On Tuesday Club America and Sao Caetano will kickoff the two teams first semifinal leg of the 2002 Copa Libertadores, in Estadio Anacleto Campanella of São Caetano, Brazil. Club America has been in the Semis before, making it in 2000 against the Boca Juniors. The semis is a very new experience for São Caetano, a team that has only been in existence since 1989 and seems to be enjoying the feel of the competition that takes place in the Copa Libertadores.
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America won the El Verano (Summer) Championship of Mexico last month, with a stunning victory over Necaxa. After being down on aggregate, America posted a 3-0 victory in the last leg of the Verano, which secured America's first Mexican Championship since 1989. Now that Club America have tasted championship champagne once this year, one can be sure that the Aguilas will want another swig from the bottle.
São Caetano is starting to build a tradition of being the Bridesmaid, but not becoming the bride. Last year, São Caetano were the runners-up for the Campeonato Brasileiro. Then this year in the Rio/Sao Paulo Tournament, São Caetano made it to the Semi-final round and lost to current Champions, Corinthians. São Caetano had mixed results over the weekend. On Wednesday São Caetano lost to Goias, in their opening match of the 2002 edition of the Copa dos Campeões of Brazil. Then on Saturday, São Caetano got the best of Atletico-PR, with a 2-1 over their archnemsis.
WHO IS HOT
Reinaldo Navia has scored 5 goals in the Libertadores. The 24-year-old Chilean was loaned to the Los Aguilas from the UAG Tecos. Now Navia likes playing with Aguilas and doesn't want to return to Guadalajara.
Rubens Cardoso is everywhere that São Caetano needs him to be. The defender makes runs up front to create more space for the team's deadly strikers. This will be needed in a bigger supply, as São Caetano has sold Brandao to Ukrainian upstarts Shakhtar Donetsk.
WHO IS NOT
German Villa; what was this guy doing in Korea/Japan this summer? Was he there to provide protection for the rest of El Tri? Anyway, look for this guy to mug either Somalia or Wagner, if they find space in the Aguilas midfield.
Wagner hasn't scored since March of this year. If São Caetano has any inkling to move onto the next round, they will need to score goals in Brazil because the altitude and smog of Mexico City in the return leg, will stop their fast, moving style for sure.
America - Adolfo Ríos; Pavel Pardo, Duilio Davino, Andrés Silva, Ricardo Rojas; Antonio Castro; Argemiro Veiga, Alberto Salinas; Christian Patiño, Hugo Castillo, Reynaldo Navia
Somalia and Adaozinho finished the Mexican undefeated streak. Despite being a great result for the brazilians, America still has good chance of turning around the tie in their favor. Specially playing in the DF.
São Caetano hands America their first 2002 Libertadores loss
São Caetano hands America their first 2002 Libertadores loss
Sao Caetano defeated Club America 2-0, in the first leg of their Semifinal series of the Copa Libertadores on a cold winter night in Estadio Anacleto Campanella of São Caetano, Brazil. The Brazilian squad scored both of their goals in the first half of the match. The first goal came from Somalia, off an excellent executed 1-2 pass with Robert in the 25th minute. Somalia ran through 6 defenders and found himself one on one with Aguilas keeper Adolfo Rios. Somalia put the ball high towards the net. Rios was able to get his hands on the shot, but the shot was just too strong and went into the back of the net. The 2nd goal looked like a play from the Korea/Japan World Cup, which came in the 40th minute. Somalia was able to get himself into another one on one position against Rios. However this time Somalia wasn't able to get a good first touch and Somalia pushed the ball past Rios towards the endline. As Somalia ran to get the ball, he ran into Rios. Somalia instinctively fell onto the pitch and center Judge, Ubaldo Aquino pointed to the spot. Then Adaozinho stepped up to the spot and converted the kick. Aquino denied the score, as he said the players from São Caetano ran into the Aguilas box prematurely. So Adãozinho stepped back up and put another shot pass Rios for a score.
After that goal, São Caetano just hung in their back third and waited to see if America could invent a chance on their goal. America did create some chances, but their efforts were always denied in the end. Then in the 93rd minute of the match, São Caetano defender Russo got tangled with Reinaldo Navia and both players were shown red. Navia's expulsion might be more detrimental, because America will need to score 3 goals in the return leg at Mexico City on July 16th, to get into the final round of the Copa Libertadores. Let it be known that America does hold a serious advantage in the final leg of the Semifinal round, due to the altitude of Mexico City, but São Caetano has the 2-0 aggregate lead. Can São Caetano hold onto this advantage ? Stay tune for the next match in Estadio Azteca next week, to find out the ultimate truth.
Sao Caetano defeated Club America on July 9th and will take a 2-0 aggregate lead into Estadio Azteca Tuesday. São Caetano defeated the Aguilas with a short pass game, where the Brazilian squad were able to use their quickness and create many opportunities. America will have to score 3 goals to make it to the final round, but does have a huge advantage with the match being played in Mexico City, where the smog and attitude are killers to visiting teams. Can São Caetano hang on to their aggregate lead?
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Club America is currently getting ready for the Mexican Liga Invierno (Winter) Tournament. America didn't really have much of a chance to celebrate their winning of the Verano (Summer) Tournament, as they lost their first match in the 2002 edition of the Copa Libertadores in São Caetano. America made it to the Semis of the Libertadores in 2000, losing to the Boca Juniors on a 5-4 aggregate. America was in a similar position, being down 4-1 aggregate and coming into the final match of the semi-final tie in Estado Azteca. The Aguilas fought to tie up the aggregate count. The match looked to be heading into a penalty shootout, but Walter Samuel scored in the 83rd minute to see the Buenos Aires Giants through to the finals.
São Caetano was just booted out of the Copa dos Campeões (Champions' Cup). They were tossed by Flamengo with a 1-0 score on Saturday. The team arrived to Mexico City on Sunday evening and are attempting to acclimate to the higher altitude. Also there is huge weather change as the South Americans are going through their winter, while in North America it is summertime.
WHO IS HOT
Adolfo Rios made some very crucial saves last week against São Caetano to keep Club America in a position to possibly advance. He had to stop to make at least 3 one on one stops in front of the Aguilas' net.
Somalia gave the Aguilas defense all that they could handle. On the first goal, he ran through the America backfield as if it was non-existent. Then Somalia helped to set-up the penalty with his pressure in the America penalty area.
WHO IS NOT
When Club America really could use Reynaldo Navia, he won't be there because he lost his temper. At a time when America needs to scores goals, they will not have their leading Copa Libertadores goal scorer available. Ivan Zamorano will replace his countryman and try to lead America to the promise land.
Russo had just returned to the starting line-up after recovering from an injury. The red card offense that he undertook was at the last minute of the match last Tuesday and it could really become a thorn in the Brazilian squad's side. The Brazilians will obviously be looking for a tie, but the odds are against them in the high altitude. For this small Brazilian outfit, the trip to Mexico City represents the furthest distance that many of its players have ever made in their careers to play a match and the mental lapse could cost them.
America - Adolfo Ríos; Antonio Castro, Duilio Davino, Ricardo Rojas, Raúl Salinas;
Pável Pardo, Germán Villa, Argemiro Veiga; Hugo Castillo, Iván Zamorano, Christian Patiño
Sao Caetano and Club America tangled on Tuesday evening in Estadio Azteca of Mexico City, the same Estadio Azteca that Brazil won the World Cup 32 years ago. Of course there were very few Brazilians fans on hand, as the locals came out to support their beloved Aguilas. Unfortunately for them, those fans would be disappointed as São Caetano held America to a 1-1 draw and advanced to the finals of the Copa Libertadores with a 3-1 aggregate win. America looked unbeatable in the matches before the Semi-finals, but the man called Somalia was just too much to handle for the Aguilas. Somalia continued to create opportunities for São Caetano and in the 9th minute the tall linky striker terrorized again. São Caetano sent a long ball into the right corner of America's area. Somalia got possession, but had Duilio Davino and Alberto Salinas marking him. Somalia was able to shake Salinas, but Davino won possession. However, Davino wasn't able to clear the ball and Somalia regained the ball. Somalia sent a low cross in front of the Aguilas net, which got by Adolfo Rios. Ailton got to the ball, but with two defenders on him. The ball bounced around on the line, but Antonio Castro kicked the ball into the net. Still Aílton was credited with the goal.
So with an away goal and a 3-0 aggregate lead, São Caetano just hung back in their defensive third baiting America to try to score. America was in desperate straits, as they would need 4 goals to make it to the finals. With 8 to 9 São Caetano players in their end, the Aguilas were doomed. However the Agulias did put up a valiant effort. With the score still at 1-0 at the beginning of the second half, America headman Manuel Lapuente inputted Luis Hernandez and Jesus Mendoza for help in creating goals. At first Lapuente looked like a genius, because in the 49th minute America earned a free kick in front of the São Caetano penalty area. The ball was placed 25 yards out and Pavel Pardo connected on a beautiful free kick, which went around the wall and into the upper "V" of the net for the score. However that would be the last Hurrah for the Aguilas and their fans. São Caetano excellent ball control and well-organized defense, would take the air out the Aguilas attack.
The result brought an end to the Mexican dominance in the 2002 Libertadores. America had done so well in this tournament, starting with their remarkable victory over River Plate in the El Monumental back on February 28th. The Aguilas run brought a little pressure CSF, which had to make a statement about the representative of South America in the Intercontinental Cup later this year, which showcases the winners of the Libertadores against the winner of the Champions' League. At the America was unbeaten and looking as a guarantee finalist, so the CSF wanted to make sure there was no uncertainty that America wasn't going to represent South America in the match. Now São Caetano will await the winner of the Olimpia/Gremio semi-final tie. Those two combatants will face off tomorrow in Estadio Olímpico Monumental of Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Oh well !!! America...there's alaways a tomorrow !!!!
Sao Caetano's manager Jair Picerni quietly proceeds with his awesome job. This guy is a master of gathering common players and using them masterfully in their own best positions. It may sound simple but it's not - most managers try to 'adapt' players to fit in the team's holes, and it often doesn't work.
Picerni has a keen eye for choosing the right player for the right position. He had Magrao as a striker, Magrao's loan ended, and he went after Somalia, who plays exactly like Magrao. He lost Simao to Turkish football and he hired Bruno Quadros, a former Flamengo defensive mid with the same characteristics. It goes on and on; replacing key players with new key players at low prices, with these 'average-to-good' teams, Picerni reached TWO Brazilian championship finals in a row - and now he's on the final of the Libertadores. :eekani:
This guy's competence can not be questioned anymore. If he wins the Libertadores Cup with this team, he will be a strong contender for Best Manager in the World. One thing is for sure about Picerni: In the future, he will be Brazil's National Team coach. It's only a matter of time.