Sao Paulo sixer leaves Md. Sporting reeling
With a propensity to break from the pack Sao Paulo FC gave Mohammedan Sporting an exhibition of how they play football, reports Dhiman Sarkar.Updated: Feb 01, 2007, 17:49 IST
With a propensity to break from the pack — which fetched two goals — and individual brilliance, which got four more, Sao Paulo FC gave Mohammedan Sporting an exhibition of how they play football.
Shut out for most of the first half, the boys from Brazil created their own carnival in the second at the JRD Tata Sports Complex Stadium, which looked the part with music, colour and petals showered from above.
It was not quite like Mardi Gras brought forward, but there were times, when the 30,000-odd crowd were left breathless.
The first was when Mohammedan Sporting goalkeeper Gopal Das flew to keep out Hernanes's 19th minute left-foot pile driver. The visitors provided the rest. Having failed with the left, Hernanes tried with his right foot, pirouetting past Surojit Roy to drive home so swiftly that Gopal was left gobsmacked.
The deadlock was broken and a series of somersaults followed by way of celebration, something Hernanes later said he does after every goal he scores.
Five years with Sao Paulo FC and a teammate-turned-admirer of Kaka, the 21-year-old midfielder wound up the afternoon's goal rush with a sudden right-footer at the far post that gave substitute goalkeeper Nasibul Haq no chance.
From almost the same spot, Francisco Alex had scored with a left-footer at the near post, punishing Mohammedan Sporting for a faulty clearance — something they would get away with almost every time in domestic football.
A goal late in the first half and Alex's early in the second would kill any team, especially one without a striker worth his pay cheque, like Mohammedan Sporting.
Playing behind the targetmen, Alex then ended a barren 18-minute spell when Sao Paulo could not add to their tally with another smooth finish. This was after another of wing-back Tiago's runs — this time on the left — which left Roy stranded.
Sao Paulo finally looked like they were following what coach Antonio Carlos Silva said was the team's philosophy "of playing in front".
At times they outnumbered Mohammedan Sporting in the rival penalty area. They scored four times in the last half-an-hour which included four minutes of added time, the fourth coming within two minutes of the third.
It was five against nothing — apart from Noel Wilson's hasty attempt which went straight to goalkeeper Matheus, Mohammedan Sporting did not have a shot on goal — when Andre, another tormentor of a wing-back, popped up like genie from behind.
For most of the first half, Mohammedan Sporting's five-man defence kept its shape. When the backline failed, a mixture of Das's acrobatics and good luck would keep the scoresheet barren. As it was with Bhaskar Ganguly and FC Bochum in another Super Soccer match, the goalkeeper was the best home team player on view.
But when Sao Paulo FC stepped up the tempo, Mohammedan Sporting were blown away. "A Maruti 800 can match a Ferrari for only that long," Bhowmick said after the match.
Sao Paulo coach Silva, however, said: "It is not about goals, it is about the quality of football you play," he said. Some taskmaster.