Final round of the Paulista group stage: Palmeiras, São Paulo and Corinthians in the semis but will Santos make it?
The penultimate round of the Campeonato Paulista saw São Paulo and Corinthians join Palmeiras in the playoffs. The fate of Santos, though, will only be decided on Sunday when they take on Oeste in the Pacaembu.
On Tuesday, leaders Palmeiras appeared to be stuttering just as the Paulista reaches its crucial stage. Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s side have long since qualified. But after an insipid performance that saw them draw 1-1 away at strugglers Oeste, Palmeiras could lose the top slot on the final day if they mess up against Botafogo.
Corinthians clinched their place in the semis with a 3-0 won over Ituano. The Parque São Jorge’s final group game is away to an improving Mirassol who are pushing for a better position in the Campeão do Interior tournament (for the teams that finish in 5th to 8th place but excludes any of the big four). That’s our match and we kick off at 16:00 local time as do all the games (in theory).
On Thursday, São Paulo’s 2-1 win over Guaratinguetá was watched by a mere 12,000 in the Morumbi. Washington and Dagoberto were on target and now São Paulo are just two points behind Palmeiras. The Morumbi outfit are away to São Caetano on the last day but the match will be played in Presidente Prudente.
Santos kept their hope alive after beating playoff rivals Portuguesa 1-0 in the Vila Belmiro. Kléber Pereira got the game’s only goal. Santos, though, will probably have to beat Ponte Preta in Campinas to clinch a top four finish. Fortunately for Santos, the two teams right behind them meet in Canindé for their final match.
Portuguesa have the same number of points and wins as Santos. But boys from the Vila Belmiro have a slightly better goal difference (1 goal to be precise). On Sunday, Portuguesa take on Santo André who are still in with a chance of gate-crashing the knockout phase. The ABC team have 33 points, the same number of wins as Santos and Portuguesa but with a better goal difference than their more illustrious neighbours.