State Champs: stuck with the wrong match

Grêmio and Leandro (left) got the better of Internacional (Jefferson Bernardes, VIPCOMM)

The afternoon got off to a terrible start with the news that Corinthians would be wearing jerseys with their mothers’ names on the back as a Mother’s Day tribute. I needed to call on all my powers of concentration to get this shockingly lame marketing gimmick out of my head and focus on the important afternoon of football ahead, starting 16:00 local time. And what an afternoon it promised to be: Corinthians vs. Santos, Internacional vs. Grêmio and Atlético Mineiro vs. Cruzeiro to name just a few of the mouth-watering ties.

Unfortunately for me though, I found myself in the wrong state today and restricted to watching Corinthians and Santos. While I was watching these two play out a 0-0 draw, Internacional and Grêmio were playing out a classic. That one finished 3-2 to Grêmio and what a second leg it promises to be next weekend. Definite advantage to Grêmio though who won away from home and scored three goals in the process. For Grêmio, new 17 year old sensation Leandro scored one and 21 year old Junior Viçosa, two. Andrezinho and Leandro Damião scored for Inter.

Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro were also involved in a lively game with Atlético Mineiro running out 2-1 winners. Ex Inter Milan winger, Mancini scored one for Atlético Mineiro. That man Wallyson scored the goal for Cruzeiro. Goiás and Atlético-GO drew 1-1 and Sport lost 2-0 at home to Santa Cruz. All of these matches are fierce local derbies and were the first legs of the State Championship. The second legs will be played next Sunday.

As for the game I was forced to watch on TV, Santos will be the happier of the two with the result. The bad news for Santos though is that Ganso limped off the field injured and will be out for 30-45 days missing both of their Libertadores quarter final matches as well as the next Sunday’s second leg. Bad timing but not completely unexpected due to Santos’ heavy schedule of decisive matches and huge travel times (they spent around 32 hours travelling on their trip to Mexico last week).

As for the game, at least it was a lively 0-0 draw. Corinthians hit the post and Liedson and Bruno César both threatened several times but neither could find the back of the net. Neymar was fantastic in the second half and hit the post twice during the match. Zé Eduardo was total joke for Santos up front and Ganso was poor until limping off at half time. The second leg will be next Sunday, in Santos. In the meantime Santos have a difficult and tiring looking trip to Colombia where they face Once Caldas (the team who dumped Cruzeiro out of the Libertadores last week).

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