Corinthians have won the 2011 Brazilian Serie A. They won the title (their fifth nationally) on Sunday after taking the point they needed from their match against Palmeiras. Vasco needed to win going into their match with Flamengo (and hope Corinthians lost) but could only manage a 1-1 draw.
It was an emotional afternoon for Corinthians supporters after one of their great idols SÃ³crates passed away early on Sunday morning. Doutor SÃ³crates as he is affectionately known is a global icon having played for Brazil at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. He was remarkable not only because of his talent and stature (1.91m tall) but because of what he stood for off the field as well; he came from a left wing middle class family and was one of the first footballers to openly criticise the military dictatorship in Brazil in the early 1980â€™s. He died aged 57 after health complications related to drinking and smoking. RIP Doutor SÃ³crates. Tributes welcome.
With over 250 games for Corinthians and bucketloads of goals (297 games and 172 goals according to Wikipedia), it was fitting that Corinthians won the title on the day he passed away.
The style of the performance perhaps wasnâ€™t fitting of the great man and it was 11th placed Palmeiras who dominated the match. But this Corinthians team doesnâ€™t have a player like SÃ³crates and sadly gems like him are normally flogged off to Europe before they achieve much with their clubs in Brazil. As a result, grinding out results with substance over style is the way to win a national championship. That is Corinthiansâ€™ strength and they did that again on Sunday.
Another thing you can say about this Corinthians team this year is that it looked like they always had a little in reserve. Had they needed to, they could have brought Adriano off the bench. In the end they didnâ€™t even need him on the field. And in their match against Palmeiras they coped well with the loss of three of their better players this year in Ralf, Danilo and Emerson who were unavailable due to injury and suspension.
Vasco could only manage a 1-1 draw with
CorinthiansÂ Flamengo despite taking the lead through Diego Souza. They dominated the first half but Flamengo came back strongly in the second with Ronaldinho on form. Flamengo got their point and with that made sure of Libertadores qualification.
Despite finishing second, I have to take my hat off to Vasco. They have been fantastic this year. After a dismal start in the Rio State Champs they fired their coach and hired Ricardo Gomes. He turned things around almost immediately and the team went on the play the Guanabara Cup final as well as win the Brazilian Cup. Normally, in Brazil, when teams win the Brazilian Cup they switch off in the national championship (just like Santos did after they won the Libertadores this year). But Vasco kept going and even got to the semi finalâ€™s of the Copa Sudamericana and played that competition at the same time as the latter stages of the Brazilian Serie A. Their coach Ricardo Gomes was hospitalized with a stroke in August. But if anything that galvanized their players. Well done to them. Fortunately Ricardo Gomes seems to be on his way to a full recovery.
Internacional claimed the fifth Libertaodres spot after they beat GrÃªmio 1-0. Sadly for Coritiba they blew their chance of a Libertadores spot after losing to AtlÃ©tico PR who were relegated following Cruzeiroâ€™s 6-1 thrashing of AtlÃ©tico MG. Figueirense also blew their Libertadores chances with a draw against AvaÃ.
CearÃ¡ were the fourth team relegated after losing to Bahia. Even if they had won, they would have gone down due to the Cruzeiro result. So much for trying hard to get your rivals relegated hey AtlÃ©tico Mineiro?? I used to like you lot before that result.Â Either they are an utterly useless bunch of donkeys or they were paid to lose that match. Shameful. Shocking.
Finally, I have been getting some stick from Corinthians fans for not publishing this report sooner. I doÂ apologiseÂ for the delay and they donâ€™t believe me that my graphics card stopped working and I needed to take my computer in for repairs. Let me once again reaffirm that this blog is a neutral place.
To all the Palmeiras fans who are bitter about the loss against Corinthians to grow up and read this blog report. And my question to those Corinthians fans obsessed with going on about how big their team is: Are you lacking for size in some other departments?
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