THE first phase of the 2012 Campeonato Gaúcho – the Taça Piratini got off to a dramtic start over the weekend, with Lajeadense and Avenida the centre of a major upsets, recording victories over state heavyweights Grêmio and Internacional.
Caio Júnior began his tenure in charge of Grêmio with a shock defeat, as the Tricolor entertained Lajeadense in front of 18,000 crowd at the Estadio Olímpico. Ramos headed Lajeadense in front on the stroke of half-time but worse was to come for Grêmio within minutes of the restart. Debutant Kleber’s stray back-pass was gratefully picked up by Jandson, whose cut-back was coolly put away by Tata to add a second for the visitors. Lajeadense saw themselves reduced to ten men for the final half-hour when Bruninho picked up a second yellow card, but Grêmio were unable to take advantage of their numerical superiority, leaving Caio Júnior to rue his side’s errors.
Defending Gauchão champions Internacional played their second game of the competition on Sunday with an unlikely 3-2 defeat at last season’s Segunda Divisão champions, Avenida. Fielding an under-strength team, with a firm eye on Wednesday’s Copa Libertadores clash with Once Caldes, Inter raced into an eleventh minute lead when Gilberto’s shot crept in off keeper Rodrigo Feijão, before Fabrício’s cross-cum shot doubled the Colorado’s advantage shortly before half-time, giving no sign of the remarkable comeback that would follow. Avenida’s resurgence began when Leonardo headed in unmarked on 56 minutes, substitute Vincinius made an almost immediate impact, firing in a second before Alex Amado stole in six minutes later to deservedly put the jubilant Santa Cruz do Sul outfit ahead. The Colorado began their campaign last Wednesday, with Oscar scoring the only goal of the game against Novo Hamburgo.
Newly promoted Cerâmica were denied victory on their return to the top flight after an injury time equaliser from Zulu salvaged a 2-2 draw for Juventude. Cerâmica got off to a dream start when Dinei headed them into a fifth minute lead before captain, Bruno Salvador levelled for Ju. Léo Mineiro restored Cerâmica’s lead on the 58th minute but hopes of a famous victory at the Estádio Vieirão were dashed when Zulu stole in to equalise.
Pressure is already mounting on Santa Cruz coach Edinho following their 3-1 defeat at Cruzeiro-RS. After a string of poor pre-season results, the coach was criticised for his teams election in the defeat to Cruzeiro. Jean Paulo netted twice either side of Gavião’s strike for the Leão da Montanha with substitute Gustavo scoring a late consolation.
Cruzeiro-RS 3-1 Santa Cruz
Cerâmica 2-2 Juventude
Novo Hamburgo 3-1 São José
Grêmio 0-2 Lajeadense
Avenida 3-2 Internacional
Veranópolis 3-1 Canoas
Pelotas 1-2 São Luiz