The first half was fairly exciting with both teams looking to attack but both lacked the cutting edge. I still can't see what Luxa hopes to accomplish by playing Madson as a second striker. He hasn't played well there. He belongs on the wings.
The second half saw Felipe Azevedo come in for P.H. Lima who looked a bit out of sorts. Later Neymar entered for Robson. With Neymar's entry we became more dangerous instantly.
Madson was moved out wide and he provided the penetration for the first goal. Beating his man on the touchline he crossed the ball to an unmarked Neymar who put away the easy header. For a second striker Neymar shows a good tendency to be at the right place at the right time like a goal poacher.
Nautico were still attacking and our weak defence was exposed time after time but held firm. Then a ball was played over the top to Gilmar who was onside (thanks to a day dreaming Pará). Felipe came and challenged fairly for the ball and took him out. Sadly, the referee saw it as a foul and gave the penalty. Gilmar converted it easily.
Now I was bit worried but we were flowing in attack and I was sure we could get another goal. The opportunity came soon enough. Azevedo played a beautifu ball to Neymar down the wing who beat his marker and then crossed a beautiful onto K. Peireirra's head about a yard from goal.
At this point my stream froze. I never dreamed that he would miss it so I was already celebrating. When the video returned, I couldn't beleive it. I will say that the defender was pressurng him but that is no excuse. From that distance such a chance should be buried.
Not to sound like a broken record, but this further cements my belief that K. P. is no longer the guy for us. He is past it IMO. Granted he is returning from injury, but he didn't show that much before his injury.
After that abysmal miss, the minutes ticked away and I was losing hope. As the game entered extra time I was resigned to our gaining only a point. Then in the second minute of time added on, Neymar delivered the perfect corner into the box. Rodrigo Souto rose to firmly head it into the back of the net. Late match heroics from The Bald One. Three points for the good guys.
Without a doubt, Neymar was my Man of the Match.
Three points gained from an away game aside, what did the game show?
1. Neymar math: one goal + one assist + substitute appearance = starter.
2. Para: Should not be our first choice left back.
3. K.P. : Over the hill and long past it.
4. Madson : Belongs on the wings, he can't play effectively in the middle.
5. Heart of the midfield: R. Souto was solid but Germano leaves a lot to be desired. He loses the ball too much and is caught out of position a lot. Emerson will be presented on Friday and hopefully will form a great partnership with Souto.
6. Center of defence: Behaves like headless chickens far too much. A central defensive partnership should be cemented. IMO Domingos and Astorga for the time being.
A win is a win. Luxa has been experimenting with different tactics and formations. He should have an idea of what the starting XI and formation should be. Coritiba away is the next match. Let's do it.