Vasco held off América’s pressure in the first half and won at Independência with a goal in stoppage time.
América-MG 0x1 Vasco da Gama
In a rescheduled match from the 15th round, América-MG and Vasco faced off at the Independência stadium. The home team, who desperately needed a positive result as they occupied the second-to-last position in the Brasileirão (Brazilian football league), had a fantastic first half, dominating their opponents and forcing several saves from goalkeeper Léo Jardim.
At the 4th minute mark, Martínez came close to scoring a memorable goal. The Argentine midfielder stole the ball near the midfield and attempted to surprise the goalkeeper, who was off his line. The shot went just over the crossbar but came very close.
In the 7th minute, Nicolas took a long-range free-kick. The ball bounced before reaching the goal, and Léo Jardim parried it away.
The resulting play led to a corner kick. Nicolas played it short, and Martínez delivered a cross into the box for Iago Maidana at the far post. The defender headed the ball, beating the goalkeeper, but Léo Pelé cleared it to remove the danger.
At the 20th minute, Martínez took a venomous free-kick. Léo Jardim seemed to have it covered for an easy save but almost let the ball slip through, ultimately securing it and giving the Vasco fans a scare.
At the 30th minute, América created their best chance of the match. Rodrigo Varanda battled with Medel at the edge of the penalty area and came out on top. The forward placed his shot, beating the goalkeeper, but it hit the post. On the rebound, Juninho crossed it to Martínez, who took a first-time shot from almost within the six-yard box, but Léo Jardim pulled off a miraculous save.
América continued to press, and at the 33rd minute, they came close to scoring on a counter-attack. Rodrigo Varanda initiated the counter and passed to Felipe Azevedo, who attempted a shot. The ball deflected off the defense and fell to Varanda, who took a first-time shot, leading to another save by Léo Jardim.
Photo: Gilson Lobo/AGIF
In the last minute of the first half, at the 47th minute mark, the incident that changed the course of the game occurred. In the battle between Iago Maidana and Vegetti, the defender, while attempting to make a tackle, landed a punch on the Argentine’s face. Following a VAR review, the referee sent off Iago Maidana.
foto: Alexandre Guzanshe/EM D.A Press
In a first half marked by the home team’s overwhelming dominance, Vasco didn’t even manage a single shot on goal in the opening period. This occurrence, in the 2023 Brasileirão, only happened in two other matches besides this one: Botafogo vs. Cruzeiro and Internacional vs. Coritiba.
With a player advantage, Vasco went on the attack in the second half. At the 7th minute, Zé Gabriel took a long-range shot, which Cavichioli comfortably saved.
At the 24th minute, Puma Rodríguez delivered a cross into the box, and Vegetti managed to get a header off, narrowly missing the post.
At the 27th minute, in a similar play, this time from the left side, Píton crossed the ball, and Vegetti headed it over the goal.
At the 43rd minute, in a play that had been recurring throughout the second half, Píton crossed from the left, Vegetti won the aerial duel, and this time, he hit the crossbar with his header.
Vasco scored their crucial goal at the 46th minute. Paulinho took a low free-kick from the left wing. Jair stretched to redirect it at the near post, using the outside of his foot, sending the ball into the opposite corner to open the scoring for Vasco.
América tried to mount a comeback and had one last opportunity at the 49th minute. After a lofted pass into the box, Juninho nodded it into the middle, and Pedrinho attempted a header, but Léo Jardim made a comfortable save.
With the victory, Vasco climbed out of the relegation zone and now sits in the 15th position with 26 points, while América, on the other hand, remains in the 19th position.
After the match, Juninho, the captain of América, expressed his frustration with the refereeing in the game, especially regarding the expulsion of Iago Maidana. He exclaimed, “They’ll do anything to prevent Vasco from getting relegated.”