The game against Sport, this Saturday, at Morumbi, at 21:30 (GMT), will mark an unprecedented situation for São Paulo. Never in the Brazilian Championship (since 2003) has the club reached this stage of the championship so threatened by relegation.
After 34 matches played, São Paulo is in 14th place, with 42 points, just two more than Juventude, 17th, with 40 points. Bahia’s victory over Grêmio, this Friday, shortened the gap for the last placed teams.
Until then, the closest Tricolor has been to decaying at that same moment of the tournament was in 2016, when it started the 35th round, seven points behind Internacional. That year, the team scored seven points in the final four rounds and finished nine points above 17th.
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Rogério Ceni has 44.4% use in São Paulo — Photo: Marcos Riboli
Not even in seasons remembered by the fear that the club could be relegated to the Brazilian Nationals for the first time in its history was the threat as great as it is now.
In 2013, when they spent 10 rounds in the relegation zone, São Paulo was already 10 points away after 34 matches. That year, the board bet on Muricy Ramalho to save the team. It worked out.
Four years later, it was nine points behind Sport, then 17th. In 2017, the symbol of salvation was Hernanes, who returned to the team, scored nine goals and helped push the risk of sticking away from Morumbi.
This time, the board is once again betting on a historic idol to avoid the embarrassment of playing Serie B. Rogério Ceni – fired in 2017 when the team was struggling not to fall – returned to take the place of Hernán Crespo.
So far, however, Ceni hasn’t ruled out the danger and hasn’t improved the team’s performance much. In nine games, he won 44.4% of the points. Hernán Crespo left office with a 40% success rate.
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After the game against Sport – valid for the 36th round of the Brazilian Nationals –, which is currently the vice-lamp of the competition, São Paulo will have two other head-to-head confrontations. The first is against Grêmio (18th place), on December 2nd, for the 35th round, in Porto Alegre. Afterwards, they host Juventude (16th), on the 6th. In the last round, they will go to Belo Horizonte to face América-MG (10th).
— Photo: Reproduction
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— Photo: ge.globo