São Paulo’s up one just before halftime in one of the biggest derbies in Brazilian soccer. It’s the Derby Paulista, waged between the two biggest clubs in the country’s largest city.
Then the most dangerous play in soccer happened.
The ball is put in from the right, a corner kick. Palmeiras clears it. Denílson takes it …
… and this happens:
Yes, that’s the same Denílson that was once such a promising prospect for Arsenal. In fact, he’s still on their books, destined to play out his contract on loan to São Paulo.
And despite playing parts of four seasons with the Tricolor, that was the 24-year-old’s first Campeonato goal. Not a bad way to open your account, albeit a little late: a 36-yard rocket snaking inside the post of your rivals.
The goal also had a moral component. São Paulo had dominated the first half, outshooting Palmeiras 15-6 before the goal. Yet they were only up 1-0, four minutes from letting their rivals reach halftime and a chance to regroup.But then, justice as served.
In one moment, Denílson pushed Palmeiras from salvation to dispair. He also scored what will likely be this weekend’s best goal.
USMNT AT HALF: Dempsey, Gomez trade goals in chippy first half
The first 10 minutes were a bit frenetic, with the U.S. focused on adventurous first touch passes when it managed to earn the ball from Panama.
That feel wasn’t aided by the officiating, as Cesar Ramos was inconsistent in a very physical opening half-hour.
Then, the breakthrough. Dempsey moved to within a goal of Landon donovan’s all-time mark thanks to Pulisic, who cooked Felipe Baloy and held off Roman Torres before laying off to the veteran. 1-0, 39′.
The lead lasted all of three minutes, as Gomez pounced on a loose ball with the Yanks’ back line at sixes and sevens off a long throw-in. Gomez turned off Jermaine Jones and lost Villafana to bury his chance behind Howard. 1-1, 44′.
Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.
With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.