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.

Brazil: 2011 State championships reaching business end (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on April 25, 2011

Brazilian football’s various state championships are in the business end of the year’s campaigns. In Rio de Janeiro Flamengo have the chance next weekend to win the Taça Rio title against old foes Vasco da Gama. In São Paulo’s Paulista State championship the big four of the city have all reached the semi-finals of the tournament whilst in the Mineiro state championship it’s far from surprising to see Cruzeiro and Atlético Mineiro almost certain to compete in yet another final whilst similarly in Rio Grande do Sul eternal enemies Internacional and Grêmio are set to do battle in this year’s Campeonato Gaúcho.

This year’s Taça Rio, the second of the Campeonato Carioca’s two tournaments, will feature Flamengo and Vasco da Gama in the final. The former got the better of Fluminense thanks to a penalty shoot-out win after the game had finished 1-1. Vasco, on the other hand, got the better of their opponents without the need for spot-kicks thanks to  a 1-0 win over Olaria AC, thus setting up a meeting with their biggest rivals. Should Flamengo win the Taça Rio, the final of which takes place on 1st May, then they will seal their 32nd Carioca championship win, their fourth in five years, without having to play an overall final. Should Vasco win the Taça Rio then there will be another two-legged contest on May 8th and 15th to see who claims the overall prize.

WATCH FLAMENGO v FLUMINENSE HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

In the Paulista championship traditional city heavyweights Santos FC, São Paulo FC, Palmeiras and Corinthians have made it to the semi-finals following the first knockout round this weekend. Palmeiras and Corinthians both recorded 2-1 victories in their quarter-final ties against Mirassol and Oeste respectively and will face each other in the first semi-final. Defending Paulista champions Santos FC will face-off against São Paulo FC in the second semi-final after they defeated Ponte Preta (1-0) and Portuguesa (2-0) respectively.

The Campeonato Mineiro sees yet another final between Cruzeiro and Atlético Mineiro following both teams’ semi-final victories this weekend. Atlético, who currently have five more title wins than Cruzeiro in this competition, defeated América FC 3-1 in the semi-final, first leg. Cruzeiro, meanwhile, have as good as secured their place in the final with an 8-1 first leg win over América Teófilo Otoni and will fancy their chances of winning a sixth state title in nine years.

The Campeonato Gaúcho final will see Grêmio and Internacional meet once more for state honours. Defending champions Grêmio saw off the challenge of Cruzeiro RS in a closely fought contest 3-2 while Internacional were also involved in a tight battle eventually settling for a 2-1 victory against Juventude. Internacional hope to extend their record number of titles in this tournament to 40 whilst Grêmio hope to catch up further with a 37th championship.

WATCH CRUZEIRO RS v GREMIO HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

Brazil: Local pride at stake in state championships

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on January 14, 2011
Botafogo Carioca

Botafogo are the defending Carioca champions

As controversial as they are a regular feature of the Brazilian football calendar, the state championships are back in the next couple of weeks. Though derided as an unnecessary burden on teams and players alike it seems that these championships are going to remain for a long time as they are part of the country’s football tradition. The state championships are a throwback to the days when there was no national championship and it is surprising that they still remain forty years after the creation of the Brasileiro. Nonetheless the tournaments can still attract good crowds at the business end of the championships even if the teams are playing for merely local pride rather than Copa Libertadores or Sudamericana qualification. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog previews some of the bigger state championships ahead of the big kick-off in the coming weeks.

The Rio State championship, more popularly known as Carioca, begins this weekend with the first two inner tournaments which make up the competition. The first of these tournaments is the Taça Guanabara (from 19th January – 27th 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 (4th March – 1st May). Again the sixteen teams are split into two groups of eight but this time each team will play each of the eight teams in their 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 2010 Botafogo won both competitions and took the Carioca championship for the 19th time in the club’s history. This time around the likes of record Carioca winners Flamengo, Brasileiro champions Fluminense and Vasco da Gama will fancy their chances of winning the title.

Santos Paulista

Santos are the defending Paulista champions

The other major state championship in Brazil is in São Paulo state known to all and sundry as the Paulista. This duration of this tournament is slightly longer than the Carioca beginning on January 16th and running until the May 15th. 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 games the top four go through to the two-legged semi-finals followed by a two-legged final. In the 2010 competition Santos finished top of the regular season table and negotiated their way through the knock-out rounds to take their 18th Paulista title but only after little Santo André gave them an almight scare in the final. Santos won the first leg 3-2 away from home but then went on to lose the second leg by the same scoreline recording a 5-5 aggregate score and the big boys only went on to receive the trophy not by extra-time and penalties but due to their superior regular season table position. In 2011 the likes of record Paulista champions Corinthians, São Paulo and Palmeiras will be determined to add to the honours board.

ABC FC Potiguar

ABC FC show off their record 51st Potiguar championship in 2010

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 75 of the 95 tournaments that have been played to date and their dominance is expected to continue this year. Record champions Atlético had a surprise contender to face in last year’s Mineiro final coming up against Ipatinga but overcame their ambitious opponents with a 5-2 aggregate score to win their 40th title. The Gaúcho championship will see the Porto Alegre rivalry between Grêmio and Internacional spiced up even further due to the former defending the state title whilst the latter have just enjoyed a second triumph in the Copa Libertadores. There’s more than just local bragging rights at stake for two clubs who have won this tournament 75 times between them, including all but two championships played since 1954.

A special mention must also go to the club ABC FC, who come from the city of Natal in Rio Grande do Norte state, who are the most titled club at state championship level. The current Potiguar championship holders recorded their 51st title triumph in 2010 and are hoping to extend on that record in preparation of the oncoming Brasileiro second division season which begins in late May. ABC FC begin their title defence from January 30th.

Brazil: State Championship Round-Up (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on May 3, 2010

Various state championships came to a conclusion in Brazil this weekend and there were no real surprises in terms of the eventual winners. The Carioca Championship already hailed its new champion Botafogo two weeks ago after the team had won both stages of their state competition. This weekend saw more victorious scenes in various state championships which have now all been decided with just a week to go before the new Brasileiro (Brazilian national championship) season gets under way. “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” reports on the best of the action.

In the Paulista (São Paulo State) Championship little Santo André had surprised many by reaching the final of the tournament. In the regular season, which saw twenty teams play each other once only with the top four going through to knockout semi-finals, Santo André finished ten points behind first placed Santos FC to claim a place in the semi-finals. They negotiated their way past another surprise semi-finalist Grêmio Prudente only on the back of having a better regular season record after both teams had drawn 3-3 on aggregate. Alas, the system which worked in Santo André’s favour in the semi-finals worked against them in the final where they were to be undone by favourites Santos FC.

The regular season winners won the first leg away from home by three goals to two thanks to strikes from André and Wesley (2) but the minnows of Santo André were far from finished. In the second leg the outsiders took the lead after just thirty seconds through a Nunes tap-in but Santos FC restored parity within seven minutes thanks to a well worked goal from Neymar. Santo André regained the lead just twelve minutes later after Alê scored with a header from a corner but Santos FC played their part in a topsy-turvy first-half by equalizing for a second time. Again it was Neymar who was on target for the home side after he slotted home from thirteen yards out to finish off a wonderful skilful move from the home side. Santo André, however, went down fighting in their quest for a maiden Paulista title. One minute before half-time the minnows regained the lead for a third time after Branquinho finished off a nice move down the centre of the pitch to give Santo André a 3-2 lead at the break. Sadly for the away side they just couldn’t take any further opportunities to score in the second half and Santos FC held out to claim their 18th Paulista championship title after the tie was decided by virtue of Santos’s superior regular season record after the two-legged final had finished 5-5 on aggregate. Watch highlights of the second leg here (Santos FC in white strip, Santo André in blue):

In the Campeonato Gaúcho, the state championship of Rio Grande do Sul, it was far from surprising to see perennial rivals Internacional and Grêmio lock horns in the final. These two clubs are the powerful forces in the region and they consolidated their local dominance due to Grêmio winning the first stage of the regular season and Internacional winning the second stage to set up the grand final. In the first leg Grêmio secured a 2-0 victory on away territory in the final quarter of the match. Rodrigo’s bullet header from a corner gave the Tricolor the lead after 67 minutes with Borges sealing the win three minutes from time heading home unmarked at the far post from a free-kick. Watch highlights here (Grêmio in light blue, black and white strip, Internacional in red):

Internacional knew that they had a lot to do to pull off an unlikely championship win but they, at least, were able to frighten their opponents in the second leg having taken the lead after just nine minutes with a well-taken strike from Giuliano from the edge of the Grêmio penalty box. Sadly for Inter they were unable to grab the crucial second goal which would’ve taken the match into extra-time. Grêmio sealed their 36th Gaúcho and now only trail Inter by three titles as the latter won their 39th state title last year. Watch second leg goal here:

The Mineiro Championship (Minas Gerais state) was expected to be the usual contest between the powerhouses of the region Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro but this year the latter, despite finishing top of the regular season, were made to suffer in the semi-finals going out to little known Ipatinga losing 3-1 on aggregate. Atlético Mineiro were made heavy favourites to win the title after they had got through their semi-final against Democrata by a 2-1 aggregate scoreline to set up the two-legged final with Cruzeiro’s conquerors. The first leg turned out to be a tough match for Atlético who managed to worm their way through with a 3-2 lead to take into the second leg thanks to Diego Tardelli and a brace from Muriqui. The second leg was a much kinder affair for Atlético as they sealed a record extending 40th local championship thanks to goals from Diego Tardelli and Marques in the last twenty minutes of the game in front of a partisan home crowd. See highlights of the second leg here:

Finally we must mention little known ABC FC who are the record state championship holders in Brazil. They won the Campeonato Potiguar for the 51st time after disposing of Atlético Clube Corintians from Rio Grande do Sul 6-3 in the two-legged final. Check out some of the celebrations here:

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