In the return match between São Paulo vs Corinthians, valid for the Copa do Brasil semifinal, Tricolor Paulista played a nearly perfect match against their rival and secured a spot in the grand final against Flamengo.
São Paulo vs Corinthians
In our previous prediction, even before the first match, we had pointed out the moments each of the teams were going through.
Since then, the clubs’ situations haven’t changed.
Corinthians had an unbeaten streak of 11 games, playing consistently and securing important results. Among them, the victory in the first leg against São Paulo itself, as well as the qualification against Newell’s Old Boys in the Sudamericana.
São Paulo, on the other hand, oscillated between good and not-so-good performances, but showed an incredible ability to rise above in moments of pressure and difficulty, especially in the match against San Lorenzo in the Round of 16 of the Sudamericana.
Tricolor Paulista, which had lost the first leg in Argentina, had an intense performance. Except for a shot hitting the crossbar early in the game, they didn’t give San Lorenzo any chance and won 2-0.
In the first leg, it was a balanced match, where Corinthians relied on Renato Augusto’s brilliance to secure a 2-1 victory. Apart from scoring both of Timão’s goals, the star player controlled the game and was involved in all dangerous moments for the Corinthians side.
São Paulo also had opportunities in the match, with a powerful shot from Luciano that hit the post and rebounded off Cássio into the net. The celebration was controversial.
Luciano ran and executed a flying kick on the corner flag (with the Corinthians emblem), then headed towards the home crowd to celebrate.
A group of players, substitutes, and even ball boys gathered. Luciano’s action earned him a yellow card, making him suspended for yesterday’s match.
Image: Victor Monteiro / W9 PRESS / GAZETAPRESS
Now, regarding yesterday’s clash between São Paulo vs Corinthians, it was a Tricolor show.
Right from the start, São Paulo played with high intensity, understanding what needed to be done in a game like this. They pressed Corinthians’ ball distribution and pushed their defensive line forward, leaving a considerable gap in midfield, as Timão’s front line was completely disconnected from midfield and defense.
Thus, in a well-coordinated attacking move between Lucas Moura and Wellington Rato, São Paulo reached the shot, which ended up in Cássio’s hands. When Cássio kicked the ball forward towards the attack, São Paulo’s defense pushed up and intercepted the ball, facing the play.
The ball reached Rato’s feet, who skillfully dribbled past the defender and unleashed a long-range rocket that found the top corner. A legendary goal at Morumbi.
Image: Miguel Schincariol/Getty Images
The Tricolor pressure didn’t let up. It’s worth noting here how much having a player of Lucas Moura’s caliber makes a difference. He, who didn’t participate in the first leg, alongside Rato, was crucial in shaping the Tricolor result.
The second goal followed the same tactical arrangement. Adson intercepted the ball, and it fell perfectly to Beraldo, facing Corinthians’ half. The defender played a first-time pass to Wellington, who laid it off to Nestor. The midfielder found the central pass to Lucas, who switched the play to Rato and darted into the box. Rato cleverly nodded it in the six-yard box, where Lucas was speeding in.
The Tricolor idol’s header hit the post and had a stroke of luck, as the ball rebounded off him and was pushed into the net along with Cássio. São Paulo 2-0.
Image: Karen Fontes/AFI/iShoot/Gazeta Press)
The opportunities kept piling up, following the same logic. Whether it was Nestor’s long-range shot after a ball recovery in midfield, or the combination play and run of Lucas Moura, stopped by Cássio’s great save.
Corinthians’ best chance was an unlikely shot from Rojas, who managed to release a powerful long-range strike despite being under pressure, but Rafael made a fantastic save. Additionally, there was a move orchestrated by Renato Augusto, passing it back to Giuliano, whose shot missed.
However, countless opportunities favored São Paulo. Calleri attempted an acrobatic finish. Lucas combined well with Calleri and set up Rato, who shot over the bar.
With intense late pressure from Corinthians, the referee blew the final whistle.
São Paulo is in the Copa do Brasil final for the second time!
Beyond the Match
The football gods ordained that the final would be fought between São Paulo and Flamengo.
All of this due to a significant character: Dorival Jr.
For those who don’t know, Dorival Jr. was the coach of Flamengo during the 2022 season. He took over from Paulo Sousa, who, despite having the best squad in the Americas, couldn’t make the team play.
The Dorival effect on Flamengo was instant. He arrived, made the best players perform, and won not only the Libertadores but also the Copa do Brasil. A perfect scenario, right?
Not for Flamengo’s management! Dorival was let go without significant explanations to make way for Vitor Pereira. The Portuguese coach didn’t win any titles with Flamengo. He lost the Supercopa do Brasil, the Club World Cup semifinal, and the Carioca Championship.
Dorival Jr. came to São Paulo to replace Rogério Ceni, who reportedly had a strained relationship with the squad. The team wasn’t playing well and suffered several defeats. It seemed like São Paulo would fight relegation.
With Dorival’s arrival, everything changed. Remarkably, the team started playing beautiful football, even though, until the signings of Lucas and James, the squad was the same Ceni had.
Now, Dorival and São Paulo face Flamengo and its management. There couldn’t be a more relentless twist of fate than São Paulo’s victory.
To make matters worse, Flamengo seems to have a completely divided group, as Pedro was assaulted by fitness coach Pablo Fernandéz, and Gerson had a physical altercation with Varella. The Joker even reportedly broke his teammate’s nose due to a disagreement during training.
However, football isn’t just about fate; it’s about competence, discipline, and results.
So, who will be the Copa do Brasil champion? Comment!
Image: Twitter São Paulo F.C
Written by Vitor F L Miller.