State Championships come to an end

Cruzeiro win the Minas Gerais State Championship (Washington Alves - VIPCOMM)

After months of football, the Brazilian State Championships came to a dramatic close today. Starting in São Paulo, Santos won the local competition for the second successive year, beating Corinthians 2-1 in a tense but ultimately low quality game of football. Santos dominated the first half and Arouca put Santos in front. The same player hit the post with a shot from outside the area and Neymar could have scored after finding himself clear with just the keeper to beat.

The second half was a totally different affair though with Corinthians in total domination but without ever really looking like scoring. They finally did but it was too little, too late and came just after Santos had increased their lead after a terrible mistake from the usually reliable Julio César in the Corinthians goal. For all their ball possession, Liedson and his teammates couldn’t (apart from the goal) create any clear cut chances. Santos, clearly exhausted after their exertions in the Copa Libertadores (where they have recently travelled to Mexico and Colombia), hung on and defended well under the circumstances. And so its another trophy for coach Muricy.

In the state of Minas Gerais Cruzeiro overcame a first leg defeat (2-1) to win the State Championship there. They won 2-0 on the day (goals from Wallyson and Gilberto) and 3-2 on aggregate. In in the city of Porto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul, Internacional, like Cruzeiro, put their surprizing recent Copa Libertadores elimination behind them to beat their local rivals Grêmio. The match went to penalties after the Inter goalkeeper Renan, gifted Grêmio a way back into the match. The fourth best youngster in Brazilian football Leandro Damião scored for Inter while six best Leandro started the match for Grêmio but failed to make a big impact and was substituted.

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