Santos’s away form for most of 2013 made for dismal reading (and watching). Even with a new year on the calendar and a new coach in the dugout, that inability to play well away from the Vila Belmiro has continued. The away record in the 2014 Paulistao reads 2-2-1, with four goals for and six against. At least, that was before Thursday. It took 45 minutes for Santos to get rid of the hangover from the Carnaval celebrations against Mogi Mirim, but once they did, the road to victory emerged from the fog. The 5x2 win was enough for the goal difference to just about change from red into black. It also confirmed Santos’s place in the knockout rounds.
After a series of bad performances from Santos, something had to change - either from within or without. It was the second that came to pass as Oswaldo de Oliveira shook up his lineup, dropping Thiago Ribeiro for Rildo, and, most importantly, starting Gabriel. This cast had Santos lining up in a 4-2-4 formation instead of a 4-3-3 against Bragantino on Thursday night. It worked perfectly. Gabriel and Geuvanio put on a show in the eventual 5x0 demolition.
Santos and São Paulo had two of the best attacks going into the San-São derby, and the expectation was that that would be reflected in the game. Despite the creation of some good chances, this didn’t come to pass and the encounter finished 0x0. The match didn’t set any paces racing as both teams did little to entertain. Outside of two intervals at the start of either half, São Paulo were always in the ascendancy as Santos looked to hit the home side on the counter.
Santos’s poor adjustment to the insertion of Leandro Damião into the starting lineup continued on Thursday with a laborious 2x1 win over Atlético Sorocaba. The aforementioned Damião scored the the game’s first goal to simultaneously give Santos the lead and open his account for the club, The away side equalized with 20 minutes to go, and looked to have secured a draw with only added time remaining. However, Cicero crushed their dreams with a header to steal all three points for Santos at the death.
It was going to come eventually, but it didn’t look like it would arrive like this. Santos lost for the first time in 2014 after being drubbed 4x1 away from home by Penapolense. Oswaldo de Oliveira’s charges didn’t play well, and their efforts were made harder by the sending off of Gustavo Henrique early in the second half. The home side were leading 2x1 then, and it took them until the dying moments of the game to add two more goals to record a memorable victory.
Here are some particulars and the highlights.
This is just a quick update. I didn’t see much of the game.
Looking Forward/Other News/Until Next Time
Gustavo and Alan Santos suspended for next game which is today against Atlético Sorocaba. Jubal and Leandrinho will be drafted in as their replacements.