Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Brazil: Fluminense and Santos amongst many to defend state titles

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on January 12, 2013

It’s that time of the year again when local pride is at stake in the numerous state championships which are prevalent in the opening months of the Brazilian football calendar. From Amapá in the far north to Rio Grande do Sul in the south, from Acre in the west to Paraíba in the far east of the country, twenty seven regions of Brazil will be involved in their own local championship, mixing the big boys with the smaller village teams, with each club hoping to win their respective title and qualify for a place in next year’s edition of the national cup, the Copa Brasil.

The Rio State championship, more popularly known as Carioca, will begin next weekend with the first of the two component tournaments which make up the competition. The first of these is the Taça Guanabara (from 19th January – 10th March) which sees sixteen teams split into two groups. Each club will play the eight teams in the opposite group only once, culminating in a straight knockout between the top two of each group comprising of single leg semi-finals and final. Almost as soon as the action in the Taça Guanabara is finished the second half begins with the Taça Rio (16th March – 5th May). Each team will, in this competition, play the other seven teams in its own group once only with the top two in each group going through to a knockout stage just like in the Guanabara. If the same team wins both competitions then they are instantly crowned Carioca champions for the year. If the Guanabara and the Rio competitions see different winners then they will face off in a two-legged final to decide the overall champion of Rio State on May 12th and 19th. In 2012 Fluminense claimed the Guanabara title whilst Botafogo were victorious in the Rio Cup, thus both clubs met in an overall title decider which was won by Fluminense 5-2 on aggregate. “Flu” therefore took the Carioca title for the 31st time, leaving them just one behind old rivals Flamengo, and went on to enjoy national glory in the Campeonato Brasiliero later that year to complete a remarkable double.

WATCH 2012 CARIOCA FINAL, 2ND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

The other major state championship in Brazil is in São Paulo state, known as the Paulista. The duration of this tournament is the same as the Carioca beginning on January 19th and running until May 19th. The format of this competition is rather more straightforward than its Rio counterpart with a twenty team league, each team playing the rest once only. After 19 rounds of games the top eight go through to the knockout stages with the quarter-final and semi-final rounds played over one leg followed by a two-legged final. In the 2012 competition Santos finished in third place in the regular season table but managed to win their way through each of the knock-out rounds to take their 20th Paulista title, their third consecutive success at state level, by getting the better of Guarani in the final with a 7-2 aggregate victory.

WATCH 2012 PAULISTA FINAL, 2ND LEG HIGHLIGHTS:

There are some other notable state championships outside of the big two but many of these will contain an outstanding rivalry which has been the focus for many a tournament over the years. In the Mineiro championship, played in the state of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte giants Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro have won 77 of the 95 tournaments that have been played to date and their dominance is expected to continue this year. Atlético sealed their 41st title success last year with a 4-1 aggregate win over América in the final. Similarly, the Gaúcho championship will no doubt see the Porto Alegre rivalry between Grêmio and Internacional light up the campaign. Internacional will be hoping to reclaim the title they’ve won for the last two years, in 2012 courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate over Caxias in the final, but arch-rivals Grêmio are expected to put up a fight this time around. There’s more than just local bragging rights at stake for two clubs who have won all but two Gaúcho championships that have been played since 1954.

The Campeonato Paranaense was won in 2012 by Coritiba FC for the fourth time in five years as they faced off against eternal foes Atlético Paranaense in the final. Coritiba won out the penalty shoot-out which followed the second leg following an aggregate tie of 2-2 to claim the club’s 36th state title. It was back to business as usual in the Campeonato Baiano in 2012 as the big two of EC Vitória and EC Bahia fought out a tense final. Following Bahia de Feira’s shock maiden title win in 2011, the big two took it upon themselves to re-establish the old order in 2012 by reaching the final. Ultimately it was EC Bahia who emerged triumphant as they won the Baiano for the 44th time; the two-legged final against EC Vitória ended in a 3-3 aggregate draw but, due to the rules of the competition, Bahia’s superior record in the regular season won them the championship.

At this time of year we usually mention the Potiguar championship, held in the Rio Grande do Norte region, because of the dominance of ABC FC. The record champions at state level, ABC FC have won their local championship 52 times but they were unable to add to this total last year. América de Natal won their first Potiguar for nine years in 2012 by defeating ABC FC 4-1 in the final to claim their 34th overall win. Both of last year’s Potiguar finalists will sit it out during the first phase of this year’s championship, having a bye until the competition reaches its second phase in March.

WATCH 2012 POTIGUAR FINAL, 2ND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

Brazil: Easy as ABC as State Championships set for kick off (video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on January 13, 2012

It’s that time of the year again when local pride is at stake in the numerous state championships which are prevalent in the opening months of the Brazilian football calendar. From Amapá in the far north to Rio Grande do Sul in the south, from Acre in the west to Paraíba in the far east of the country, twenty seven regions of Brazil will be involved in their own local championship, mixing the big boys with the smaller village teams, with each club hoping to win their respective title and qualify for a place in next year’s edition of the national cup, Copa Brazil.

The Rio State championship, more popularly known as Carioca, will begin next weekend with the first of the two component tournaments which make up the competition. The first of these is the Taça Guanabara (from 21st January – 26th February) which sees sixteen teams split into two groups. Each team plays the other seven teams in its own group once only with the top two in each group going through to a knockout round comprising of one leg semi-finals and final. Almost as soon as the action in the Taça Guanabara is finished the second half begins with the Taça Rio (29th February – 22nd April). Again the sixteen teams are split into two groups of eight but this time each club will play each of the eight teams in the opposite group once only. After eight games in the league phase there is another knockout phase involving the top two of each group using the same format as the Guanabara. If the same team wins both competitions then they are crowned Carioca champions. If the Guanabara and the Rio competitions see different winners then they will face off in a two-legged final to decide the overall champion of Rio State. In 2011 Flamengo won both competitions and took the overall Carioca title for a record extending 32nd time. This time around the likes of 30-times winners Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco da Gama will hope to reclaim the title from the Mengão.

The other major state championship in Brazil is in São Paulo state, known to all and sundry as the Paulista. The duration of this tournament is longer than the Carioca beginning on January 21st and running until the May 13th. The format of this competition is rather more straightforward than its Rio counterpart with a twenty team league, each team playing the rest once only. After 19 rounds of games the top eight go through to the knockout rounds with the quarter-final and semi-final stages played over one leg followed by a two-legged final. In the 2011 competition Santos finished in fourth place in the regular season table but managed to win their way through each of the knock-out rounds to take their 19th Paulista title by getting the better of arch rivals Corinthians in the final. Following a goalless first leg Santos won the return fixture 2-1 at home and claimed the first of two major titles in that year with the club also going on to lift the Copa Libertadores. In 2011 the likes of record Paulista champions Corinthians, São Paulo and Palmeiras will be determined to add to the honours board.

There are some other notable state championships outside of the big two but many of these will contain an outstanding rivalry which has been the focus for many a tournament over the years. In the Mineiro championship, played in the state of Minas Gerais, Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro have won 77 of the 95 tournaments that have been played to date (Atlético hold a narrow 40-37 advantage) and their dominance is expected to continue this year. Cruzeiro defeated Atlético with a 3-2 aggregate win in last year’s final helping them to the title. The Gaúcho championship will no doubt see the Porto Alegre rivalry between Grêmio (36 titles) and Internacional (40 titles) light up the campaign with Inter hoping to reclaim the title they won over their arch rivals in last year’s competition. There’s more than just local bragging rights at stake for two clubs who have won all but two championships that have been played since 1954. The Campeonato Paranaense was won in 2011 by Coritiba FC for the third time in four years as they won both league rounds of the regular season, therefore making an end-of-season play-off match unnecessary. There was, however, one major surprise in the Campeonato Baiano as neither of the big two of EC Vitória or EC Bahia, winners of this tournament 69 times between them, could win the trophy leaving it up to Bahia de Feira to sample title success for the first time in the club’s history.

ABC FC, who hail from the city of Natal in Rio Grande do Norte state, are the most titled club at state championship level. The current Potiguar championship holders recorded their 52nd title triumph in 2011 having seen off the challenge of Santa Cruz with a 3-2 aggregate win in the final. Although they play in the second tier at national level, ABC FC carry on to dominate at regional level in a tournament which has been won by them five times in the last seven years. They will begin their 2012 campaign this weekend with an away fixture against Baraunas whilst the championships in the states of Pernambuco, neighbouring state Alagoas and Pará will also get under way over the next few days.

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