Sao Paulo moved closer to its first Brazilian Cup title after beating Flamengo 1-0 away from home in the first leg of the tournament final this Sunday.
A header from Argentine striker Jonathan Calleri in first-half injury time gave Sao Paulo victory against weak Flamengo, the tournament’s reigning champions, as the final whistle blew from the more than 67,000 fans who filled the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro became Janeiro. Janeiro.
Sao Paulo was better from the start and controlled the game against a Flamengo that did not trouble the visitors’ goal in the first half and took great note of the loss of its great figure, the Uruguayan midfielder Giorgian De Arrascaeta, who was injured.
The Flamenguista coach, the Argentine Jorge Sampaoli, surprised with a starting eleven with his attacking trident (Gabigol, Pedro and Bruno Henrique). It was only the third time the three appeared together since playing for Flamengo, although very well marked, they were barely visible.
Criticism of James Rodriguez
Although James Rodríguez was called up by the Colombia national team for the first two qualifying matches, his performance with the São Paulo team fell far short of the expectations that his arrival had raised. Therefore, Brazilian coach Dorival Júnior considers him to be no more than a luxury substitute in important games.
In fact, he didn’t play a single minute in that game against Mengao, so the criticism didn’t take long to come.
Even Diario Globe Esporte from Brazil had predicted that the creative from Cucuta would not be the starter: “He is still far from the expected impact. Due to a lack of time and opportunities, the Colombian is far from being one of the protagonists for the game against Flamengo.”
James played only 5 games for Sao Paulo, including one assist. It is worth noting that in the quarterfinals of the Copa Sudamericana he missed a final penalty, which meant the elimination of the tricolor team from this competition.
With the win, Sao Paulo, coached by Dorival Júnior, the coach who won the Libertadores and the Brazilian Cup last year but whose contract was not renewed by the red bulletin board, only needs a draw at home to their fans next Sunday to win his first Brazilian Cup, the only title missing from his record.
Flamengo, for its part, will enter the decisive game under great pressure after the team is on a bad run of results, eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores, is 12 points behind the lead in the Brasileirao and the continuity of Jorge Sampaoli is hanging by a thread. .