By Louis Smith.
On Tuesday evening Ceará defied the odds to upset Bahia and claim the second Copa do Nordeste title in their history. The final, played over two legs, saw Ceará put in a resilient performance to win 3-1 in the first leg, setting themselves up nicely going into the second.
The second game was an evenly matched contest with the decisive moment coming midway through the second half when Ceará’s Cléber Bomfim added to the goal he scored in the first leg to make it 4-1 on aggregate.
“There’s nothing better than scoring goals in decisive matches, especially because they were my first goals with the shirt of Ceará,” Cléber told WFi.
“I was hired during the competition. Before, I was playing for a smaller club in the Ceará championship. I was fortunate to help in this decisive moment and that will be marked forever in my career.
“To win the Copa do Nordeste is a feeling of great happiness and accomplishment. We are recognized when we win titles and manage to leave our name marked in the name in the history of Ceará.”
— 🏆 Ceará SC 🏆 (@CearaSC) August 7, 2020
Ceará didn’t just win the tournament, they did something remarkable by going unbeaten in all 12 games throughout the competition, including a semi-final victory over bitter rivals Fortaleza which made the triumph all the more sweeter.
“To go unbeaten is a feeling that the work of all players has been done well,” Cléber added.
“Finishing a championship as disputed as the Copa do Nordeste in an undefeated way is not a simple mission. Congratulations to everyone involved.”
Guto Ferreira has had a long career in management starting way back in 1985. He took charge of Ceará just before the pandemic meaning he hasn’t had much time to settle in. Despite this Cléber spoke highly of the work Ferreira has done in the short time since joining.
“Professor Guto Ferreira’s confidence in me motivated me in all aspects,” he said.
“Even without being sure that I would start, I felt that he was believing in my work and that motivated me to do my best on the pitch until the last moment.”
Winning the Copa do Nordeste comes at a great time for Vozão as they start their 2020 Brasileirão Serie A campaign with a trip to newly-promoted Sport Recife. They will be hoping to get off to a good start in order to avoid last season nervy ending.
In 2019, Ceará avoided relegation on the final day with a 1-1 draw against Botafogo. Ceará staying up pleased not just to their fans, but fans across Brazil, as the result meant Cruzeiro were relegated for the first time.
Despite Ceará narrowly avoiding relegation last season, new ideas and a new manager has led Cléber to set both his personal and clubs ambitions for 2020 high.
“The Copa do Nordeste means a lot,” he concludes. “It gives us a lot of confidence to start the Brazilian championship and it’s a title that Ceará needed to win again.
“We are going with everything now to make a great Brasileirão. My personal objective is to be the top scorer in the Brazilian championship, which is very competitive.
“In terms of the team’s ambitions, without a doubt, the team is looking for a place in the Copa Libertadores, the biggest competition in our continent.”