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Luis Suarez scores a hat-trick and Grêmio fights for the title

Luis Suarez faz hat trick contra o botafogo grêmio pode ser campeão botafogo pode perder o título

Luis Suarez once again showed why he is one of the great players in the history of football.

In a direct clash between Botafogo and Gremio for the leadership of the Brasileirão, the Immortal came out on top, currently sitting in second place with the same points as Fogão.

Do you believe that Botafogo can lose the title that seemed almost guaranteed?

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Botafogo suffers another historic comeback and sees the title slip away

The specter of a comeback against Botafogo haunts Glorioso once again.

Two rounds ago, Palmeiras was losing to Fogão 3-0 until the second half and managed to turn the game around to 4-3.

Botafogo’s fans could not have imagined that lightning could strike twice in the same place, but it did.

The team led by Lúcio Flávio entered the second half leading Gremio, a direct competitor for the Brasileirão title, by 2-1.

The start of the second half could not have been more positive. Just 1′ into the game, Marlon Freitas received a cross and shot first-time, making it 3-1.

Lúcio Flávio lamenta derrota após 1º tempo do Botafogo: 'Poderia ter sido 5' - ESPN

Image: Reproduction ESPN Brasil

The game could have been settled there if the team that captivated Brazil in the first half maintained a minimum of organization and concentration.

That’s not what happened. An incredible 3′ later, Luisito Suarez scored his first goal of the match.

Ferreirinha made a great play, drawing all of Botafogo’s defense to the right side, indicating an extreme lack of balance in the team. The shot that Ferreira attempted deflected off the defense and fell to El Pistolero, who, with his usual skill, cleared the defender and finished.

Up to this point, everything was fine. But, as mentioned, the specter of the comeback suffered against Palmeiras haunted the players in an unimaginable way. Gremio didn’t even have to exert much effort to equalize the game. The players’ dejection after conceding the goal was noticeable.

Four minutes after the goal, the Ferreira-Suarez duo struck again. The Gremio winger made a beautiful play and provided a three-fingered pass to the center-forward, who first-timed it to level the game.

The same mistake witnessed in the second goal repeated itself. Botafogo’s defense clustered on the right side, leaving the corridor open for Suarez. Of course, a striker of this quality wouldn’t miss an opportunity like that.

From the equalizer onwards, it was evident that the turnaround was a matter of time. The Glorioso players’ faces showed desperation.

At 23′, there he was again, Luis Suarez, initiating the play, exchanging passes at the edge of the box, and finishing past Lucas Perri. The score was set. A resounding 4-3, produced in 20′.

After that, Botafogo posed no danger. In fact, Gremio had more opportunities to score the fifth goal than the leaders of the Brasileirão, the fourth.

With the triumph, Gremio, who was never taken seriously in the title race (without reason), is now in second place, with the same number of points as Botafogo, who has one game in hand.

A atitude de Renato que foi decisiva para Suárez brilhar com hat-trick contra o Botafogo

Image: Reproduction gremistas.net

The love affair between Luis Suarez and Gremio

Gremio fans are already nostalgic for something that hasn’t even happened yet.

As reported by us, Luis Suarez is likely to leave Tricolor Gaúcho at the end of the season. He is expected to join Messi and company at Inter Miami.

According to Gremio coach Renato Gaúcho, only a miracle would keep Luisito at Gremio.

He complains of strong knee pain, and the extensive Brasileirão schedule, which will likely include the Libertadores next year, prevents him from continuing to play at a high level.

Nevertheless, it has been and continues to be a privilege for Brazilian football to have such a player.

The most impressive aspect is Suarez’s performance growth in this final stretch of the season. He experienced a goal drought but that is now in the past.

Let’s look at the numbers.

Suarez shows how crucial he is to the Gremio team. In addition to the 26 goals scored in the 2023 season, he has also provided an incredible 16 assists.

With this, he is the player with the most goal involvements in the Brasileirão (42) and the leader in assists.

The high number of assists is even more surprising when considering that Luisito is not the set-piece taker for Gremio. He is not the one taking corners and free kicks. Therefore, the assists he provides are in open play.

Indeed, if El Pistolero continues on this upward trajectory, Gremio has a good chance of winning the Brasileirão, a title they last won in 1996. In other words, Tricolor Gaúcho is one of the great teams that has not yet won the Brasileirão in the points system.

The other impressive fact is the campaign itself. Even if they don’t become champions, they have a good chance of securing direct qualification for the Copa Libertadores. Keep in mind that Gremio played in Serie B last year. Thus, we must congratulate the club’s management, which made the right signings (with Suarez being the main one), coach Renato Gaúcho, and, of course, the squad.

Entramos no páreo", diz Renato Gaúcho sobre a briga pelo título do Campeonato Brasileiro - Grêmio - Jornal NH

Image: Alexandre Durão/Grêmio

What will happen to Botafogo?

Botafogo’s current form is desperate.

In the last 5 games, they have suffered 4 defeats and a draw.

If we look at the last three matches, Botafogo suffered unforgettable 4-3 defeats to direct title contenders (Palmeiras and Gremio) and lost the derby against Vasco.

It’s hard to imagine the atmosphere inside Glorioso’s locker room. The players and coaching staff seem to lack any psychological control to handle the adversities that the game imposes.

They lose concentration after conceding any goal, and the team’s confidence evaporates.

Suffering comebacks in a football match is avoidable but happens with some frequency. The problem is when it becomes commonplace, in the final stretch of the Brasileirão, and there’s no sign of the team’s ability to react and regain control of the game.

In the second half of the season, Botafogo has a dismal 31% win rate. They only surpass the already relegated América-MG and Coritiba.

From a table perspective, not all is lost. Fogão has one game less compared to its challengers.

If they win the match, they could reclaim the sole leadership and open up a 3-point gap.

The issue here is more significant.

If Botafogo wants to dream of the title again, they need a fresh start. The title, which was in their hands for a significant part of the competition, as the club once opened an incredible 12-point lead.

If no changes are made to the coaching staff and the team’s lineup, Glorioso is at serious risk of not even qualifying directly for the Copa Libertadores, as the fifth-placed team is Flamengo, with 56 points, three less.

There are rumors in the media that Lúcio Flávio is no longer the team’s coach, and the management is considering the return of Cláudio Caçapa, who led the team as an interim before the arrival of Bruno Lage but is now the coach of RWD Molenbeek in Belgium.

PVC: Botafogo estuda volta de Cláudio Caçapa para a reta final do Brasileirão; Lucio Flavio tende a comandar time contra o Bragantino - FogãoNET

Image: Vitor Silva/Botafogo

Finally, it should be noted that Botafogo’s phase is solely due to the technical and emotional incompetence of the team, contrary to what John Textor tried to demonstrate in the Palmeiras game, stating that the championship was tainted, that the CBF President should resign, and that there was corruption in the institution.

Perhaps, if the American executive spent less time looking for scapegoats and filled it with support for the team and coaching staff, Botafogo wouldn’t be in this situation.

The other side is that not all is lost. The players in the squad are the same ones who had the best first half in the history of Brasileirão. They need to regain their confidence and tactical discipline to win this important title.

And you? Do you believe that Botafogo can still win the title? Comment!

Written by Vitor F L Miller.

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