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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Neymar Scores Hat-Trick As Santos Defeat Sao Paulo 3-1

Neymar scored a brilliant hat-trick to give Santos a 3-1 victory over Sao Paulo in the semi-final of the Paulista Championship. The 20 year old wunderkid has now scored 102 goals for Santos, behind only Joao Paulo and Serginho Chulapa in the post-Pele era. Neymar recently surpassed Robinho’s achievement of 94 goals for Santos in March. In today’s match against Sao Paulo, Neymar opened his account with a penalty kick in the third minute. Roughly thirty minutes later, in trademark fashion, Ganso found Neymar and the Santos striker coolly slotted the ball home after beating Sao Paulo defender Paulo Miranda. Despite their lead, Santos struggled to take charge of the match and remained on the counter-attack as they conceded a goal to Willian Jose in the 63rd minute and then came close to allowing an equalizer from a spectacular Cicero free kick. But in the 77th minute, Neymar delivered a rocket of a long range shot that the keeper ended up parrying into his own net.

As Neymar grows in confidence, the football world will await with baited breath the verdict on his ability to beat European and African defenders in international competition. While Neymar has ample experience with highly physical matches in South American competition such as the Copa Libertadores, much of Brazil’s fortunes at this year’s Olympics will hinge on whether the Santos starlet can perform at the same level that he does for his club, for his country in London this summer.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hulk Takes Porto Closer To Portuguese Title With Crucial Goal Against Braga

Hulk showed why he is one of the most dangerous strikers in the world with a second half goal against Braga that keeps Porto at the top of the Portuguese Premier League with four matches remaining. James Rodriguez set up Hulk by splaying the ball out to the right winger, and the powerful Brazilian responded by using his strength and pace to get ahead of the defender and one touch the ball low into the back of the next past the keeper’s right hand. The play was initiated by Hulk who saw the opening on the right wing and began the run that inspired Rodriguez’s assist. Porto now stand atop the Portuguese Premier League with 63 points, four ahead of second placed Benefica who play Sporting on Monday. Braga lie in third place with 58 points and eagerly await a slip-up by Benefica in the race for the coveted second spot in the league that enables Champions League qualification. With at least four matches remaining, the battle for first place in the Portuguese Premier League remains wide open although Hulk fired Porto closer to the title with his goal today.