Santos – Athletico Paranaense: Ten Minute Spree Triggers Santos Siege (1-1)

A late VAR call that resulted in a penalty gifted Santos the deserved equalizer, in a game they dominated from start to finish, with the exception of ten decisive minutes. The draw left them two points behind Serie A leaders Flamengo, whom they will encounter in their next fixture.

Tactical analysis and match report by Kareem Bianchi

Santos’ season has been one of ups and downs so far, as they approached the game three points behind their next opponents Flamengo, with a game in hand. Having just bounced back from a three match winless streak through a narrow victory at Chapecoense, the odds backed Sampaoli’s men to build on their win and keep Flamengo off their backs. 

Unlike European top leagues, the Brazilian Serie A carries on even during international breaks, which can often cost team points, since it holds the possibility of coinciding with important games or simply being scheduled in inappropriate moments. Because of this, some substitutions on Tiago Nunes’ part were to be expected, it was surprising however to see the manager change the entire starting eleven compared to their win against Grêmio, goalkeeper included.

Athletico Paranaense’s heroic comeback from a 2-0 first leg deficit against Grêmio to qualify for the Copa do Brasil final meant that they would face International just four days after their match against Santos. Accordingly, only being the ninth force in the league and having little to fight for that could outweigh the importance of a final, manager Tiago Nunes was faced with an easy decision to make.

Jorge Sampaoli only made three changes compared to Santos’ previous game: wingers Yeferson Soteldo and Derlis González were replaced . . .

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