Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Brazil: Corinthians seal fifth title in tight Brasileiro finish (video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 4, 2011

The Brazilian national championship has made a habit of last day climaxes in recent years and this season’s competition is no exception. Corinthians (Played 38, Points 71) won their fifth Brasileiro tonight, their first league title since 2005, following a goalless draw against arch rivals Palmeiras. This came at the expense of Vasco da Gama who, needing all three points in the event of a slip up by Corinthians, were only able to draw 1-1 at home to Flamengo in another high profile derby match. On a day in which Brazilian football legend Socrates passed away, it was perhaps a fitting tribute to him that one of his old clubs should go on to win the title. Socrates served the São Paulo based club with distinction from 1978-84 in what was his most productive spell with any one club.

It was derby day in Brazil as the national federation had decided that the final round of matches should produce some thrilling drama on the last day and they weren’t disappointed. Although Corinthians’ match with Palmeiras remained goalless both teams were reduced to nine men as each side battled to get one over the other in a derby where there is no love lost and in which emotions certainly ran high with confrontations amongst the players commonplace throughout the game. Palmeiras thought they had ruined Corinthians’ title party by getting the draw but news came through of Vasco’s draw with Flamengo which prevented the former from overtaking Corinthians in the standings, the margin between the top two teams remaining at two points. Just to add a little spice to that encounter there were two red cards in that game as well, one for each side.

But it wasn’t just at the very top of the table where things were interesting. With places in next season’s Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana to be sorted and relegation matters to be resolved at the bottom there were very few teams playing tonight for whom nothing mattered. Fluminense and Flamengo got the point they needed to secure Copa Libertadores placings for next season along with Internacional who, in the Porto Alegre derby, got the better of arch foes Grêmio by a 1-0 score line. Santos FC (2011 Copa Libertadores champions) and Vasco da Gama (2011 Copa Brasil winners) were already assured of their Libertadores places for next season before tonight’s games took place.

Copa Sudamericana places went to eight clubs – São Paulo, Figueirense, Coritiba, Botafogo, Palmeiras, Grêmio, Atletico Goianiense and EC Bahia – whilst four clubs were unfortunate to experience that sinking feeling as Avaí, América Mineiro, Ceará SC and Atlético Paranaense were relegated into Serie B next season. Cruzeiro of Belo Horizonte and Atlético Mineiro were lucky to stay in the top flight as they finished just two and four points above the relegation zone respectively.


CONMEBOL: Universidad set for final against LDU Quito (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 1, 2011

Universidad de Chile made club history last night by reaching their first ever continental final in South America. The Chilean champions defeated Brazilian giants Vasco da Gama in last night’s Copa Sudamericana semi-final 2nd leg by two goals to nil and, thus, went through 3-1 on aggregate.

Gustavo Canales and Eduardo Vargas were on hand to score the goals for Universidad who became the first Chilean team to reach a major final of a South American club competition since Colo Colo played in the final of the Sudamericana in 2006.

Vasco da Gama didn’t really threaten the Chileans on their home turf but they more than likely had one eye on the oncoming climax to the Brasileiro league season which concludes this Sunday with the Rio de Janeiro giants hoping to beat arch rivals Flamengo, and hope that league leaders Corinthians lose to Palmeiras, to win the Brazilian title for the first time in ten years.

For Universidad exciting times lay ahead. Not only do they participate in their domestic Clausura play-offs in the hope of winning back-to-back Chilean League titles, but their Copa Sudamericana final with Ecuadorians LDU Quito will take place on December 7th and 13th with the Chileans at home for the second leg.

CONMEBOL: Vasco held at home in Copa first leg (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on November 24, 2011

The first leg of the 2011 Copa Sudamericana semi-final between Brazilian giants Vasco da Gama and their opponents Universidad de Chile was played in the former’s São Januário stadium on Wednesday night. The Brazilians took the lead after half an hour through Bernardo and the goal looked like it might decide the outcome of the first match. However the Chileans managed to draw level with twelve minutes left through Osvaldo González and ensure that Universidad’s chances of winning a first continental title remain strong.

The other semi-final first leg between Argentinians Vélez Sársfield and 2009 Sudamericana champions LDU Quito will take place on Thursday night at the latter’s home ground in the Ecuadorian capital.

Brazil: Vasco lift the Copa Brasil for the first time (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on June 9, 2011
Éder Luís

Éder Luís celebrates his goal in last night's Copa Brasil final

Vasco da Gama finally got their hands on the Copa Brasil with an away goals victory over Coritiba. In a hard fought two-legged contest Vasco had prevailed with a 1-0 win at home in the first leg before travelling to Coritiba for last night’s return fixture.

Vasco took the lead after just 11 minutes when Alecsandro, who scored the only goal in the first leg, scored from six yards out to give his side the lead. Coritiba fought back and had turned the second leg around by half-time with goals from Bill (29 minutes) and Davi (44) giving the home side a 2-1 lead on the night. Vasco, however, would gain another away goal just before the hour mark after Éder Luís’s long-range effort wrong footed the Coritiba keeper Edson Bastos to restore parity. Coritiba’s fighting spirit returned midway through the second half with Willian scoring a beautifully struck goal from distance to make it 3-2 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate.

With twenty five minutes left there was still plenty of time for Coritiba to upset the odds and score a fourth but, sadly for the home side, it wasn’t to be as Vasco da Gama held out to finally claim a maiden Copa Brasil triumph. The title win means that Vasco have booked a place in the 2012 Copa Libertadores.


Brazil: Alecsandro gives Vasco crucial first leg lead (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on June 2, 2011

The first leg of the Copa Brasil final took place last night with Vasco da Gama winning by a narrow 1-0 victory over Coritiba. Alecsandro scored just five minutes into the second half to give Vasco the advantage in front of a sell-out crowd at their home Estádio São Januário. Neither club has ever won the Copa Brasil before in their history and with Coritiba playing host in next Wednesday’s second leg one thing that is guaranteed is that there will be a new name on the trophy whoever comes out on top.


Brazil: Vasco and Coritiba to meet in Copa Brasil final (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on May 26, 2011

There will be a new name on the Copa Brasil trophy this year as Vasco da Gama and Coritiba secured semi-final, second leg wins on Wednesday night.

Vasco da Gama, one of Brazil’s biggest clubs, have surprisingly never won this tournament but have a great chance to add their name to the list of winners following their 3-1 aggregate defeat of Avaí FC. The first leg between the two sides finished 1-1 and with Avaí having home advantage in the return fixture it seemed that a shock could be on the cards. However a 3rd minute own goal from Avaí’s Revson soon settled any nerves in the Vasco team. A Diego Souza goal ten minutes before the break sealed the deal for Vasco whose only appearance to date in the Copa Brasil final came in 2006 where they lost out to arch-rivals Flamengo CF.


Coritiba will feature in their first ever Copa final after they squeezed past Ceará SC with a 1-0 aggregate win. Following a goalless first leg both teams played out a tense match in which the first goal was always going to be crucial. Anderson Aquino opened the scoring five minutes into the second half and Coritiba never looked back as they put the heartbreak of three previous losing semi-finals behind them to qualify for their maiden final. Check out the footage taken live from inside the stadium below.


The Copa Brasil final will be a two-legged affair with the games played on Tuesday, June 1st and 8th.

Brazil: Flamengo claim Carioca title (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on May 2, 2011

Flamengo clinched the Campeonato Carioca title for the 32nd time in their history after defeating arch-rivals Vasco da Gama in a penalty shoot-out following a goalless Taça Rio final on Sunday.

Having already won the Taça Guanabara earlier in the campaign, a win for Flamengo would ensure that they avoided a further two-legged play-off in order to decide the title. Vasco da Gama were the only team who could postpone Flamengo’s title celebrations but, in a poor game, neither they nor Flamengo really got going and it was perhaps appropriate that the game would be decided by the lottery of penalty kicks. Vasco would rue their inability from twelve yards out as only Alecssandro proved to be successful out of four attempts. Flamengo, on the other hand, only missed one spot kick out of four with Renato Abreu, Fernando and Thiago Neves ensuring that a fifth penalty kick was unnecessary and gave Flamengo another state championship crown.


Brazil: Campeonato Brasileiro Preview

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on May 7, 2010

Adriano's goals proved crucial in Flamengo's title success last season.

Such is life in Brazilian football that there is hardly any time left to get your breath back after the completion of the various state championships before the national championship (Brasileiro) gets back into action from this weekend. “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” previews the big kick-off in South America’s most competitive football league:

It is hard to imagine that the most successful nation in world football has only had a national championship since 1971. This makes the Brasilero much younger than its counterparts in other footballing superpowers such as England, Italy and even Germany whose Bundesliga is pretty young by European standards having only been created in 1963. For many years the Brasileiro suffered from political meddling and ever-changing tournament formats but the 2003 season heralded a whole new way of thinking in Brazilian league football; a home and away, round-robin, first-past-the-post system with points accumulated throughout the season determining the winner. This has eventually proven popular with supporters and it is appropriate that the league should enjoy such stability as it celebrates its 40th championship this year.

Flamengo are the current defending champions having seen off Internacional and São Paulo on the last day of the season pipping their two nearest challengers by just two points. This was all the more remarkable given that O Mengão were a full twelve points behind the league leaders with just ten matches of the championship left. Striker Adriano, who was suffering a personal torment in Italy, was brought back to his homeland by Flamengo and he repaid their faith in him by scoring a joint best 19 goals in the Brasileiro to help his team climb the table and secure a sixth national title. It is perhaps fitting that they are involved in the pick of the ties on Matchday 1 of the new season as they are playing fellow six-time Brazilian champions São Paulo. Will Sunday’s game signal the start towards potential seventh heaven for either club?

Two Copa Libertadores teams face-off on Sunday with Internacional from Porto Alegre hoping to go one better than last season’s second place by starting off with a victory over Cruzeiro from Belo Horizonte. Corinthians, who cannot win the Copa Libertadores having been knocked out of the competition on Wednesday, will hope that they can win the Brasileiro in their centenary year and plays at home in their opening fixture against Atlético Paranaense. There’s an intriging tie on Saturday with the state champions of Rio and São Paulo facing off against each other. Botafogo and Santos FC will be heavily fancied after their local exploits but the Brasileiro has a habit of catching up on teams who have a good start to a season and squad rotation could prove to be important. This weekend also sees the welcome return to the top league of Vasco da Gama who comfortably won Serie B last season after suffered the ignominy of relegation in the 2008 season. The Rio-based side are hoping to signal their return with a welcome three points but they will have their work cut out away at Atlético Mineiro who will be on a high having won yet another state championship last weekend.

As well as Vasco da Gama three other teams – Guarani, Ceará SC and Atlético Clube Goianiense – will also enjoy their first matches back in the top flight as they compete against Goiás Esporte Clube, Fluminense and Grêmio Porto Alegre respectively. Palmeiras, four-time Brasileiro champions, have a home tie against EC Vitória, whilst Avaí, who finished a respectable sixth place last season, play against Grêmio Prudente to complete the weekend’s matches.


Botafogo v Santos FC

Goianiense v Grêmio Porto Alegre

Palmeiras v EC Vitória

(All matches played on Saturday, May 8th)

Atlético Mineiro v Vasco da Gama

Corinthians v Atlético Paranaense

Flamengo v São Paulo

Internacional v Cruzeiro

Avaí v Grêmio Prudente

Ceará SC v Fluminense

Guarani v Goiás

(All matches played on Sunday, May 9th)

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.