Santos returns to Mirassol at the Pelé tribute night at Vila Belmiro

Marcos Leonardo and Lucas Braga scored in the match, which saw the team take the lead in Paulistão Group A alongside Botafogo.

Lucas Braga celebrates the goal against Mirassol in the match of the first round of the Paulista Championship

THE saints premiered in Paulista Championship with a comeback victory over Mirassol, 2 to 1, in Villa Belmiro. The match marked the debut of coach Odair Hellmann in charge of the team. The goals of the Baixada team were scored by Marcos Leonardo, from the penalty, and Lucas Braga, at the end of the match. Danielzinho did for the domestic team. The result puts Santos and Botafogo ahead of Group A in Paulistão. The group also includes Red Bull Bragantino, who debut this Sunday against Corinthians, and Inter de Limeira, who lost to São Bernardo. It is worth noting that teams from the same group do not face each other in this first stage of the state. Before the ball got rolling, Santos paid a nice tribute peelings, died on December 29. A wreath was placed in the center of the lawn, while the King of Football’s signature and images of the idol were projected onto the pitch. 1283 balloons were also released, as many goals scored by the eternal number 10. It was the first match of professionals with the crown on the shield.

Even playing away from home, Mirassol was not scared and started to take the initiative of the match. The São Paulo side had chances twice from outside the area, with Zé Roberto and Camilo, but both shots went to the right of João Paulo’s goal. Even with a very attacking line-up, Santos saw the opposition’s pressure ease only when the game was stopped to pay tribute to Pelé, in the 10th minute of the game, in connection with the shirt worn by the King of Football. The crowd pointed to numbered jerseys and clapped as Vila’s big screen flashed images of Brazil’s biggest football idol. With the ball back in play, Santos again saw Mirassol take possession and dominate the midfield. The team from Santos only managed to pose a threat when Ângelo broke free and went low, but both Marcos Leonardo and Mendoza could not get on the end. The home team responded with fresh shots from outside the area, putting goalkeeper João Paulo to work. Accustomed to making excellent saves, the keeper failed when Danielzinho took a risk from distance and had the ball turn the net to open the scoring for the visitors in the 26th minute.

Boxed in at the back and seeing the opposition exchange passes with ease, Santos staged a response late in the first half, driven more by the cheers of the crowd than quality in playmaking. In the 39th minute, Soteldo crossed and the ball hit Negueba in the hand. Referee Luiz Flávio de Oliveira was called to review the offer on VAR and signaled the penalty. Marcos Leonardo charged in style, displacing the keeper. At the party, he carried a banner with Pelé’s name and reproduced the emblematic fist in the air immortalized by the King. For the second half, Odair returned with Sandry in place of Vinicius Zanocelo and brought Mendoza back to help with the creation, looking to strengthen the midfield and regain the lead in the sector. Santos became more combative, reducing the pressure of rivals and becoming more insinuating in attack. However, neither team was in danger until the 20th minute when Mirassol goalkeeper Cesar was injured and had to be replaced.

A curious scene marked the second stage. Mirassol right-back Lucas Ramon injured his ankle, but coach Ricardo Catalá had already made all the changes. In an apparent inability to act, the player continued the match just so that the team would not be left with one less, “making the number” in the attack sector. The match continued without much excitement until the 35th minute, when Zé Mateus took a beautiful launch and went into the face of João Paulo. The Santos keeper made a fine close-range save to keep out the visitors’ second. A little later, the Villa side were in danger with Lucas Barbosa, who struck first after receiving a good pass from Soteldo on the left, but the ball went wide. Due to the interruptions, the referee awarded 10 minutes of extra time. At that moment the game came back to life. Maicon crossed in the area and Marcos Leonardo fell. Luiz Flávio scored the penalty, but it came back after another intervention in VAR. On the next move, Soteldo cut down the left and delivered a beautiful cross for Lucas Braga to push into the net and give Santos the win. Before the final whistle, another penalty was awarded to Santos, but Arthur saved Marcos Leonardo’s shot.

*With information from Estadão Content

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