Grêmio 0 Internacional 0 - Final Gre-Nal at the Olímpico ends in a draw
It’s easy to know when a football match is taking place in Porto Alegre by the amount of fireworks that get let off around the city, but the explosions came on the pitch at the Olímpico on Sunday as the final Grêmio v Internacional fixture to be played at the historic stadium ended 0-0.
The match itself was hardly a classic. Inter, with nothing to play for but local pride, set about ruining the party for their rivals, who as well as not wanting leave their home with a defeat, needed to win the game to secure second place in the league and gain automatic qualification to next year’s Copa Libertadores.
Grêmio dominated the game throughout but Inter stood firm and defended superbly, throwing themselves in front of shots and hurrying Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s team all across the pitch.
But the game will be remembered not for the football that was played but the two second half incidents that turned the game into something more like a street brawl.
On 48 minutes Inter keeper Muriel got sent off for handling outside the area and as the player was walking off the field a brawl broke out in which Grêmio ‘s Elano appeared to be headbutted by Fred who, to Luxemburgo’s fury, was only given a yellow card.
Then, just 10 minutes later, Inter striker Leandro Damião elbowed Para while challenging for a header and was sent off, reducing the away side to 9 men.
With Grêmio frantically searching for a winner, an altercation broke out between defender Saimon and Inter coach Osmar Loss, which descended into another brawl, causing the referee to end the game early, despite having four minutes of injury time remaining, thus angering the Grêmio players even more.
The Inter players left the field feeling triumphant at spoiling their great rivals party, and the disappointment of missing out on second place soon turned to sadness as fans realised it was time to say goodbye to the Olímpico for the last time.
The tricolor started this season with no real hopes of success, but Luxemburgo has breathed new life into the club and with a new president promising quality recruitments for next season, and the move to their new 60,000 capacity stadium in December, things are finally looking up for the blue half of Porto Alegre.