Inter Host São Paulo in an ALL Brazilian Semi-Final.By: Mauro | July 28th, 2010
In Semi-final 2 taking place tonight we have an all Brazilian affair which guarantees that a Brazilian team will be in the final. The first leg of this tie will take place in Porto Alegre at the Estadio José Pinheiro Borda a.k.a. Beira-Rio. Refereed by Argentine Hector Baldassi, this match has the makings of a hotly contested tie.
With the return of goalkeeper Renan from Valencia, Inter coach Celso Roth has his starting keeper and ageless former Boca Juniors keeper Roberto Abbonanzieri will take a spot on the bench for the Colorado. Inter also signed another familiar face, Rafael Sobis who is back at the club that gave him his start in the Brazilian league. He had stints with Betis and Al-Jazira in Abu Dhabi, UAE most recently. Inter are also still featuring midfield maestro Andrés D’Alessandro and it will be interesting to see how he links up with Rafael Sobis on the forward line. Stay tuned.
Semi-final 2 fun fact #1: Rafael Sobis was recently a witness at Fernandao’s wedding. These players will find themselves on either side of the ball this evening.
Riding a nice four game win streak Inter come into this one with a nice head of steam. Especially after knocking off current Copa Lib champions Estudiantes de La Plata in the quarters with a 1-0 win in Porto Alegre and getting an all important away goal in Argentina, in a 1-2 loss, that allowed them to squeak by the team led by Juan Sebastian Veron.
Semi-final 2 fun fact #2: These two will be replaying the tie for the 2006 Copa Lib final match. The winners in that home and away final? Inter were the 2006 champs of the Copa Libertadores that year winning 4-3 on aggregate.
Things on the São Paulo side of the ball are a little different. They lost 35-year old striker Washington to Fluminense but signed Ricardo Oliveira, who at age 30, has played at nine clubs in his career thus far. That seems to be the only transfer moves they’ve made. They are winless since the restart of their season after the World Cup but had a great performance in the quarter-finals against Cruzeiro. They won both matches convincingly with the same scoreline and with the same goal scorers. Dagoberto and Hernanes both scored a goal each in each of the legs of the quarter-finals.
Semi-final 2 fun fact #3: Fernandão (starting for São Paulo tonight) was on the Inter team that won the 2006 Copa Lib, scoring a goal in that final tie as well.
My pick: Since this is a home match for Inter and they are clearly riding a better wave of form I’m picking Inter to take this one. I’ll venture a 2-1 scoreline since I have a feeling that either Dagoberto or Hernanes will find the back of the net at some point.
The second leg is on Thursday August 5th at the Estadio Morumbi in São Paulo.