All to play for in the semi-final second legs of the Campeonato Paulista
The São Paulo state championship playoffs got off to a great start with a pulsating game in the Vila Belmiro between holders Palmeiras and Santos.
Keirrison put Palmeiras in front when he headed home early in the first-half. That was the much-coveted forward’s 13th goal in the Paulista. Kléber Pereira equalized with a very well struck goal before the interval. Santos then went ahead shortly after the restart after the Palmeiras defence stood off Neymar and allowed the teenager to turn and shoot past a motionless Marcos.
See the highlights here
On Sunday, the Corinthians and São Paulo clash in the Pacaembu turned out to be equally as gripping.
With two defensive-minded teams on show, the prospects for a good match were not that good. But with Corinthians forced to take the game to São Paulo, the fixture was played at a high pace.
Just like the first semi-final in the Vila, it was the away side that took the lead. Jorge Wágner floated the ball in and Miranda claimed to have got the final touch to send it into the net (though whether he actually made real contact remains debatable).
The goal was somewhat against the run of play and it took Corinthians exactly four minutes before they responded. Jorge Henrique set up Elias who scored an absolute beauty after picking his way through the São Paulo backline.
André Dias was sent off for a second yellow in the second-period. Corinthians coach Mano Menezes remained unwilling to make changes and it looked as if the game would end in stalemate. But late into stoppage time, Cristian picked up the ball in a deep position, drifted towards the São Paulo goal before firing past Rogério Ceni.
See the highlights here
The two results have set things up perfectly for the return matches next weekend. On Saturday, Palmeiras and Santos will meet in the Palestra Itália at 18:10 local time. And on Sunday, it’s São Paulo and Corinthians in the Morumbi at 16:00. A simple win by any score will send the home sides through.
Entry filed under: Campeonato Paulista 2009. Tags: Brazilian football, Campeonato Paulista semi-final first leg 2009, Corinthians, Corinthians 2-1 São Paulo April 2009, Hernanes, Keirrison, Neymar, Palmeiras, Ronaldo, Santos, Santos 2-1 Palmeiras April 2009, São Paulo.