22 Feb Flamengo’s win over title rivals Internacional units up dramatic ultimate day in Brazilian title race
The historical past and custom of Brazilian football loves finals.
Among the many previous guard there’s nonetheless resistance to the idea of a league system, launched simply over a decade and a half in the past. These followers miss the drama of the old-style decider.
However, other than the financial benefits, the league format has one other argument in its favour. Finals could also be dramatic however they’ll typically be disappointing. There may be a lot at stake that nobody needs to take the dangers essential to create a memorable spectacle. However in league play, each level dropped will be pricey. There may be extra onus on teams to search for victory moderately than keep away from defeat.
All of this was highlighted within the penultimate spherical of the Brazilian Championship. It was a gathering of the 2 sides within the race to win the title. Internacional of Porto Alegre, searching their first league title since 1979, topped the desk, some extent forward of defending champions Flamengo of Rio de Janeiro. This meant that Flamengo needed to win, as a draw would basically be a defeat since Inter would protect their lead going into Thursday’s ultimate spherical. In the meantime, an Inter win would resolve the future of the title. The sport couldn’t presumably be uninteresting.
Inter’s star right-back Rodinei is on mortgage from Flamengo and the phrases of the mortgage settlement meant that he may solely face Flamengo if Inter paid a payment of 1 million Brazilian reais (round $186,000). The membership have been unlikely to pay it, however a rich fan stumped up the money, and Rodinei took the sector.
The gods of football have been unlikely to let this go quietly. Rodinei was in for an eventful afternoon. An early penalty put his aspect forward, however he was at fault simply earlier than the half-hour mark when Flamengo equalised. He dived in on winger Bruno Henrique, who obtained previous him and pulled again for Uruguayan playmaker Giorgian De Arrascaeta to roll a delicate end contained in the far put up for the equaliser.
Simply earlier than half-time Rodinei got here very near restoring Inter’s lead, breaking into the world to fireplace off a shot which, with a slight deflection, cannoned again off the put up. But it surely was simply after the break that he was concerned in the important thing second of the sport.
Rodinei went right into a deal with with Flamengo left-back Filipe Luis. He was late and stamped down on the heel of his opponent and Filipe Luis went down in nice ache. It was a transparent foul, however there was no nice controversy concerning the incident — till VAR obtained concerned. The referee was known as over to take a look on the proof — and Rodinei was despatched off.
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It was a basic second for many who are suspicious of VAR. In gradual movement, the deal with regarded unhealthy. At precise pace, Rodinei was solely fractionally late and there appeared to be not the slightest malice in his deal with.
The purple card was absolutely harsh — on Internacional and on the spectacle — as a result of it was onerous to see how the leaders may maintain out for nearly a full half towards a aspect with Flamengo’s firepower. Their gameplan had been primarily based on sitting deep and launching counters. At 11v11, it had been an enchanting, pulsating conflict of types. With 11v10, it grew to become a case of when not if Flamengo would be capable to rating their second. It got here some 15 minutes later when the wonderful De Arrascaeta slipped striker Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa in to attain on the flip and win the sport.
It’s Flamengo, then, who now lead the desk. They’ve a two-point benefit going into Thursday’s ultimate spherical — which implies that the drama is just starting.
Flamengo are away to Sao Paulo, who dumped them out of the home cup and thumped them within the league again in November. And Flamengo might properly have to win. In the event that they draw they are going to be overtaken if Inter win at dwelling to Corinthians. The teams might be degree on factors, and with the identical variety of victories (which in Brazil is the primary standards used to interrupt the impasse) however Inter may have the higher aim distinction.
Flamengo have to win, Internacional should win. Thursday night time ought to see the league system at its greatest — with hopefully no extra VAR controversy when the ultimate whistle is blown.