For many years a powerhouse of Brazilian and South American soccer, Sao Paulo have been going via a dry run. A lone native state championship apart, their final title of word got here again in 2012, when a younger Lucas Moura was the main mild within the workforce that gained the Copa Sudamericana, a Europa League equal.
Now again with Sao Paulo after greater than a decade in Europe, Lucas has made an enormous impression since his return, having fun with the area to run at defences that’s usually ample on Brazilian pitches. And his comeback has coincided with one other main title — on Sunday Sao Paulo drew 1-1 with Flamengo to win the extremely prestigious and profitable Brazilian Cup 2-1 on combination.
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In fact, Lucas was not the star performer — though within the second leg he almost scored with a wonderful overhead kick and virtually clinched issues when he laid on an opportunity for strike associate Luciano proper on the finish. Maybe he was feeling the warmth. Performed over the past Sunday in winter and the primary in spring, each matches occurred in temperatures so fierce that breaks for drinks had been wanted.
The second leg kicked off with the thermometer round 98 levels, and it stayed sizzling and dry over the course of the match. This was a fear for Sao Paulo. Away from dwelling within the first leg, they’d been a lot the higher facet within the opening half, however wilted badly after the interval. Within the sweltering second leg, would they be capable of maintain the damaging Flamengo assault all the way in which to the ultimate whistle?
And it was a much better Flamengo workforce this time spherical. At all times pacing furiously up and down the touchline, their Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli has been floundering whereas he sifts via his choices, desperately looking for the best mix. The aim that value his workforce the primary leg was predictable — Sao Paulo had an excessive amount of area down their left flank, and rehearsed the aim a couple of occasions earlier than one time West Ham striker Jonathan Calleri headed dwelling. This time Flamengo had plugged the hole, and in true Sampaoli model they set about imposing themselves on the sport.
Sao Paulo got here up with sparkles of hazard on the uncommon events they had been in a position to play their method down the sector. However for probably the most half the motion occurred of their half, and it was no shock when Flamengo took the lead and levelled the mixture scores. Slipping into the penalty space Chilean midfielder Erick Pulgar shot low throughout aim, as keeper Rafael tipped the ball onto the far put up and Bruno Henrique arrived to it over the road.
However only a few minutes later, on the stroke of half time, got here the second that ended up defining the future of the trophy. A Sao Paulo free-kick from the best was punched out by keeper Agustin Rossi, and on the far fringe of the realm Rodrigo Nestor fired again an outstanding left footed volley that flew via a crowd of gamers and whistled into the far nook.
Flamengo had been again the place they’d began, needing a aim to drive a penalty shoot out. They dominated the second half. Sampaoli ran via his attacking modifications, introducing membership idol Gabriel “Gabi-goal” Barbosa, Éverton Ribeiro from Brazil’s World Cup squad and Luis Araujo, a winger signed from Atlanta United. There was a number of strain however no penetration. The rhythm was regularly interrupted as, utilizing the justification of the warmth, Sao Paulo did their greatest to run down the clock, and on the finish the celebration was theirs.
This was candy revenge for his or her coach Dorival Junior, who a yr in the past gained this competitors with Flamengo, and went on to take them to triumph within the Copa Libertadores, South America’s Champions League. Even so, he was proven the door on the finish of the yr. He’ll really feel that he has proved his level — though his workforce now face a probably worrying battle in opposition to relegation.
For Flamengo, in the meantime, the result’s a catastrophe, and the information that they in all probability deserved higher luck on the day will come as no comfort. Their yr is successfully over. Eradicated from the Libertadores in humiliating style, they’re 11 factors off the tempo within the home league, with simply 14 video games left to place issues proper. Because the Rio de Janeiro giants, all the things is positioned beneath the microscope, and explosive reactions are frequent place.
Between the 2 video games there was an incident in a Rio procuring centre the place Flamengo vp Marcos Braz obtained right into a battle with a fan, Leandro Campos, who alleges that Braz bit him within the groin. There might nicely be extra drama over the subsequent few days, with Jorge Sampaoli unlikely to outlive the reduce.
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