I completed my Brazilian trip with a visit to the Morumbi stadium with fanatical SÃ£o Paulo fan Thiago. Thiago kindly put me up in his house for a week and generally cheers for my team Everton when they play. So, even though I have a soft spot for one of his rival teams when he said I should wear a SÃ£o Paulo shirt I couldn’t turn him down. Today I was tricolor. Come on SÃ£o Paulo!
There is a weird thing in Brazil called rodizioâ€¦. I donâ€™t know how to translate itâ€¦ basically, once a week you cannot drive your car in the city between 7-10 am and 5-8pm. It was Thiagoâ€™s rodizio on Wednesday so we left his house after 8. Game starts at 21.50 – we should be okay for time but you never know in SÃ£o Paulo. Fortunately we didnâ€™t get stuck in traffic and got to the game on time. The problem with the Morumbi stadium is that it is miles away from the city centre and there is no, or hardly any, public transport to get there. Maybe, just maybe, one reason why attendances at SÃ£o Paulo games are often lower than that of their city rivals Palmeiras and Corinthians.
As it happened 10,000 people turned up to watch the game against Vasco on this cold winterâ€™s night, making their way to the game one way or another. We got tickets for the more expensive lower tier on the side of the ground (normally R$80 although I got a discount because Iâ€™m a full time student). At least we were closer to the pitch. The larger upper tier, where I have been once before, is miles away from the action. Impressive stadium the Morumbi (capacity of either 70,000 or 80,000 I always get confused) but the problem is that it is too big for cold nights like this. Because it is so big and open, the stadium doesnâ€™t have the best atmosphere when its not full.
Anyway, we got into the ground on time and had a good view of the players warming up. Plenty of pics of Luis Fabiano who moves like and old crock and his body language doesnâ€™t look good either. Mmmmâ€¦.
Thiago (@tpfslima) brought his radio along and we tuned into the CBN radio coverage with the worldâ€™s best commentator Deva Pascovocci @devacbn. He absolutely cracks me up. PreeeeeeeeeepAAAAreseeeeeâ€¦.. he shouts at the top of his lungs as the match starts. The match kicks off at a snails pace but listening to Deva you would think he is commentating on the last ten meters of a very exciting horse race. Brilliant! One of the things I miss most about Brazil is being in my car stuck in a traffic jam listening to him commentating on a game.
Decent start from SÃ£o Paulo with Luis Fabiano â€“ although clearly nowhere near as quick as he used to be â€“ looking menacing and getting into a few good positions. For some reason, DedÃ© â€“ Vascoâ€™s towering althetic and generally excellent defender â€“ was not man marking Luis Fabiano but leaving him to his central defensive partner, Douglas, who Iâ€™d never heard of and donâ€™t expect to be hearing much of either.
CÃcero was playing quite well and Osvaldo did one good run, shot and hit the post. SÃ£o Paulo also had pace from their wing backs CortÃªs and Douglas. But, the dominance didnâ€™t last long. Vasco were good on the break. Diego Souza can be a lazy git but is class and was a threat. Willian Barbio, another Brazilian Sideshow Bob lookalike, was causing problems down the flanks (and for CortÃªs, who also looks like Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons). Vasco were not panicking and are an experienced team.
The pressure started to tell. Veteran Juninho Pernambucano (ex-Lyon and seleÃ§Ã£o) hasnâ€™t lost any of his ability from free kicks and smashed a free kick against the post from about 30 yards on 29 minutes. PreeeeeeeeeepAAAAreseeeee (get ready) the cry from commentator Deva just before that was taken. TraaaaaaaaveeeeeEEE (post) the cry afterwards.
Not very happy with his team now Thiago told them to tomar no @#$# (go and @#%#) and started bombarding Deva and the other commentators from @futebolcbnsp with tweets instead. Thiago Lima and Brian Davidson are sitting opposite the radio cabins enjoying the gameâ€¦. Deva repeated the messageâ€¦. Tweet: SÃ£o Paulo arenâ€™t playing very wellâ€¦. Tweet: That was a foul on Denis. Deva: Brian and Thiago thought that was a foul on Denis. Tweet: Good shot by Osvaldo â€“ shame he went off injured. That hurt. This was turning into running commentary.
â€œWhat do you think Brian?â€ Thiago asked. â€œThink of somethingâ€. Luis Fabiano looks like a dinosaur, I thought. Thiago didnâ€™t agree and didnâ€™t send the tweet. I explained myself so Thiago compromised. Tweet, this time to co-commentator Mario Marra: Can Fabiano escape DedÃ©â€™s marking? When comparing the two DedÃ© looks much quickerâ€¦. Very true. Well thought out tweet that one.
What else? Denis sucks I thought to myself. Too bad I didnâ€™t say that or tweet that â€“ I would have looked like a real visionary because a few minutes later Barbio and his hair made their way down the right hand side and played a neat little ball into the impressive Vasco full back Fagner who shot straight at Denis. Denis ducked and punched the ball into his own net. Oh dearâ€¦. I couldnâ€™t think of anything good to say about SÃ£o Paulo at this stage.
RaÃ§a, raÃ§a, raÃ§aâ€¦ the supporters chanted. They wanted their team to show some guts pedigree. Jadson was playing but was not involved. SÃ£o Pauloâ€™s initial shape was gone â€“ Fabiano, alone up front now, in DedÃ© and Douglasâ€™ pocket. Osvaldoâ€™s replacement Rafinha looked like a hard running donkey rather than pedigree horse. J.Schmitt in midfield: anonymous. 18 year old midfielder Rodrigo Caio might have a promising career ahead of him but cannot be expected to drive his team forward.
SÃ£o Paulo were missing players to be fair: Denilson (probably suspended as usual) and Casemiro (away with the Olympic team) two absentees in midfield. Rogerio Ceni and a few others too. But Lucas Moura (subject of a huge bid from Manchester United) was badly missed. I donâ€™t think he is that great but it was clear just how poor SÃ£o Paulo are without him. Food for thoughtâ€¦. but still not worth more than 30m euros (United have offered 38m).
The second half came and went and really Vasco should have increased their lead. Ademilson came on for SÃ£o Paulo and I was very interested to see how he did. I believe he was one of the key players (along with Adryan at Flamengo) at one of Brazilâ€™s successful youth teams. Iâ€™ve certainly heard the name before. Heâ€™s just turned 18 and came on minutes after Rodrigo Caio was sent off for a second yellow card.
With SÃ£o Paulo fans (and Luis Fabiano) now furious and venting their anger at anything and everything, it was a very though time for him to come on and try and make a difference. Tweet: Brian Davidson thinks that Ademilson will equalise in the last minute. Optimistic, highly unlikely but what the heck. He didnâ€™t but I thought he played quite well straight after coming on: good running, control and not afraid to take the ball and try things. Soon though and finished like the rest of the SÃ£o Paulo team. 1-0 to Vasco final score.
A lot of work for the new coach Ney Franco to do. Ney Franco, for those who donâ€™t know, was the coach of Brazilâ€™s u20 team that won the South American and World Championships. He’s been at the club for less than a week and already some people are pissed off at him. SÃ£o Paulo have some good young players (Lucas, Casemiro, Rodrigo Caio, Henrique Miranda, Ademilson, Bruno Uvini, Luiz Eduardo, Willian JosÃ©, ) and heâ€™ll certainly need to use his experience to get the best out of them. But will he be given time? Will the fans be patient with him? Thiago said before the game he needs to be given three years. After the game he wasnâ€™t so sure. It was obvious that Caio was going to get sent off – why didn’t the coach take him off (he took off Schmitt instead)?
The conclusion of the guys at the CBN was that Ney Franco did make a mistake by not taking him off. They also thought that SÃ£o Paulo just donâ€™t have a good enough team to compete at the top. Iâ€™d have to partially agree but for me, man for man Corinthians donâ€™t have better players. They are a better team though. Far more stable. A few years ago it was the other way round – SÃ£o Paulo, Libertadores Champions, the stable club with seasoned pros and Corinthians in a mess.
Geez, we need Titeâ€¦. Thatâ€™s bad said Thiago on our way home. Tweet: Thiago Lima and Brian Davidson are going home pissed off after that fiasco!! Tweet: What now Juvenal? The CBN guys even opened a hashtag for Juvenal JuvÃªnico (the SÃ£o Paulo club president). He is the man who is the public enemy right now for SÃ£o Paulo. Walls at the training ground were sprayed the next day with offensive comments against the club president the next day. Its turning into a familiar Brazilian football soap opera – who would have expected that at SÃ£o Paulo though. What next?
I’d personally take the money for Lucas and buy a new team, clear the debts and build for the future. Simple.
Shame about the result but it was a great, fun night. Brilliant stuff! Thanks for everything @tpfslima. And thanks for mentioning our tweets live on air @futebolcbnsp.