THE ROADRUNNER

THE ROADRUNNER

THE ROADRUNNER

High Stakes and High Drama: Botafogo vs. Athletico Ends in Draw

In a match filled with tension and high stakes, Botafogo managed to salvage a point with a 98th-minute equalizer against Athletico Paranaense.

Today, June 19, the Brazilian league became the stage for a clash of titans, as the league’s current top-ranking team Botafogo took on fourth-placed Athletico Paranaense.

With the difference between both teams being only 2 points, the match held great significance since the winner would jump to first place, or in Botafogo’s case, remain in first place.

The game took place at Botafogo’s stadium, Nilton Santos, which is located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The match was broadcast live for free on Botafogo’s YouTube channel, Botafogo TV. This has been happening in most of Botafogo’s home matches as a marketing move initiated by Botafogo’s owner John Textor, with the goal of promoting the Botafogo brand and exposing the Brazilian league to the world.

The “Glorious,” as Botafogo is known, went into the game wearing their traditional black and white jersey and a dynamic 4-2-3-1 formation.

 

The team from Rio de Janeiro, coached by Portuguese Arthur Jorge, started with John Vitor in goal and a defense made up of Lucas Halter and Bastos as center backs. On the defensive flanks for the Glorious, you could find Damien Suarez and Cuiabano, with Marlon Freitas and Danilo Barbosa in front of them as center defensive midfielders. In front of the CDMs to the left was Tche Tche, to the right Eduardo, and in the number 10 position was Oscar Romero. The sole striker for Botafogo was Junior Santos, whose match held extra significance since it was the number 11’s match number 100 for Botafogo.

The “Hurricane,” as Athletico Paranaense is known, mirrored the Glorious and also went into the game with a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Cat Simulator 2015 4ª, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Athletico went into the match without their head coach, since their gaffer, the convicted pedophile Cuca, had received a red card in the Hurricane’s last game against Flamengo. The team from Paraná started the game with Leo Linck in goal and a defense consisting of Kaique Rocha, Thiago Heleno, Lucas Esquivel, and Leonardo Godoy. The CDMs for Athletico were Erik and former Manchester City captain Fernandinho. The attacking midfielders for the Hurricane were Nikão on the right, Tomás Cuello on the left, and Christian in the middle. Leading the attack for the team from Paraíba was Mastriani.

The battle for the pole position began slowly, with both teams really respecting each other and trying not to expose themselves.

The first exciting moment came at 26 minutes when Fernandinho almost scored a banger from the middle of the field. After noticing that Botafogo’s keeper was out of position, the former Man City captain took a go and almost opened the scoreline, but John was able to save it and protect Botafogo from what would have been a pretty embarrassing way to start the match.

Botafogo tried to respond soon after, but the team from Rio was not able to connect the final pass. As a result, Botafogo went into the thirty-fifth-minute mark without having made Leo Linck work a single time.

As the first half approached its end, the Hurricane began to apply more and more pressure, with Botafogo at some moments holding onto the tie with everything they had. Athletico Paranaense had one chance after another, and everything seemed like soon the goal would come.

Botafogo’s moment of relief came at 39 minutes when Thiago Heleno fouled near the box, and as a result, Botafogo was able to create their best chance in the game so far. The foul taken by Oscar ended up in a header that went near the goal, but it was not enough to trouble Leo Linck.

With the momentum from the previous attack, Botafogo seemed to have gained a breath of fresh air. Soon after the failed header, the Glorious had another chance with Tche Tche attempting a shot from far, but it went left of the goal, resulting in a goal kick for the Hurricane.

As the first half came to a close, the Hurricane still made one more attempt at opening the scoreline with Thiago Heleno at the 46-minute mark, but to no success. With this, both teams headed towards the locker rooms with no goals to brag about.

The second half started with both not making any changes and coming back with the same players that started the game.

Although the players on the field were the same, the second half had a very different start than the first. Where the first half was completely scoreless, the second half began with Athletico Paranaense opening the scoreline early, with Mastriani putting one in at the 53-minute mark.

Soon after scoring, the Hurricane almost scored another one with Mastriani having a one v one chance against John, but for the home team’s sake, Mastriani wasn’t able to get the best of John this time.

Looking for a reaction, Botafogo’s gaffer Arthur Jorge decided it was time to make a substitution. With this, the Portuguese coach took off center defensive midfielder Danilo Barbosa and in his place put winger Luis Henrique.

The tactical change caused by putting in a winger for a CDM was evident on the field, with Botafogo spread wider and clearly looking for more forward movements as they searched for the equalizer.

The cost of more players up is fewer players down, and as a result of having fewer defensive players, Athletico now had a more open Botafogo defense to try and penetrate. The next big opportunity for the Hurricane came at 65 when Christian almost had an open one v one vs John, but Botafogo defender Bastos was clinical and with a heroic slide tackle was able to deny Christian a chance.

As the game went on, Botafogo made more changes, with Oscar leaving for Yarlen and Fabiano going in for Damien Suarez.

As the clock ran down, Botafogo continued not being able to create anything concrete while Athletico maintained heavy pressure in search of another goal.

After what seemed to be endless pressure from Athletico, Botafogo finally created a dangerous chance at 77 minutes, but Leo Linck denied the Glorious their much sought-after equalizer.

The hunt for the goal continued for both sides. If it was not for an incredible save by John at the 80-minute mark, the second goal would have come with 10 minutes left to go.

After the heroic save by John, both teams made changes with Botafogo putting in Gregory and Hernandez and the Hurricane subbing on Pablo and Gamarra.

With the game reaching its end, Botafogo began to frantically and anxiously search for the equalizer. The Glorious came close with Cuiabano at the 86-minute mark, but the shot went wide.

The game’s final minutes were made up of Athletico trying to waste time and speed the clock up while Botafogo was trying to cling onto every second as they searched for a miracle.

With palpable tension throughout the stadium, the home team threw themselves forward and with 8 minutes of extra time, Botafogo had one mission: to equalize.

The one point gained from a tie would be enough for Botafogo to keep their temporary top spot for another day. But to do that, the Glorious would need to do something they had not done all game: to score.

The climax of the game came at the 97th minute when Botafogo gained a corner, this corner which would prove to be Botafogo’s final chance to equalize.

Taken by Diego Hernandez, the corner was a beautiful cross right onto Angolan defender Bastos, who headed the ball perfectly into Leo’s right corner, making it impossible for the goalkeeper to do anything.

Despite the defensive resilience from the Hurricane, they were not able to hold back the floodgates.

In thriller movie fashion, Bastos’ heroic goal turned out to be the last play of the match, with referee Ramon Abatti Abel signaling the end of the game right after.

With the tie, Botafogo and Athletico split the points, and as a result, Botafogo remained in first place with 20 points and Athletico jumped to third with 18. However, these standings are subject to change since some teams haven’t yet played their round 10 matches.

Most notably, second-placed Flamengo and fourth-placed Bahia will be facing off tomorrow, June 20, and since both teams have 18 points, the winner will go to 21 over Botafogo. But if there is a tie, both teams will stay at 19 and the Glorious will remain in first.

Botafogo’s next appointment for the Brazilian league is an away game against Criciuma, while the Hurricane’s next match will be at home against Corinthians.



Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Nathan Azevedo Espindula
Nathan Azevedo Espindula, Editor and Chief
Who is Nathan Espindula? Click to find out

Comments (0)

All TheRoadrunner Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *