South America: Last day tension guaranteed in Brazil and Chile
Two of South America’s top leagues are guaranteed a grandstand finish following this weekend’s results. In Brazil any one of three teams – Fluminense, Corinthians or Cruzeiro – can win the title with two points separating them with one match to play. In Chile the current league leaders Universidad Católica must avoid defeat in their final game if they are to take the title from their nearest challengers Colo Colo.
The Campeonato Brasileiro has made a regular habit of last-day title deciders in recent years and this year is no exception. Fluminense lead the way going into the final day with 68 points from 37 games following a tough 2-1 away win at Palmeiras. Dinei gave the home side the lead after just four minutes leaving “Flu” with a mountain to climb. The league leaders showed plenty of determination to come back and they deserved their victory with goals from Carlinhos (18 mins) and Tartá (58 mins) sealing a crucial three points. On their tails hang Corinthians and Cruzeiro who are one and two points behind the leaders respectively and who are waiting to pounce should Fluminense slip up. Corinthians won their penultimate game against Vasco da Gama 2-0 with goals from Bruno César and Danilo. Cruzeiro, like Fluminense, had to come from behind away from home in order to stay in the title race. The Belo Horizonte based team beat last season’s Brasileiro champions Flamengo 2-1 with goals from Roger and Thiago Ribeiro doing the business. On the final day of the season Fluminense hope to secure only their second ever Brasileiro title with a home win against Guarani. Should Fluminense fail to win then Corinthians and Cruzeiro will be hoping that victories over Goiás and Palmeiras respectively will be sufficient for title success.
In Chile the situation is almost more clear cut following this weekend’s results. Universidad Católica, who have been in second place for most of the season, will be in first place going into the final match of the season having come from behind twice and eventually winning 3-2 in a dramatic last-gasp finish against Cobreloa. Juan Eduardo Eluchans scored the winner for Universidad in the 89th minute as they pulled off a remarkable backs to the wall job. Their real reward came 24 hours later after nearest challengers Colo Colo failed to get anything from their game against C.D. O’Higgins. Esteban Paredes equalized for Colo Colo in the 52nd minute having been behind to an early Samuel Teuber goal but things got much worse for the defending champions after that. Firstly O’Higgins went ahead in the 56th minute through Lucas Ojeda and then two Colo Colo players, Rodrigo Melendez and Esteban Paredes, got themselves sent off. The results mean that Universidad Católica have a three point lead going into their final match of the season against relegation threatened CD Everton whilst Colo Colo must win their final game against Universidad de Concepción and hope that the league leaders lose.