The Saints Brazilian, with the newly hired Argentine coach Ariel holan and without several headlines due to injury or covid, he debuted this Tuesday in the Libertadores Cup of 2021 with a 2-1 win over the Deportivo Lara Venezuelan in the first leg for the second phase of the continental competition.
The paulista team, which last month lost the final of the 2020 Libertadores against the Brazilian Palmeiras, began the duel with an advantage and will now play for a draw in the second leg, next Tuesday in Venezuela, to advance in the competition .
The winner in this duel will be measured against the winner of the key that brings together the University of Chile and the Argentine San Lorenzo in a final stage to define one of the qualifiers for the Libertadores group stage.
The Brazilian team won with goals from its two defenders, Vinicius Balieiro and Kaiky, who managed to make up for the lack of the main Santos players, who could not be alienated due to being with covid (such as the striker Marinho) or injured (such as the attacker Kaio Jorge or the Uruguayan creative Carlos Sánchez).
The victory in the Libertadores allowed Holan to correct the course after having debuted on the Santos bench with a tough 4-0 defeat against Sao Paulo for the Paulista Championship.
After an even start in which the two teams took turns attacking, Santos needed a few minutes to show that he was the owner of the field and begin to dominate the game.
The great highlight in the first half was the youthful Angelo, a 16-year-old forward from the Santos base and whom Holan put him to make his professional debut in an international match.
The young man had some opportunities, including a launch with which Marcos Leonardo narrowly opened the scoring, but he did not manage to surpass the mark of the Venezuelans.
Despite the dominance of Santos, it was Barrios, with a shot that passed near Joao Paulo’s goal, who starred in the first finish in minute 10 for Lara.
With a great performance by Venezuelan Yeferson Soteldo as creative, both Angelo, with quick starts on the right, and Marcos Leonardo, always very well located within the area, then scared the defense of the Venezuelan club but finished without aim.
With the insistence of Santos, goalkeeper Curiel became the main protagonist of the first half with important saves and rejections.
But the dominance of Santos and the total withdrawal of Lara did not prevent goalkeeper Joao Paulo from also having important interventions to prevent the surprise Venezuelan counterattacks and two powerful shots from Barrios and Bueno.
Santos returned to the court in the second half ready to have everything defined as quickly as possible and, after an avalanche of attacks, they did it after just 4 minutes when defender Vinicius Balieiro took advantage of a rebound to open the scoring with a strong shot.
But the happiness did not last long, because two minutes later, fellow defender Ignacio Anzola appeared at the second post to finish off a corner kick and equalize the score for Lara.
Faced with the need to give more creativity to the center of the court, Holan chose to sacrifice at the wheel Sandry, who was replaced by midfielder Gabriel Pirani to help Soteldo in the creation of the plays.
The change further increased the dominance of the Brazilian team, which continued to approach more and more danger, until in the 24th minute, after a corner charge by the newly entered Jean Mota, defender Kaiky scored the second goal of the Saints.
Kaiky himself prevented, fifteen minutes later, when the game was over, that Jean Castillo took advantage of a serious error by the Santos goalkeeper and equalized the score again for Santos.
Despite the partial advantage, Santos did not hit the brakes and kept trying to increase the advantage, in which he was prevented by an opportunist Curiel, who saved Lara from suffering a more bulky defeat.
– Data sheet:
2. Santos: Joao Paulo; Vinicius Balieiro, Kaiky, Luan Peres, Felipe Jonatan; Alison, Sandry (m.59, Gabriel Pirani), Yeferson Soteldo; Lucas Braga, Ángelo (m.77, Bruno Marques) and Marcos Leonardo (m.69: Jean Mota).
Coach: Ariel Holan.
1. Deportivo Lara: Luis Eduardo Curiel; Jonathan Spain, Ignacio Anzola, Cristopher Rodríguez, Víctor Sifontes, Diego Enrique Meleán; Jesús Bueno, Telasco Segovia (m.75, Jean Castillo), Luis Alexis Barrios (m.70, Jesús Silva), Darwin Gómez; and Gilson Salazar (m.75: Ángel Sánchez).
Coach: Martín Brignani.
Goals: 1-0, m.50: Vinicius Balieiro; 1-1, m.52: Ignacio Anzola; 2-1, m.70: Kaiky.
Referee: Uruguayan Andrés Matonte admonished Anzola, Alison, Gómez, Castillo and Vinicius Balieiro with yellows.
Incidents: first leg for the second phase of the Copa Libertadores played without an audience at the Vila Belmiro stadium in the Brazilian city of Santos.