After the break for the World Cup, the Brazilian Serie A is back and the games are coming thick and fast. São Paulo have been doing very well, but last night Grêmio, and their in form winger Everton (nicknamed cebolinha), stopped them in their tracks.
Since I began following Brazilian football again last year after my long break, it hasn’t been easy to watch the games. But thanks to my new PFC subscription I can now watch tons on Brazilian football – live Serie A matches, recorded Serie A matches, Serie A highlights and very importantly, Brazilian football roundtables.
The only problem is time. First, because I have a busy life and not much free time. But second, the time difference between the UK and Brazil is four hours, which makes watching midweek games a little tricky. But I am on holiday at the moment, with lots of free time, no bedtime and my laptop, so I was able to watch last night’s match between Grêmio and São Paulo – two of the top teams in Brazil.
Its been a strange old season so far. Defending Champions Corinthians have sold nearly half their team, and have lost their coach, and are sitting in 9th place, 8 points of the top. Palmeiras, who have invested heavily, again, have sacked their coach (and reappointed Big Phil Scolari for a third time) and are in 7th place. Flamengo’s fans turned against the team back in April, but they have found great forms since then and are now top of the league. São Paulo, like Flamengo, had been the subject of fan protests, but they too turned things round and sit just behind Flamengo at the top of the league table.
After Flamengo dropped points at Santos on Wednesday night, São Paulo had the chance to move top if they could beat Grêmio in Porto Alegre on Thursday night. That would have been quite an achievement for São Paulo – who don’t have the best squad – and a reflection of the great job that their Uruguayan coach Diego Aguirre has done since taking over.
São Paulo couldn’t have asked for a better start to the match. After just four minutes, a terrible mixup between Pedro Geromel and Marcelo Grohe, practically gifted São Paulo goal. Geromel allowed a long ball in the area to bounce over his head thinking that his goallie was standing right behind him. But he wasn’t so as the ball bounced over Geromel’s head, the keeper rushed off his line. São Paulo ‘s Arboleda got their first and was able to roll the ball into the middle of the area, where Diego Souza tapped into an empty net.
The first half was entertaining and São Paulo continued to play with confidence. And why wouldn’t they – they were going top of the league and in their previous game they had beaten their city rivals Corinthians. Diego Souza’s hold up play up front was very good, their own left winger Everton (Éverton Cardoso da Silva) had the pace to stretch Grêmio’s defence, Arboleda was marashalling the backline with authority and Nenê might now be 37 years old but he is a still a classy playmaker. And São Paulo can consider themselves to be a little bit unlucky since they had chances to make it 2-0.
They were letting Grêmio control possession, but they were creating chances on the beak themselves. Late in the first half they had an excellent chance to make it 2-0. Diego Souza broke free down the right, and with just the keeper to beat, albeit from a tight angle, he elected to pass to Nenê, who was free. To be fair, it was unselfish from Diego Souza, and a beautiful pass, but ultimately he delayed it a little too long and Nenê smashed the ball towards the goal with beautiful technique, but it was cleared off the line by one of the Grêmio defenders who had the time to get back.
Just a few minutes later and Grêmio were level. It was a classic sucker punch and Aguirre will be furious. They gave Grêmio’s Everton (Éverton Sousa Soares) far too much space on the left hand side. Éder Gabriel Militão got back and seemed to have the danger covered, but instead of showing Everton the outside, he let him cut back inside and take the shot. Arboleda – who I thought looked really impressive (and Yerry Mina-esque) – also didn’t cover himself in glory by failing to put in a proper challenge.
Everton’s second goal, 15 minutes into the second half, was similar to the first. He cut in from the left, did a little shimmy, and took a hard, low shot, with his opponent still in front of him. From São Paulo’s point of view this was more poor defending, and from Porto-bound Éder Militão again. Not only was he beaten by Everton’s trickery but he also sloppily gave the ball away, which led to the chance in the first place. He only has three more matches for São Paulo before moving to Porto in Portugal and he definitely won’t want to be remembered like this. He is a highly rated young player (only 20 years old), but he will have to cut out these mistakes from his game if he is to fulfil his potential.
Ultimately, the night belonged to Everton. Both of his finishes were very good and the player is fast becoming one of the hot properties in Brazilian football. He has always been a hot prospect, but he is finally becoming one of the main players for Grêmio. Luan is still the man, but Everton is not far behind these days. In fact, Everton may have dethonred Luan in the important world of fantasy football. In the Cartola FC game, Everton’s average score this year is 8.12 per game, compared with 5.00 for Luan.
Nicknamed Cebolinha (or chive), Everton is only 22 years old and I’m sure the top European sides are looking at him. He is a tricky winger come forward, who normally plays on the left wing. He’s got loads of pace, lots of tricks, and he likes to beat players before cutting inside to shoot with his right foot. He made his league debut four years ago, when he was 18, and according to Wikipedia has has played 180 times for Grêmio and scored 38 goals. Make that 181 appearances and 40 goals after last night.
The one problem with being on holiday is that I don’t have access to my player database, but according to the PFC commentary team, that was his fourth league goal this season, and his 11th goal in all competitions in 31 games. He also has 13 assists, which means that he has been directly involved in 24 goals for Grêmio this year. Not bad. His weakeness is probably that he is still a little bit inconsistent and has ups and downs in his form. But his good performances on several occassions this year have got people talking and Grêmio fans are claiming that he deserves a chance in the Seleção. Watch this space.
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