Sao Paolo FC Super in Dallas Cup XXVIII

Published Thursday, April 10, 2008 2:36 PM by Shane Barrow

Thiago Dos Santos broke a scoreless tie in the final minutes to help Brazil's Sao Paulo capture the Dallas Cup's Super Group championship with a 1-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday night. The win marked the eighth time a Brazilian team has conquered the Dallas Cup's elite category.

With time winding down at Pizza Hut Park, Sao Paulo intercepted the ball at midfield and Sergio Mota fed Dos Santos in front of the arc. Dos Santos converted in the 86th minute for his sixth goal of the Cup.

The win marked the eighth time a Brazilian team has conquered the Dallas Cup's elite category. It was also Sao Paulo's second championship – it won the Super Group in 1995.

Sao Paulo players celebrated in style, flinging their jerseys to the crowd while receiving the first Lamar Hunt Super Cup, named in honor of the late sports pioneer.

"We're coming off a very difficult tournament in Brazil," Sao Paulo manager Marcos Cesar Vizzolli said. "The Dallas Cup diverts us a bit from that."

After a first half in which both teams displayed their keen passing skills, the match opened up in the second half. Israeli national Ben Sahar, who finished the Cup with six scores, missed on two opportunities for Chelsea from close range.

Sao Paulo had its chances as well, but Chelsea goalkeeper Rhys Taylor had two impressive saves to preserve the scoreless match until the final minutes.

Low temperatures hurt turnout: Director Gordon Jago said attendance at the Dallas Cup was down more than half compared to other years because of frigid weather over the weekend.  Sunday's Super Group final only drew about 2,000.

"If we had a normal Texas April day, I think we would have had about 10,000 to 12,000 people out for this game," Jago said.

However, Jago was most worried over the lack of publicity the Cup generated over the last two weeks. "I've got to create more awareness of the Dallas Cup here," he said. "We are known around the world, but we're not known as much ... here in Dallas."

US squads again shine: American teams, led by five Texas squads, swept all Dallas Cup categories in 2006. This year, the field was tougher but still favored American clubs, which won four of seven categories.  LA Rampage FC won the U-17 group; California's Celtic Hoops took the U-15; IMG Soccer Academy was the U-19 champion; and Nomads Academy was crowned in the U-12 category.

Mexican squads captured the other two titles: Tigres won the U-16 group, and Monterrey-San Nicolás won the U-14 title.

Real Madrid falls short: Real Madrid fell apart this weekend after a strong showing in Super Group play.  The Spanish power reached the semifinals with three wins and no goals allowed. However, Sao Paulo had its way in a 4-0 win over Real on Friday night. The 1994 and 1995 Super Group champs then lost the following day, 2-1, to England's Southampton FC.