Sunday, May 1, 2011
Santos beats Sao Paulo 2-0 as Neymar and Ganso combine again; Corinthians defeats Palmeiras on penalties
The Neymar, Ganso and Elano combination continues to scintillate in Brazilian football in both the 2011 Copa Libertadores and the Sao Paulo state championship. In Saturday's Sao Paulo championship semi-final, Santos struggled to impose their rhythm over Sao Paulo in the first half despite a bevy of scoring opportunities for Neymar, who repeatedly exploded down the left flank and then cut diagonally inward after dribbling through a maze of Sao Paulo defenders. The complexion of the game changed dramatically in the 61st minute when Paulo Henrique Ganso received a pass from Neymar in the box from the left. Ganso collected the ball, moved to his left and then turned and lifted the ball onto the crown of Elano's head on the right flank. Elano made no mistake and headed the ball past the keeper's right hand into the back of the net to give Santos a 1-0 lead. Roughly ten minutes later, Neymar latched onto a magnificent through ball from midfield that sent him clear of all but two Sao Paulo defenders. Unable to circumvent the Sao Paulo defense, Neymar skillfully maintained possession until he saw Ganso burst toward goal from the center of midfield. Ganso coolly collected Neymar's pass and dispatched a left footed rocket into the top of the net in a play that recalled Ganso's goal against America in the first leg match of their round of 16 game in the Copa Libertadores. Santos now play Corinthians in the Sao Paulo state championship final. Corinthians defeated Palmerias 6-5 on penalties after regular time goals by Amara (Palmeiras) and Willian (Corinthians) tied the match at 1-1. Santos now go into their May 3 clash against America bursting with confidence as the Neymar-Ganso partnership picks up steam.