Brazilian League Roundup, Feb. 21
Sebastian “El Loco” Abreu and Fabio Ferreira scored second-half
goals as Botafogo beat Vasco 2-0 on Sunday to win the Guanabara
Cup, the first stage of the Rio de Janeiro state championship.
Defender Ferreira broke the deadlock in the 70th minute and
Uruguay striker Abreu converted a penalty in the 84th for Botafogo,
which will face the winner of the Rio Cup – the tournament’s second
stage – for the state title.
It is the second consecutive Guanabara Cup title for
Botafogo, which is trying to win the Rio state tournament for the
first time since 2006.
In the Sao Paulo state championship, Robinho’s Santos
maintained its lead in the standings by beating Mirassol 2-1, while
Palmeiras defeated Sao Paulo 2-0 in its first match without fired
coach Muricy Ramalho.
Ferreira scored in front of more than 80,000 fans at Maracana
stadium with a header off a corner kick, and Abreu converted from
the penalty spot after he was grabbed inside the area by Vasco
defender Nilton, who was sent off.
“Sometimes we are not able to play great football, but we can
always overcome that by playing with a lot of heart, like we did
today,” Abreu said.
Vasco had been a man down from the 72nd minute after defender
Titi was red carded for a hard foul on Botafogo striker Caio.
Last than a month ago, Vasco had routed Botafogo 6-0 in the
first stage of the Guanabara Cup. A four-time national champion
which spent last season in the Brazilian league’s second division,
Vasco hadn’t reached a Cup final in six years. It was unbeaten this
year until Sunday’s defeat.
Botafogo reached the final by eliminating three-time
defending Rio champion Flamengo, while Vasco advanced by edging
Fluminense on penalties.
Botafogo coach Joel Santana is trying to win his first state
title since leaving Flamengo to coach South Africa in 2008. Santana
has won Rio titles with all four major clubs in the state –
Botafogo, Flamengo, Vasco and Fluminense.
In the Sao Paulo state championship, Santos maintained its
lead by beating Mirassol 2-1 in Mirassol.
It was the seventh consecutive win for Santos, which played
without youngsters Neymar and Paul Henrique because of suspensions.
Robinho, on loan from Manchester City, was substituted in the 73rd.
Santos has 25 points, four more than second-place Santo
Andre, which beat Barueri 3-1 in Barueri.
Palmeiras rebounded from a series of disappointing results
with a commanding 2-0 win over rival Sao Paulo at Palestra Italia
stadium. Striker Robert scored both goals for the four-time
national champion, which hadn’t won in two matches.
It was Palmeiras’ first match since firing renowned coach
Ramalho and hiring former player Antonio Carlos Zago, who is
starting his coaching career.
Palmeiras is seventh in the standings with 16 points, while
Sao Paulo is fifth with 17 points.
All 20 clubs face each other once and the top four reach the
semifinal stage, which begins in April.
Third-place Corinthians was held by Rio Branco to a 0-0 home
draw on Saturday. The defending champion played without left back
Roberto Carlos and striker Ronaldo, who were rested for the team’s
debut in the Copa Libertadores against Uruguay’s Racing on
The Copa Libertadores is the only major competition
Corinthians is yet to win.