Six horse race | Brazilfooty


Internacional is the new favorite title (Image: Getty Images)

The extended 2020 Premier League season is coming to an end and with eight matches remaining, six teams can still win.

It wasn’t long ago that the winner of the Brazilian League was not the team that collected the most points, but the team that won a mini-final at the end of the season was eliminated from the cup competition among the best teams. It might not be the most equitable system, but it means that it rewarded the team that produced the merchandise when it really mattered, and it was the most exciting too.

Some fans are still complaining about the new boring system, but at least they can’t this year. It’s a shame that fans aren’t allowed into the stadiums, but with eight matches to play, six teams are still on the verge of winning the league. The six teams involved: Internacional, CO Paulo, Flamengo, Atletico Mineiro, Palmeiras and Gremio. It’s almost like a knockout system again. These six played each other last week.

Internacional crushed Paulo 5-1, adding all kinds of pressure to Fernando Dinez and his players. They did well earlier this season and were top of the league in 14 games – but their recent downfall has been just as stunning as their rise earlier in the season. Last night I watched them draw 1-1 at home to threaten Coritiba with relegation – it was shortly after their team bus was attacked with stones and BOMBS by an angry mob of their alleged fans.

The moment the team coach was attacked

Before defeating Internacional, Sí£o Paulo had only earned a point in three matches. After Curitiba’s result, that’s two out of five points – not the title winners form. After tonight’s game, Fernando Deniz could get the boot. But, despite all the turmoil, they are still one point behind league leaders Internacional (although they have played one game more). They definitely have a chance, if only they can change their look.

Gremio and Atletico Mineiro tied 1-1 in the middle of last week, while Flamengo beat Palmeiras 2-0. These results mean that this weekend there were only eight points separating sixth-placed Greomeo and leaders Internacional. This may not seem the smallest gap with eight games remaining, but Gríªmio has a match on hand and they play Internacional in one of the most important Classicos in Porto Alegre in recent years. If they win their game in hand and Classico The difference is reduced to two points. That’s how tight things are.

It’s been such a strange season: no fans in the stadiums. Matches and team selections have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak in teams; narrower than usual calendar; And the season spans Christmas, New Year and the height of summer. For these reasons, and not just for these reasons, the teams found consistency to be very tricky. Nobody thought that anyone could stop Flamengo from entering this season, but then Jorge Jesus left and opened the door for competition. Flamengo exploded hot and cold under Dominic Torrent, who was eventually sent off and replaced by Rogerio Ceni. But their form under Sene’s leadership was quite mixed. They still have the best team in my opinion and beating Palmeiras gives them an excellent chance.

Palmeiras wobbled as well and was disappointed against Flamengo last week. But the fact that they are in a mix of the league, given the number of games they played en route to the Copa del Rey final and the Copa Libertadores final, is impressive. This reflects their power in depth to handle the size of games. But they have struggled with consistency even when their best players are available, highlighted by their dominant 3-0 Libertadores win in the semi-final first leg over Reef Plate and a painful 2-0 loss (and clinging to dear life) in the second leg.

Gríªmio will play with Palmeiras in the Copa Brasil Final and they are already Copa Brasil specialists. They don’t have the biggest team, and they often rest players for league matches (which gets them ready for the cup). That they are so far in the league is impressive. They don’t have the biggest budget, which is a point their coach Renato Gaucho likes to tell them to whoever will listen, but they also benefit from stability, something few of their competitors get. Renato has been their coach for four years, while the managers of three of their competitors have been in office for less than four months. He and his team’s results are benefiting from this stability. Of course, Renato is one of the reasons for the stability himself, but he can also be thankful that he does not have a happy boss.

The crazy and mercurial Argentine Mineiro is managed by Jorge Sampaoli. I admire the way he pushes his teams to play: with speed, skill and courage. But they lost 3-2 to Vasco last night. Like a lot of the matches they failed to win, there was a lot of admiration for their performance, but a few individual errors and a lack of consistency in the crucial moments, it was costly. Last night’s result confirms what I’ve been expecting for some time: While promising, they may fall short this year.

Finally, my favorite titles at this time are Internacional. They were flying earlier in the season under Argentine coach Eduardo Codet, who was doing a great job. They weren’t playing the prettiest football, but they were organized, hardworking and hard to win. This seemed to make sense with the players at their disposal and with Thiago Gallardo in their ranks, they had the league’s deadliest scorer in their ranks. Gameplan: Choke the opponent and score a goal through Galhardo.

But in the middle of the season and the team was well positioned to be a serious contender for the title, Codet decided to pack his bags and move to Spain to take over as Celta Vigo coach. Inter’s level has fallen alarmingly and new coach Abel Braga has been sacked by many, including the club’s hierarchy, as a stop-gap. In fact, it is literally a stopping point now as the club’s hierarchy has taken the extraordinary step of appointing talented Spanish coach Miguel Angel Ramirez as their new coach for 2021, while Abel Braga was in the position. Braga wasn’t happy, understandably, but agreed to stay until the end of this season and to prove a point, he put the team in seven straight games.

A title win for sure. Particularly impressive is how he transformed the team’s playing style into a more attacking one and did so by unleashing youngsters such as Bruno Praxides, Cayo Vidal and Yuri Alberto. Beating their neighbors and title contender Gremio today would be a big step towards winning the league.

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