Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brazil September 2010 part 2

Figueirense 1 Brasiliense 0 in Serie B.

The first of two games in Florianopolis - this one at the Orlando Scarpelli stadium on the mainland.
For once it was nice to see a game in the daylight.
The home side are challenging for promotion and their opponents battling against going down to Serie C.
Figueirense’s good form ensured a decent turnout of over 8,000 in mild cloudy weather.

They play in a cosy, medium sized ground with apartment blocks nearby.
The seats, mostly uncovered in uneven blocks, are painted in the club colours (green)

The game itself was watchable with Brasiliense starting well but unable to break through.
Urged on by the home fans Figueirense did better in the second period.

The winner came half way the 2nd half - headed in from a corner.

I took the bus back to the island for some sushi and later, alcohol.

Avai 5 Ceara 0.

I was taking the bus from the centre to the Ressacada stadium when some of the fans got quite impatient with the slow boarding (suggestion - get rid of those ridiculous turnstiles in the buses)

One of them kept shouting at the driver, the bus didn’t move, and eventually the driver had had enough. Fortunately a replacement quickly took over and off we went.

Quite a contrast for this second match in Florianopolis as it rained hard and was quite a lot cooler.
Before the match I visited the Avai trophy room, though nothing like Vasco’s, it did have some very interesting old photos and documents from their past.

The ground comprises two similar stands, part covered with uncovered smaller ends. Half the right end and some of the side were occupied by a reasonable number of away fans.

This time the seats were blue and not too many were filled in the main stand as the wind drove in the rain.
So we stood at the back.

To watch the home side cope much better with the surface water and the uncomfortable conditions
Judging by the lush scenery it rains a lot more in Florianopolis than (say) Fortaleza.

The first two goals were partly due to the atrocious condtions , the second resulting in a penalty.
The fans celebrated by singing ´oop avhay´.

The next three goals were all crackers including two great shots by Jeferson, one right, one left footed.
The scoring ended after 57 minutes.

After that Avai were content to hold Ceara and with about 10 miuntes to go the 4,000 crowd had seen enough, happy with the performance and glad to escape the rain.

I joined them on the bus - this time nobody shouted at the driver.

An early night and a reasonable sleep, helped by some earplugs to muffle the sound of the rain beating on the windows (Brazil eh !)

Parana 0 Sport Recife 2 in Serie B.

From Florianopolis to Curitiba, a five hour bus ride.

Parana play at the Estadio Durival Britto (or Vila Capanema), a stadium that was used during the 1950 World Cup.

Though it is reckoned to be able to hold 20,000 that would seem to be quite a tight squeeze.

Nothing like that number (actually 2,346) turned out on this night with maybe 30 or so from distant Recife.
The home ultras wore their trendy looking white jump suits.

Though one of the cooler evenings on this trip at 15 degrees there was little wind & so it did come as a surprise to see the no.9 for Sport wearing gloves.

For the away team, who had been relegated from the top level last season, it was a reasonably comfortable victory.

The first came from a penalty and the second from a free kick after a Parana defender had blocked a forward run (he would get sent off)

The locals voiced their disapproval and offered some advice as the players disappeared down the tunnel at half time.

During the second period Parana had some half chances but generally struggled.

As I’d found it an awkward walk from downtown to the stadium, being hemmed in by the old railway lines, I opted to take a taxi back to my hotel after the match (and also because the game didn’t finish until a quarter to midnight)

Palmeiras 2 Internacional 0 at the Barueri Arena.

And so to Sao Paulo, or rather Barueri and the very modern Arena.

Where Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Palmeiras played against the Copa Libertadores winners.

In Brazil a 7.30pm kickoff seems to be a tricky time as many were queuing outside.
That and having great difficulty getting a taxi in the notorious local traffic meant I missed the first five minutes of this one.

But once inside the atmosphere was excellent with the Palmeiras fans spread out over three stands generating some good noise.
As you would expect there was a much smaller group from Port Alegre, mostly in the lower tier behind the left hand goal.

Though a relatively new stadium it does have very little cover and many got wet during a rain shower.
Two rocket free kicks from Marcos Assuncao decided the outcome in favour of Palmeiras.

Chilean Jorge Valdivia showed some tricky skills for the home side and he was well applauded when substituted near the end.

Inter ended frustrated and well held.

I disappeared into the Barueri night and happened to meet a couple of guys from my hotel on the way out of the ground. So we shared a taxi back to our hotel and I managed a few words of Portuguese.

Portuguesa 6 Parana 1 in Serie B.

I decided to extend my stay in Sao Paulo for a couple of days to take in this game and especially to see Corinthians on the Saturday.

Portuguesa’s Candide stadium is close to the ‘marginal’ the main highway that leads out towards Guarulhos airport. It is also quite close to the main bus station.

It’s a 20,000 capacity ground with a covered main stand and open seats opposite and curved ends. Not that anywhere near 20,000 attended on this Friday night.

The home ultras had their flag turned upside down.
But they had to be happy with this performance.

Their team went 3-0 up after 30 minutes and held that until half time.
Parana did somewhat better in the second period and managed to get a goal back early in the half.

However in the end Portuguesa stopped any comeback with a fourth and then two late efforts
sealed the victory.

Next time the ultras should display their flag the right way up.

With help from a local I negotiated my way back to the Armenia metro and was back in Avenida Paulista for a caipirinha nightcap by 11.45pm.

Corinthians 2 Avai 2.

Thirteenth and last game of this visit to Brazil.

The Pacaembu stadium has the advantage of being walkable from the western end of Avenida Paulista (Sao Paulo’s most famous street)
I did the journey twice having forgot to bring my camera.
Fortunately I initially left early to go the football museum. That was closed, predictable I guess with a game being played, but it gave me enough time to trek up the hill to my hotel and back again.

It was hot and humid.
Despite the sweat I had that big game feeling as I joined the many Corinthian fans making their way to their historic stadium, it being another that staged games at the 1950 World Cup.

For me any inner city ground is just more atmospheric and that certainly applies to the Pacaembu with apartment blocks nearby and the feeling of an ampitheatre.
Especially when packed with over 30,000 fans.

The ultras groups have their areas around the ground although most of the songs were started by the Gavioes section to the left.

Corinthians are the best supported team in the Brasileiro, especially with Flamengo doing poorly this year.
But amazingly they do not currently have the best home support in Brazilian football as that honour to Santa Clara (over 30,000) in Serie D.
It makes you wonder if there are, or have been, any other countries where the top average attendance is from a team in the fourth level ?

Though many fans wore Ronaldo shirts the man himself didn’t play though another hero Roberto Carlos, now 37, and Edu , ex-Arsenal did start.

Ceara did their best to spoil the afternoon as they broke away to make it 1-0 in the first 15 minutes.
Corinthians were struggling and the fans complained about their finishing and it also didn’t help that title rivals Fluminense were winning.

As some light rain fell Ceara went 2-0 ahead following another breakaway.

It seemed like it wouldn’t be Corinthians match but with 20 minutes remaining Paulinho chipped it over the goalie and with Flu now drawing the mood changed as the noise was cranked up.

The equaliser came from Argentinian substitute Defederico - a left footed free kick from the right that eluded everyone including the Ceara goalie.
Though it was a fairly frantic and very noisy last 10 minutes Corinthians coudln’t fashion a winner.
Nevertheless I was glad I had extended my visit to take in a big match at the Pacaembu.

This and the Vasco match were the only games at which I was given a conventional programme (20 pages in the case of Corinthians) though for some of the other matches there were newspaper style ‘journals’.

After the game I strolled back up the hill and later enjoyed a steak and some wine in an Avenida Paulista restaurant.

So I’d been to some new cities in this vast country.
From the beaches and sunshine of Natal and Fortaleza in the north to the rain of Florianopolis in the south.

Along the way you couldn’t avoid the election activity.

And I saw some excellent games in some fascinating stadiums.

more pictures at

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