Friday, 27 May 2011

Vasco and Coritiba Reach Cup Final; Santos Beat Cerro Porteño

This week provided plenty of cup drama in Brazilian football, with the semi-finals of both the Copa do Brasil and the Libertadores taking place. Vasco and Coritiba progressed domestically, whilst Santos established a first leg lead in the continental competition.

Copa do Brasil Round-up
Vasco travelled to Avaí's Ressacada stadium on Wednesday, hoping to build on their strong Série A display against Ceará at the weekend. Ricardo Gomes' side started the match in fine fashion, and led within five minutes; Avaí midfielder Revson could only flick Felipe's devilish free-kick into his own net. The Gigante da Colina would go on to double their advantage before the interval, and in some style; Alecsandro's delicate through-ball found Diego Souza, who effortlessly clipped a finish over the onrushing Renan. Vasco took their foot off the gas in the second period, but saw out the match with some comfort.

Vasco goalkeeper Fernando Prass celebrates his side's victory.

In the other semi, Coritiba snuck past Ceará to reach their first ever Copa do Brasil final. A tight match at the Couto Pereira was settled by a wonderful goal; Anderson Aquino wriggled past two defenders on the edge of the area, before curling a wonderful shot into the corner of the net. Marcelo Oliveira, who has already lead the Coxa to state championship glory this term, will be hoping to add to his haul in the two-legged final.

Copa Libertadores Round-up
In-form Santos welcomed Cerro Porteño to the Pacaembu on Wednesday, for the first leg of their Libertadores semi-final. The Peixe, eager to establish an advantage ahead of the return leg in Paraguay, started the stronger; both Léo and Elano went close in the opening stages. The breakthrough finally came just before halftime; Neymar (who else?) danced past a cluster off defenders, before lofting a cross to the far post. Santos centreback Edu Dracena could hardly believe his luck, and headed home via the crossbar. Cerro Porteño almost managed to grab an immediate equaliser, but Rafael pulled off a stunning save to deny Benítez.

Edu Dracena wheels away after giving Santos a crucial lead.

The hosts continued to impress in the second half, and had numerous chances to double their lead; Neymar brought a flying save from Barreto, and Maikon Leite (who came on for the woeful Zé Eduardo) blazed over from a good position. The best opportunity of all, however, arrived in injury time. Neymar's deflected cross landed at feet of Alan Patrick, but the youngster could only scuff his shot straight at the 'keeper from five yards. Muricy Ramalho will hope that his side's profligacy doesn't come back to haunt them in the second leg.

Results. Copa do Brasil; Avaí 0-2 Vasco (1-3 on aggregate), Coritiba 1-0 Ceará (1-0 on aggregate). Libertadores; Santos 1-0 Cerro Porteño.

(Photo credits; (1) Antonio Carlos Mafalda, (2) Ivan Storti.)

2 comments:

  1. How do you think Santos will do in the second leg? With Santos the only Brazilian team left in the Copa Libertadores is the whole country behind them, or will traditional rivalries see some fans supporting Cerro Porteño?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oops, only just saw this, sorry!

    I reckon they'll draw 3-3, for some reason... ;)

    I think most people are behind them, although probably not going out of their way to show support in most cases.

    ReplyDelete

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