The wait is finally over. Finally. Corinthians, one of the giants of Brazilian football, have won the Copa Libertadores for the first time. Their 20 or 30 million (depending who you believe) religious followers had the happiest night of their lives. They’ve been waiting 102 years for this, loyally, patiently, passionately. Inside the stadium the fans went crazy – a mixture of joy, relief and ecstacy. Outside the stadium I know they did too.
The longer the wait to win this trophy went on, the more fanatical their fans seemed to become - scary sometimes, a bit twisted, noisy, mad. Fiercely loyal, passionate. I wish I could have been in the ground to experience the atmosphere. It must have been amazing!
A few hours before kick off I got the following email from a friend who is a fan of a rival team.
Fireworks? Oh my, since yesterday… and today all the time… now each time even more… I wish I could go to moon and return just a week from now… I think they’re gonna win… I’m for Boca, and I wish they can spoil the party, but my feelings tell that today is Corinthians’ f**king day… f*ck… and we’ll have to stand all the noise overnight… f*ck
It sums up the relationship between football fans in São Paulo quite well and I’m sure it exactly describes what is going on right now as São Paulo goes crazy and fireworks galore blaze late into the late.
Corinthians deserve it. They don’t play the most pretty, typically Brazilian football. But their solid defence, disciplined tactics and composure under pressure is very impressive to watch. Boca started quite well but were outclassed by Corinthians in the end. My previous two Libertadores posts explain Corinthians style pretty well so check them out if haven’t already: Last week’s match report against Boca Juniors and the semi final win over Santos.
Emerson Sheikh is the hero. He scored both and will go down as one of Corinthians’ biggest legends of all time, possibly the biggest. He hasn’t been with the club for that long but he has delivered the Holy Grail.
And it had to be him. When asked before the match last week if he was nervous he said: “of course not I’m from a favela (slum)”. No fear. Guts. Brave. Thrives in adversity. Personifying Corinthians’ efforts in the competition this year. He was also very gracious in his comments after the match, complementary of Boca and Riquelme even though his attempt to speak Spanish to the Argentinian reporters was absolutely abisymal. Who the F*ck cares?
Well, its 4am and I’m in no condition to detail what happened in the match. Feel free to provide your comments or match reports below. Well done Corinthians!
I’ll try putting on the match highlights and a video from inside the stadium in the next couple of days so check back for that later. Another small point. Fortunately no mass brawl at the end of this match like there was last year, and the year before, and the year before. Well done both sets of players for that.
Corinthians: Cássio, Alessandro, Chicão, Leandro Castán, Fábio Santos, Ralf, Paulinho, Danilo, Alex (Douglas), Jorge Henrique (Wallace), Emerson (Liedson)
Boca Juniors: Orión (Sosa), Sosa, Schiavi, Caruzzo, Clemente Rodríguez, Pablo Ledesma (Cvitanich), Leandro Somoza, Walter Erviti, Riquelme, Mouche (Viatri), Santiago Silva