By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Santos and Palmeiras FCs met on Wednesday, November 25th in the first of their two face-offs in the final of the Copa do Brasil. Playing at home at Vila Belmiro Santos won 1-0 over their rivals from São Paulo. As well lifting the Copa do Brasil, the winning team stand to gain a place in the Copa Libertadores da América, or Libertadores Cup, an international championship in Latin America.
Tensions ran high throughout the game. In total there were 41 fouls and Santos narrowly missed conceding a penalty in the fiftieth minute after Palmeira Lucas Barrios fell in the opponent’s area, apparently caused by David Braz. Despite requests, the referee chose not to award it. Later, at full time, a scuffle broke out between reserves on the bench.
The home team managed to score in the 78th minute with a deft goal by Gabriel, who had missed a penalty earlier in the game. “We won the game today, we did our homework. A tie is ours, we must have intelligence to play there. We are able to win there too,” said Braz, Santos’s defender referring to the teams’ next meeting.
In the Copa do Brasil a winner is determined after two finals have been played, one at each team’s home ground. This year’s second final is due to take place on December 2nd at Arena Palmeiras at 10PM. Palmeiras will need to be ahead by two goals or more to win, and a one-goal advantage would lead to a penalty shoot out.
Santos will have been pleased to capitalize on their home advantage in the Copa do Brasil as they were defeated by Curitiba the previous Sunday (November 22nd) in the Brasileirão tournament. The result leaves them in sixth place in the table and increasingly unlikely to qualify for the Liberatadores through that competition.
Before the Copa do Brasil final is played, Palmeiras must first receive Coritiba on Sunday November 18h, at home in the Brasileirão and Santos will play Vasco, on the same day in São Januário in Rio de Janeiro.