Palmeiras won the 2021 Copa Libertadores on Saturday evening, beating Santos 1-0 in the final with a dramatic 99th minute winner in the famous Maracana stadium.
The first half was an extremely cagey affair, with neither side forcing either goalkeeper into any serious action, as the two Brazilian teams looked to give little away in such an important clash.
The biggest talking point of the first period came in the form of Santos coach Cuca, who boldly opted to wear a t-shirt and jeans to the prestigious final, with the former sporting a religious image on the front. Tradition is tradition.
It wasn’t much prettier on the pitch, unfortunately.
The final ball was often lacking between the pair, and Palmeiras striker Luiz Adriano could have broken the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes, but the forward turned the wrong way and misread the direction of the pass, allowing the defence to sweep up.
Raphael Veiga also went close, but he flashed a strike wide from the inside right of the penalty area. And that was that for the first half, with the two teams heading into the dressing rooms level, with everything still to play for.
The second half was not much better as a spectacle, with Palmeiras having the more dangerous chances, but once again rarely threatening to hit the target. Veiga fizzed a free-kick over the bar, as the Verdão grew into the game.
Santos began to stamp their authority on proceedings, as the match became much more stretched. Palmeiras goalkeeper Weverton had to be at his best to keep out a vicious strike, and Felipe Jonatan drilled the resulting rebound wide of the target.
It all kicked off late on however, when the peaceful Cuca was sent off for delaying a Palmeiras attack by diving on the ball – defender Marcos Rocha pushed him to the ground in retaliation.
That moment was quickly overshadowed in the ninth minute of added time, when Palmeiras substitute Breno Lopes won the game, leaping like a salmon to head the ball back across goal and into the far corner from a superb Roni delivery.
There were scenes of wild celebrations at the final whistle, as the game ended after an extra 14 minutes of additional time, and Palmeiras lifted the famous trophy, breaking Santos hearts.