scoring a brace. FK Ventspils have 34 points from 13 matches but Skonto have a game in hand and are only three points behind. Liepājas Metalurgs have 27 points from 13 games and have some way to go if they are to defend their championship title.
FK Ekranas still continue to lead the way in Lithuania’s A-Lyga but they had Dominykas Galkevicius to thank for maintaining their five point lead at the top of the standings after they beat FK Atletas Kaunas by a solitary goal to nil. Žalgiris Vilnius are hanging on their coat tails after dispatching of FK Mažeikiai by six goals to nil thanks mainly to the contribution of Artūras Jeršovas who scored four times. FK Ekranas have 41 points from 16 games with Žalgiris on 36 having played a game more whilst in third place lie FK Sūduva Marijampole who could only draw 0-0 away at FK Šiauliai at the weekend and have 33 points from 16 matches.
Three months after Pachuca C.F. became champions of the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League, the big kick-off for the 2010-11 season in North and Central America’s elite club tournament begins on July 27. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog looks ahead to this season’s competition and previews the preliminary round fixtures which are played ahead of the group stage which commences from August 17-19.
Mexican teams continued their recent dominance of this competition in 2010 when the four semi-finalists all hailed from that particular country. Out of the four it was Pachuca who won the title after Édgar Benítez scored deep into stoppage time in the second leg of a close final to beat Cruz Azul on away goals (2-1; 0-1). The champions won’t be there to defend their title this time as there is no automatic qualification foor the title holders in this competition and they failed to be one of the four best teams in Mexican football last season.
Last season’s losing finalists Cruz Azul have qualified for the tournament after finishing runners up in the 2009 Torneo Apertura and will be amongst the first teams to play in this week’s preliminary round playing against San Francisco, Torneo Clausura 2010 runners up from Panama. The other Mexican side playing this week are Santos Laguna who have an away tie against Trinidad & Tobago’s San Juan Jabloteh, who finished third in the 2010 CFU Club Championship (featured previously on Stoppage Time). Two teams from Major League Soccer must also play at this stage with Landon Donovan’s Los Angeles Galaxy playing against CFU Club champions Puerto Rico Islanders whilst Seattle Sounders, who qualified after winning the US Open Cup in their maiden season as an MLS club, play against El Salvador Clausura 2010 champion Isidro Metapán.
Toronto FC is another Major League Soccer side that have qualified for this tournament but could only do through the Canadian Championship as rules bar them, or any other Canadian team, from qualifying through the MLS system. They get their campaign underway against C.D. Motagua from Honduras hoping to become the first Canadian team to qualify for the group stage since Montreal Impact did so in 2008-09. Three more matches complete the set of qualifying matches as C.D. FAS (El Salvador) play C.S.D. Xelajú (Guatemala), Brujas FC (Costa Rica) face CFU runners up Joe Public FC (T&T) and Tauro FC (Panama) against C.D. Marathón (Honduras). First legs are played between July 27-29 and the return fixtures are decided between August 3-5.
The group stages of the competition begin from August 17-19 with eight teams – C.F. Monterrey (Mexico), Deportivo Toluca (Mexico), Columbus Crew (USA), Real Salt Lake (USA), C.D. Saprissa (Costa Rica), C.D. Olimpia (Honduras), C.S.D. Municipal (Guatemala) and Arabe Unido (Panama)- qualifying automatically for this stage due to their successes at domestic level.
Current Belgian champions RSC Anderlecht won the Belgian Super Cup on Friday night after a goal from Cheikhou Kouyaté was enough to give Les Mauves a 1-0 victory in their own Stade Constant Vanden Stock in Brussels against Belgian Cup holders K.A.A. Gent. The victory means that Anderlecht have won the Super Cup for the ninth time in the club’s history with only arch-rivals Club Brugge having won it more times. K.A.A. Gent, on the other hand, have still yet to triumph in the competition after losing both times they’ve participated. The goal came on the half-hour mark with Anderlecht breaking on the counter attack following a Gent corner kick. The ball was played to Lucas Biglia in the midfield who ran into the opposition half with it before passing the perfect through ball to Kouyaté who coolly put it past the keeper first time rather than go around the keeper which, to some observers, looked more likely from the position he was in. The game was played a week before the new Jupiler League season kicks off and the opening day will see champions Anderlecht at home to newly promoted AS Eupen whilst Gent, who finished the 2009-10 season in third place, start their campaign away at KSC Lokeren OV.
See the goal which decided the Belgian Super Cup HERE:
A player has been suspended for twenty-seven matches after he attacked a referee in a Chilean second division game at the weekend. A game between Club Deportes de Concepción and Club Social Deportes Rangers in the former’s stadium stood at 2-0 for the home team with 77 minutes gone after Concepción’s second goal came about from a penalty that had been taken three times before the fourth attempt was given by the referee. This incensed the Rangers players and José Pedroso in particular who, after the referee had given a foul against his team a couple of minutes after the goal, took the law into his own hands and grabbed hold of referee Marcelo Miranda around the neck. Not surprisingly the player was shown the red card and he has stated since the incident that he is not sorry for what he did, expressing further his wishes to get out of football altogether. Just as well seeing as FIFA, if they wished, could ban the player for life over the incident. Nonetheless his sending-off certainly did nothing to help Rangers cause as they eventually went down to a 3-0 reverse and have taken just one point from the last nine league games. See the video HERE: