Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

CONMEBOL: Independiente claim maiden Sudamericana on penalties (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 9, 2010
Independiente

Independiente are the 2010 Copa Sudamericana champions

In a dramatic second leg of the Copa Sudamericana final Argentinian club Independiente got their hands on the coveted trophy, and a precious berth in the 2011 Copa Libertadores, following a penalty shoot-out win after the game had finished 3-3 on aggregate.

With no away goals rule in the final of this competition Independiente knew that they had to win by at least two clear goals if they were to have any chance of lifting the Copa Sudamericana for the first time. Brazilian side Goiás had a 2-0 lead from the first leg, which was played last Wednesday in Brazil, and they were hoping to lift their first major honour which would’ve been some achievement for a club who were relegated from the Brazilian top flight just a couple of weeks ago.

The game started off in breathtaking fashion as both teams made their attacking intentions known from the start. Independiente struck first after 19 minutes thanks to Julián Velázquez but it didn’t take long for the visitors to restore parity on the night when Rafael Moura, a hero from the first leg, struck to make it 1-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate. It was back to square one for los Diablos Rojos who had to claw back a two goal deficit all over again and they made a good job of it after Facundo Parra’s brace before half-time levelled the tie on aggregate.

With no further scoring in the second half the game went into penalties and both teams traded two successful spot kicks each before the decisive penalties in the shoot-out took place. Independiente’s Leandro Gracián converted his kick before Goiás’ Felipe missed his effort which handed the advantage to the Argentinians. With Carlos Matheu and Eduardo Tuzzio putting away their kicks the hosts began the celebrations as Independiente finally lay claim to some international silverware for the first time since 1995, when they won the now-defunct Supercopa Sudamericana, and also increases the dominance of Argentinian clubs in this competition which they have won on five out of nine occasions.

WATCH 2ND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

Sudamericana: Goias have one hand on the trophy (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 2, 2010

Goias Esporte Clube, recently relegated from the Brazilian top flight, look set to win their first continental title after defeating Argentinian side Independiente 2-0 in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final last night.

Both goals came in the first 20 minutes of the match as Rafael Moura and Neto found the back of the net to gift the modest Brazilian outfit a comfortable advantage to defend in next week’s second leg in Argentina.

Independiente will have to produce another stirring fightback following the one which helped them progress from the semi-finals against 2009 champions LDU Quito. But with no away goals to show from the first leg they will have to be even more clinical, both in attack and defence, if they are to win the Sudamericana for the first time.

The winners of the trophy will also gain entry into the 2011 Copa Libertadores tournament and for one of these clubs, both of whom have had a poor season in their domestic leagues, success could be doubly sweet when the final whistle blows at the end of next Wednesday’s cruial return fixture.

Sudamericana: Goiás and Independiente progress to final (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on November 26, 2010

After this week’s semi-final, second legs the identities of the 2010 Copa Sudamericana finalists are now known. Little known Goiás Esporte Clube are through to their first ever continental final following an away goals win over compatriots Palmeiras whilst Argentina’s Independiente also progressed to the two-legged final via the same method.

The first leg of the all-Brazilian clash finished in a narrow 1-0 away win for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Palmeiras team and the expectation was heavy on the former Copa Libertadores champions to progress to a first continental final since 1999. They didn’t reckon on the determination of a Goiás side who never knew when they were beaten in this tie and the 2-1 victory at the home of Palmeiras was deserved as much as it was unexpected. The turnaround in fortunes was all the more unexpected seeing as Luan gave Palmeiras the lead in the second leg, his 34th minute strike doubling the Verdão‘s advantage on aggregate. But Goiás were back in the game on the stroke of half-time as Carlos Alberto levelled the scores on the night and halved the aggregate deficit to 2-1. Suddenly Palmeiras had to try and resist further attacks from the outsiders but Goiás stuck to the task ahead and managed to take a second leg lead with just seven minutes of the game remaining. Ernando’s 83rd minute close range header gave Goiás the advantage on away goals with the overall score tied at 2-2 and for Palmeiras coach Scolari his dream had turned into a nightmare. With little time remaining to get back into the game Palmeiras just didn’t possess the spirit to score agin, much to the relief of the visitors who rejoiced in celebration at the final whistle.

WATCH PALMEIRAS v GOIAS 2ND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE

Independiente are back in the big time after reaching their first continental final since winning the 1995 Supercopa Sudamericana. The self-proclaimed Rey de Copas (King of Cups), seven-times winners of the Copa Libertadores, hope to add South American football’s youngest competition to the trophy cabinet after getting the better of defending champions LDU Quito after a tense couple of legs.

Independiente, 3-0 down to LDU in the first leg, managed to pull two goals back and it is those strikes that made all the difference. In the second leg on Thursday Facundo Parra gave Independiente the lead after 27 minutes to tie the aggregate score at 3-3 but LDU managed to score in first-half stoppage time when Juan Manuel Salgueiro popped up to restore parity on the night and regain the Ecudaorians’ aggregate lead. If LDU had ideas to keep it tight after the break their plans were blown out of the water just sixty seconds into the second half after Hernan Fredes scored what proved to be the most important goal of the two legs. With a 4-4 aggregate scoreline the Argentinians went through courtesy of away goals and they now hope to restore some honours to a trophy cabinet which has been running a little bit bare in recent years.

WATCH INDEPENDIENTE v LDU QUITO HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

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.