Analysis: São Paulo debuts full force in the Sudamericana and forwards a spot in a chaotic game | Sao Paulo

After 45 exemplary minutes and another 45 chaotic ones, São Paulo passed the first test with maximum force in the Copa Sudamericana. Rogério Ceni used the main players (available) and categorically forwarded the classification to the quarterfinals. Three goals in the first half and a 4-2 victory over Universidad Católica, in Santiago, for the opening of the round of 16.

A first stage of complete superiority, with Luciano’s first goals after almost two months, and a chaotic second, with three expulsions (Calleri, Rodrigo Nestor and Igor Vinicius). São Paulo was technically left in the 11 against 11 and managed to hold the result even with the huge disadvantage of players.

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Without great possibilities to open the range of options, Ceni chose to keep the main athletes on the field and was quickly rewarded. The first minutes showed São Paulo at ease with the ball at their feet, mainly in the right sector of the attack.

From Reinaldo’s goal, at 15 minutes, Tricolor controlled the game and overcame the bad lawn with a more direct game. Universidad Católica had more of the ball, but São Paulo was more objective and accurate.

Calleri celebrates the goal scored against Universidad Católica – Photo: Reuters

This difference in quality generated a comfortable lead in the first 45 minutes and quickly forwarded the classification to the quarterfinals. Calleri pressured and served Luciano to make it 2 to 0, and Luciano himself increased it with an individual play from someone who regained confidence by hitting the nets.

The first half close to perfection, in terms of result and efficiency, lost ground with five chaotic minutes, which seemed a harbinger of what would come to the end.

In five minutes, Tricolor conceded a goal and lost Igor Vinicius, sent off for the accumulation of yellow cards. The scenario would suggest a well-known drama for São Paulo, the drop in performance in the second half. But Calleri didn’t allow it and scored a great goal after a great collective play that passed through a pen from Patrick and a touch of letter from Igor Gomes until the end.

São Paulo squad after victory over Universidad Católica – Photo: Disclosure

The relative tranquility, however, was short-lived. More precisely nine minutes. Calleri’s great goal came in the 17th minute, and Rodrigo Nestor was sent off for a step on the opponent at 26, after being denounced by video refereeing. With two fewer, any strategy took a back seat.

Católica decreased after 40 minutes and could have taken advantage of the chaos installed in Santiago. Calleri was sent off seconds later and left São Paulo with just eight on the field, against 11 of the Chileans. It was an unfair competition in math.

Even so, São Paulo maintained the advantage of two goals conquered away from home in the face of two different periods. This time, not for the performance, but for the interference of the referee led by the Uruguayan Christian Ferreyra.

The team held on well and went to Morumbi very close to the quarterfinals of the Sudamericana. The squad’s celebration with the final whistle symbolized how much a game facilitated by the level of the first stage incorporated dramatic tones in the decisive straight.

"A heroic victory despite the judge", analyzes Caio |  The Voice of the Crowd

“A heroic victory, despite the judge”, analyzes Caio | The Voice of the Crowd

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About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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