Santos take the Paulista – but only just!
Santos were crowned champions of the Campeonato Paulista 2010 after drawing 5-5 on aggregate with Santo André. The boys from the Vila won the first leg 3-2 but lost the second by the same score line. With no penalties or extra-time in the competition, Santos took the title because they finished higher in the group stage.
Santos had three men sent off in the decider on Sunday but Santo André can still feel hard done by. The Paulista rules (which worked in their favour in the semis), the woodwork (twice) and a goal incorrectly ruled offside, all conspired to deny Sergio Soares’ men the title. In truth, Santo André were the better side in the two final games. Santos, though, produced some scintillating football during the tournament and thoroughly deserved to win the championship after knocking in a whopping 72 goals in 23 games.
On Sunday, Santo André needed to win by two clear goals and couldn’t have asked for better start. With only 30 seconds on the clock, Alex Cicinho broke free and set up Nunes for a tap in. Santo Andrés’ joy was short-lived. Neymar struck within six minutes after another trademark run across the box that left defenders in his wake. Santo André responded with a headed goal from Alê. But with the match being played at a pulsating pace and the result in balance, referee Salvio Spinola Fagundes Filho stepped in to ruin the spectacle after Nunes and Léo were unnecessarily red-carded.
31 minutes in, Santos drew level again after Neymar struck for the second time. With the Vila side seemingly back in control, Marquinhos uncharacteristically committed a late, but not dangerous, challenge on Branquinho and immediately got his marching orders.
Santo André pressured the opposition and were rewarded with a goal by Branquinho shortly before half-time.
In the second-period, the Série B outfit were slow to press home their two-man advantage. But a great chance to score a decisive goal was wasted by top scorer Rodriguinho. After rounding keeper Felipe, the number 11 hit a weak shot that was cleared off the line by Arouca.
Santos were then reduced to eight, after substitute Roberto Brum went for clipping Pio.
But by this time, Santo André had run out of steam and were finding it difficult to make any in roads.
Santos held on and the boys from the Vila took what could be the first in a long line of silverware if they can keep this bunch of players together.
With the Paulista in the bag, Santos will now turn their attention to the Copa do Brasil and Atlético Mineiro. On Saturday, Santos travel to Rio for their opener in the Brasileiro when they take on Botafogo – a game you can see with us.
As for Santo André, they start their battle for a quick return to Série A with a match vs Icasa. But after making it to the finals of the Paulista, you can expect to see many of their players popping up with teams in the Brasileiro top flight.
Entry filed under: Campeonato Paulista 2010. Tags: Brazilian football, Campeonato Paulista champions 2010, Neymar, Paulo Henrique Lima, Robinho, Santo André, Santos, Santos 2-3 Santo André Campeonato Paulista finals 2010.