Every football fan loves Brazil for the way they play football, the fact that their fans all seem to be samba-dancing ladies in bikini tops and for all the incredibly talented superstars who have come from that country over the years. However, while the national team lives up to all of those positive stereotypes more often than not, the fact is that the state of domestic football in Brazil is very rarely so romantic or pleasant.
Kidnapping, corrupt referees, mass brawls, rampaging fans and clubs who sack their managers on a weekly basis; all of these are more commonly found in Brazilian domestic football than samba superstars delighting hordes of attractive beach babes with their silky skills. It may not be pretty, but it’s certainly always interesting, and Sunday’s Paulista championship semi-final second leg clash between Sao Paulo and Palmeiras was another memorable match for all the wrong reasons.
It was played at Parque Antartica, the home ground of Palmeiras, who were trailing 2-1 from the first leg, and they took the lead in the 23rd minute through Leo Lima. The trouble started at half-time, when the visitors returned to their changing-room and quicked exited it, complaining that it had been filled by an unknown gas that was making their players come close to vomiting. They had to hold their team-talk on the pitch instead. “It was impossible to breath, it was extremly irritating for the nostrils and eyes,” team doctor Jose Sanchez told reporters.
Nevertheless, they were able to continue and the match went on, with Jorge Valdivia tapping in Palmeiras’ second goal with six minutes to go after a swift breakaway attack. However, his flamboyant and rather cocky celebrations rubbed the opposition players up the wrong way, and they started to aggressively remonstrate with him. And then the lights went out. There was a scuffle on the pitch during the 15 minute blackout, with the home side’s Martinez sent off after the restart. Andres Dias had already been dismissed in the 80th minute for the visitors.
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