Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos and São Paulo are not only the four main forces of the Paulista championship in theory as they have also confirmed, in practice, the dominance in the State, which starts this Wednesday (22).
In the last two editions of the competition, big four in the state did not allow "intruders" among the semifinalists. The last time that one of them stayed out of this phase was in 2017, when Santos fell early in the tournament and saw Ponte Preta occupy a place alongside their main rivals.
Despite this recent demonstration of superiority, if the analysis is extended to the last 20 editions of Paulista, it is not so common for the quartet to form the squad of the best four in the final stretch of the competition.
In the last 20 years, in addition to 2018 and 2019, only in 2015, 2011, 2009 and 2000 there was a classification of the four to the semifinals.
The survey considers the São Paulo Championships since 2000, with the exception of the 2002 tournaments, when the quartet did not participate because they were in the Rio-Sao Paulo, and 2005 and 2006, which were played in straight stitch format.
Since 2000, 18 clubs outside the group have reached the semifinals. Considering the 17 editions analyzed, this shows that, on average, in each tournament one of the big teams gave way to a small one among the top four.
Until 2012, for example, six editions had at least two outsiders in the semifinal stage. In 2004, there was a small final, with São Caetano and Paulista de Jundiaí deciding the title –the ABC team was champion.
The dispute 15 years ago repeated what happened in 1990, when the Campeonato Paulista had the so-called "final caipira" between Bragantino de Vanderlei Luxemburgo and Novorizontino by Nelsinho Baptista – the Bragança club won the title.
The cut of the past 20 years also shows that the smaller teams not only found space among the big ones, but also reached the final of the competition on more than one occasion.
In addition to 2005, Botafogo-SP reached the decision in 2001, when they lost to Corinthians; São Caetano again decided on Paulista in 2007, taking the vice against Santos; Ponte Preta, twice, won the runner-up in 2008 and 2017 against Palmeiras and Corinthians, respectively.
Santo André was runner-up in the state in 2010, against Santos, who also won the São Paulo title over Guarani in 2012. Two years later, the Vila Belmiro club would be the victim of the biggest recent zebra in the Paulista Championship, losing to the Ituano in the decision.
In 2016, Santos decided on the State Championship once again and took the title on Audax.
Now, in 2020, who paints as a possible fifth force in the state of São Paulo is the Red Bull Bragantino. The partnership with the energy drinks company has been working since last year, when the team won Series B of the Brazilian Championship, but as of this year the Austrians also manage the football department.
"We want to make Red Bull Bragantino the fifth force in São Paulo football. And also as a fan, as soon as possible," admits Thiago Scuro, executive of the club.
For the current season, the investment of the Bragança Paulista association has already exceeded R $ 50 million. Among the main reinforcements are strikers Artur, ex-Palmeiras, and Alerrandro, ex-Atlético-MG.
What can help the little ones to steal a spot in the qualifying stages of the State this year is the fact that the big four are together, for the first time in history, in Liberators cup, club priority for the season.
Current three-time state champion, Corinthians is already playing on the next 5th, against the winner of the duel between San José (BOL) and Guaraní (PAR), for the second phase of the continental tournament. If you qualify, you will pass through the third phase, prior to the group stage, for which Palmeiras, Santos and São Paulo are already classified.
"We know that this initial period is of fundamental importance. That we can speed up the process of finding a team to start this competition. We have to be competitive to deliver the result that will take us to the group stage," he said Tiago Nunes, In his presentation interview as Corinthians coach.
On the other hand, despite the less importance given to Paulista in relation to Libertadores, the possibility of the fourth championship followed by Corinthians, made only by Paulistano 101 years ago, and the fasting of titles in the state can make Corinthians' rivals feel pressured for their fans to pay more attention to the competition.
Palmeiras was last champion in 2008, with Vanderlei Luxemburgo – now back to club– in charge. After winning the Brazilian Championship in 2018, the alviverde team ended the 2019 season without titles and went through two changes of coach (Luiz Felipe Scolari and Mano Menezes were dismissed).
São Paulo is experiencing an even greater fast. The tricolor has not lifted the Paulista cup since 2005. In addition to the drought in the competition, the Morumbi club has been without winning for eight years. His last achievement was the Copa Sudamericana, in 2012.
Santos has not won the São Paulo title since 2016, when he was twice champion of the state. The Vila Belmiro club has not won any competition other than the State since 2012, when it won the Recopa Sul-Americana.
2020 Paulista Championship Groups
Inter de Limeira
Divided into four keys, the teams play only against opponents from other groups. Each of them will play 12 matches in the first phase of the competition. The top two in each group qualify for the quarterfinals.
Both the quarterfinals and semifinals will be played in a single game. The team with the best score plays at home. Only the final will be held in two matches, the decisive in the domain of the highest scorer
According to Paulista Football Federation, the VAR (video referee) will be used from the quarterfinals.
The two clubs with the worst campaigns in the group stage will be relegated to Serie A2 of the Campeonato Paulista.
(tagsToTranslate) paulista championship (t) Football (t) santos fc (t) corinthians (t) palmeiras (t) spfc (t)