For decades, São Paulo FC has been one of the major institutions of Brazilian and South American football. But in recent years the club has suffered a prolonged drought, with its last major trophy coming in 2012, when youngster Lucas Moura was the star of the victorious Copa Sudamericana team.
After a decade of drought, Lucas returned, becoming a savior to offer a new title to his favorite club.
On Sunday, São Paulo clinched the 2023 Brazilian Cup after a 1-1 draw against Flamengo, winning the entire encounter 2-1.
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Sao Paulo at the top, Flamengo hits rock bottom
The return match was not a walk in the park for São Paulo, despite their away advantage. Flamengo created a surprise by equalizing the cumulative score in the 44th minute thanks to a goal from Bruno Henrique. However, São Paulo reacted quickly, with a superb volley from Rodrigo Nestor in the 45th +5, which secured the 2-1 victory on aggregate.
Flamengo needed a goal to force a penalty shootout, but despite their dominance in the second half and offensive changes made by coach Sampaoli, they failed to break through the São Paulo defense.
For São Paulo coach Dorival Junior, this victory has a taste of sweet revenge. After winning the same competition the previous year with Flamengo, in addition to the Libertadores, he was sacked at the end of the season.
For his former club, Flamengo, this result is an unmitigated disaster, and the regrets over their lost opportunities will only grow. Their year therefore ended prematurely, eliminated from the Copa Libertadores and lagging behind in the league.
This is what we call a return to the forefront through the front door for São Paulo.