Thursday, 2 December 2010

Goiás Continue to Confound Critics in First Leg of Copa Sul-Americana Final

It's a funny old game, this football. This year, for the first time, the winners of the Copa Sul-americana (the South American equivalent of the Europa League) will receive the significant prize of automatic qualification for next year's Copa Libertadores. Rather than being a battle between two of the continent's big hitters, though, the final is being contested by two clubs who have struggled in domestic competition this term; Independiente are currently languishing near the bottom of the Argentine Primera División, while Goiás have already been relegated from Série A following a tepid campaign. It was the Brazilian club, however, who continued their inspirational cup form last night with a 2-0 first leg win at the Serra Dourada.

By the power of Greyskull; Rafael Moura celebrates his goal.

Once again it was Rafael 'He-Man' Moura who made the breakthrough for the Esmeraldino, tucking home calmly when Carlos Alberto fortuitously diverted the ball into his path. Moura has undergone a remarkable media-led transformation in the last couple of months; from hapless targetman to one of Brazil's most feared strikers. A move to one of the country's more reknowned clubs surely beckons in the off-season.

The home fans, jumping following Moura's opener, were sent into raptures just minutes later when Otacilío Neto added a fortunate second. Douglas' scuffed cross looked certain to be cut out by an Independiente defender, but somehow dribbled through to Neto, who made no mistake. Goiás remained in the ascendency, and gained a numerical advantage when Silvera was dismissed for the Argentine side. Despite their efforts, though, the scoreline remained 2-0; Artur Neto will hope that his charges have done enough ahead of next-week's second leg.

Result; Goiás 2-0 Independiente.

(Photo credit; EFE.)

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