With the long winded State Championships finally coming to an end, there were no major surprises in this weekend’s fixtures (sorry about this report being a few days late). In São Paulo, with the league format finished, the top eight teams played each other for a place in the semi-finals. Unsurprisingly, all of the four big clubs (São Paulo, Palmeiras, Corinthians and Santos) beat weaker opposition by narrow margins to reach the semis. All four enjoyed home advantage thanks to their better league position. Neymar’s goal was enough to see of Ponte Preta 1-0. Valdívia (with a cracker – see video below) and Márcio Araújo scored for Palmeiras in their 2-1 win against Mirassol. Ilsinho was the star for São Paulo, scoring one and creating another (for Dagoberto), in their 2-0 victory over Portuguesa. Corinthians beat Oeste 2-1 with goals from Liedson and Willian.
Palmeiras 2 Mirassol 1 (Valdívia’s goal is the first one)
The real action will come this weekend in the one-off semi-final matches: São Paulo vs. Santos and Palmeiras vs. Corinthians. São Paulo and Palmeiras enjoy home advantage thanks to their better league finish. The games are coming thick and fast now with midweek Libertadores and Brazilian Cup games coming either side of these fixtures.
Some of the State Championships are split into two competitions and the winner of each competition play each other to decide the overall State Championship winner. This is the case in Rio, for example, where there are two cup competitions (the Guanabara and Rio Cups). This year Flamengo won the Guanabara Cup (part 1) and will play the winner of the Rio Cup (part 2) unless they also win the Rio Cup. And that now is a real possibility because in the Rio Cup semi-finals, Flamengo came back from a goal down to take Fluminense to a penalty shootout. They won the shootout 5-4, with goalkeeper Felipe the hero once again (it was his saves that helped Flamengo beat Botafogo in the Guanabara Cup final back in February). In the other semi-final, Vasco beat Olaria 1-0 to set up a final with Flamengo. Eder Luís scored the goal for Vasco (see video).
Having already won the Guanabara Cup, if Flamengo win the Rio Cup by beating Vasco, they will be State Champions without the need for a decisive match. In order for Vasco to be State Champions, they will need to beat Flamengo in this weekend’s Rio Cup final and then play and beat Flamengo again (as Guanabara Cup winners) in the State decider.
Coritiba became the first State Championship winners in Brazil in 2011, after beating Atlético Paranaense 3-0 to win the Paranaense State Championship.