Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Carioca: Botafogo win 19th Rio title

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on April 20, 2010

Botafogo have won the Campeonato Carioca (Rio State Championship) for the 19th time in their history having won the two component parts of the tournament. When any one team wins the first competition, known as the Taça Guanabara, and the second competition, known as the Taça Rio, then a championship play-off is unneccessary. Thankfully for Botafogo their Taça Rio final victory over record champions Flamengo on Sunday added to the Taça Guanabara crown they had already won in February meaning that the club could have a couple of weeks off before resuming action in the oncoming Brasileiro (Brazilian National Championship). “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” reviews how Botafogo sealed the title:

Taça Guanabara

The Campeonato Carioca sees sixteen teams split into two groups of eight in two distinct tournaments within the competition. In the first stage each team plays the other seven teams from inside their own group before the top two from each group go into the semi-finals. After seven games Group A was topped by Flamengo who had nineteen points, three more than nearest challengers Fluminense. Group B was topped by Vasco da Gama who also led their group with nineteen points with Botafogo just one solitary point behind. The semi-finals saw the top team from each group play the runner-up in the other group. Flamengo, who had won the last three Campeonato Carioca in a row from 2007-09, were to be knocked out by Botafogo after the latter won 2-1. The other semi-final was decided by penalties after a goalless stalemate with Vasco da Gama prevailing from the spot defeating Fluminense 6-5. The final saw Botafogo get revenge on Vasco, the latter had won their group stage encounter by a heavy 6-0 scoreline. Fabio Ferreira and Sebastián Abreu scored the goals to give Botafogo a 2-0 win to claim the first trophy in the competition (see VIDEO):

Taça Rio

In the second half of the Carioca the same two groups of eight teams from the first stage remain intact, only this time each team plays the other eight teams in the opposing group. Despite the change of opposition for each team the groups had a similar finish to them as in the first stage. Group A was again topped by Flamengo who accumulated 22 points in eight games, three ahead of Fluminense. In Group B the roles were reversed from the first stage as Botafogo topped the group with fifteen points, two ahead of Vasco da Gama. In the semi-finals Botafogo defeated Fluminense 3-2 whilst Flamengo defeated arch-rivals Vasco da Gama 2-1 to set up an interesting Taça Rio final. Flamengo had to beat Botafogo in the Taça Rio final in order to set up a grand final against the same opponents to decide the overall champion. Botafogo had other ideas as they wanted to secure the title without the need for a play-off and they got their just rewards albeit with the help of two penalty kicks. Herrara converted the first penalty in the 23rd minute and Sebastián Abreu scored with one of the coolest penalties ever in the 71st minute. Vagner Love’s goal for Flamengo sandwiched the two Botafogo strikes but proved not to be enough. Botafogo had won the two stages and, therefore, took Flamengo’s Carioca title away from them in the process (see Video):

Campeonato Carioca – Flamengo the team to beat

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on January 16, 2010
Flamengo

Flamengo won their third Carioca championship in a row in 2009

Fresh from winning the Campeonato Brasiliero for the first time in seventeen years in 2009 Clube de Regatas do Flamengo, more popularly known as just ‘Flamengo’, will be hoping to keep up their recent domination of the Rio State Championship (Carioca) which begins this weekend. “O Mengão” won their third consecutive state championship last year which also helped them overtake arch-rivals Fluminense in the list of overall title wins (Flamengo have 31, Fluminense 30). Flamengo hope that they can carry on from where they left off in 2009 and begin another era of success for the club, starting this weekend against little Duque de Caxias on Sunday.

The Carioca championship is divided into two stages, the “Taça Guanabara” and the “Taça Rio”. In the first stage the sixteen clubs are divided into two groups of eight teams and each team plays against the teams in their own group once only. At the end of the group stage the top two from each group will play in the semi-finals (first of each group plays against the second team in the other group) and the winners will go to the one-leg final at Estadio Maracanã. In the Taça Rio the groups remain the same but each team, rather than playing the other teams in their group, will play all of the teams from the other group once only. Similarly the top two in this tournament go into the semi-finals with the final played at the Maracanã. If the same team wins both stages of the tournament then there is no need for a two-legged play-off to decide the overall champion. In 2009 Botafogo came close to becoming overall champion in this manner. However having won the Taça Guanabara with a 3-0 win over surprise package Resende, they couldn’t quite manage to win the Taça Rio, losing to Flamengo 1-0 which forced the championship play-off. Both legs of the 2009 Carioca final finished 2-2 so the title was decided by the dreaded penalty shoot-out. Leandro Guerreiro missed Botafogo’s fourth kick in the shoot-out and this was enough for Flamengo to celebrate their 31st state championship.

The state championships may not be as important as they once were in Brazil but they still retain a place in the calendar as many fans see them as part of national footballing tradition, much the same as English football has a special place for the FA Cup. Flamengo will be optimistic of winning their 32nd tournament in 2010. Brazilian international player Vágner Love, who was being chased by German club Hamburger SV, has now opted to stay on loan in his homeland having been loaned previously to Palmeiras from his club CSKA Moscow. Love will team up with Adriano in the heart of the attack for the Rubro-Negro (Red and blacks) and will hope to add to a personal trophy cabinet that includes two Russian championships, a UEFA Cup and two Copa America titles which he won with the national team in 2004 and 2007.

Now that their national championship drought has been fulfilled can Flamengo create a new team to rival the the great side of Zico from the 1980s by capitalising on recent success? The 2010 Carioca championship will be the first place to find out.

Unlikely heroes end Flamengo’s 17 year title drought

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 7, 2009
Dejan Petkovic

Dejan Petkovic celebrates Flamengo's Brasileiro triumph

Brazilian giants Flamengo were, eventually, made to work hard for the Brazilian national championship (Brasileiro) after they toiled to a 2-1 victory over Grêmio at a sell-out Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The “Rubro Negro” (Red and Blacks) have now won six Brazilian national championships, thus equalling the number already achieved by outgoing champions São Paulo.

At the start of the day there were four teams with a mathematical chance of winning the title: Flamengo, Internacional, São Paulo and Palmeiras. The fact that Flamengo were playing at home to Internacional’s arch-rivals from the city of Porto Alegre, Grêmio, meant that many fans and pundits had written this game off as a certain three points for “O Mengão”. What wasn’t in the script though was Grêmio taking the lead, Roberson turning home a corner in the 22nd minute to stun the home supporters. Thankfully for the Red and Black masses they didn’t have too long to wait before parity was restored. Centre-half David shot from distance to level it at 1-1 on the half-hour mark and it was to remain at that score at half-time. Elsewhere Internacional’s 2-0 lead at home to already relegated Santo André meant that if scores stayed the same after 90 minutes then Flamengo would lose the title that they craved more than any other. They simply had to win.

The second half started quite slowly but Flamengo soon created chances. They were rewarded in the 70th minute when Dejan Petkovic’s left-sided corner was headed home by another unlikely scorer, centre-half Ronaldo Angelim, and the Flamengo fans started to party in the Maracana. Ten minutes from the end the party was very nearly brought to a halt as Adilson wasted a glorious close range effort for Grêmio. After that though both teams just saw the game out and at the final whistle the party really could begin. Adriano, who returned to Brazil after a roller-coaster period at Internazionale in Italy, finished the season as joint top scorer in the Brasileiro (along with Mineiro’s Diego Tardelli on 19 goals) and, more importantly, as a champion.

In the other matches Internacional beat Santo André 4-1 to secure the runners-up spot from São Paulo, whose three year reign as champions ended with a 4-0 win against Sport Recife. Flamengo, Internacional and São Paulo are joined in the 2010 Copa Libertadores by Cruzeiro, who finished fourth after their 2-1 victory against Santos was coupled with a defeat for nearest challengers Palmeiras (2-1 away to Botafogo). Corinthians, home of Ronaldo and recent signing Roberto Carlos, also have a berth in the Libertadores thanks to their Copa Brasil triumph over Internacional in the early months of the season.

Eight teams qualified for next year’s Copa Sudamericana: Palmeiras, Avaí, Atlético Mineiro, Grêmio, Goias, Barueri, Santos and Vitoria. At the bottom of the table a dramatic finish saw Rio giants Fluminense avoid relegation by one point after their 1-1 draw at Coritiba was enough to send their opponents down into Serie B along with Sport Recife, Náutico and Santo André. Those four clubs will be replaced in the 2010 Brasileiro by Vasco da Gama, Guarani, Ceará and Atletico Goianiense.