Palmeiras star dives hilariously after referee contact in Copa Libertadores final | Football | sport
The joys of watching football in South America is that you don’t know what might happen on the pitch. The odds of a 22-person brawl happening over the smallest of arguments are never high, while it is common for pretend acts and the “dark arts” to dominate matches. In the case of Palmeiras player Deyverson, his bizarre collision with the referee made the headlines in this clash.
The Copa Libertadores final, the CONMEBOL equivalent of the Champions League, is South America’s most lucrative game and determines which team will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
And on Saturday night, the all-Brazilian clash between Palmeiras and Flamengo provided an exciting competition for fans around the world.
Flamengo, the Brasilerao 2020 winner who won the trophy in 2019 before losing to Liverpool in the Club World Cup final, faced defending champion Palmeiras at Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.
These matches often tend to feature an atmosphere of mistrust and controversial incidents – and this year’s final in Uruguay turned out to be the same.
It was Palmeiras who took the lead when right-back Mayke, who laid the offside trap set by former Arsenal defender David Luiz, crossed paths to find Raphael Veiga, who passed the veteran of the stop Diego Alves.
Flamengo rallied and equalized in the 72nd minute thanks to Gabriel Barbosa, scoring for the second time in the Copa Libertadores final. The 24-year-old, also known as “Gabigol”, slipped his effort past goalkeeper Weverton after an assist from Giorgan De Arrascieta.
The two teams could not be separated and headed for extra time to 1-1 before Deyverson who scored the all-important goal to put Abel Ferreira’s side back in the lead in the 95 minutes.
And with that goal came a great responsibility to run the time and see your team beyond the line.
With just eight seconds left of the three-minute stoppage granted by the referee when the 30-year-old saw the opportunity to waste precious seconds – and how he took it.
After a fun chat with the official, he decided to pat the Brazilian striker on the back.
But Deyverson, after fending off Andreas Pereira from Flamengo – on loan from Manchester United – appeared to be trying to put the midfielder in trouble by collapsing to the ground.
He had no idea it was the referee and not Pereira who had touched him, resulting in an embarrassing and hilarious incident captured by the cameras.
In his attempts to calm the situation down, the ref helped him get up and make his feelings known about Deyverson’s bizarre reaction to his gentle gesture.
But in this unique act of black magic that has rarely been seen in football, even in South America where such acts of simulation are rife, Deyverson’s team ended up clinching the trophy.
Palmeiras became the first team in 20 years to win back-to-back titles after Boca Juniors achieved the feat in 2000 and 2001.
They will take part in the FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2022 with Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel, who won the Champions League in May.
The tournament features the winners of AFC, CAF, UEFA and the CONCACAF Champions League, while representatives of Oceania Auckland City make an appearance with the winners of the Pro League of the United Arab Emirates, Al Jazira Club.
Chelsea could face any of those six opponents and will go into the hat, with the draw taking place on November 29 at 4 p.m. KST.
If they draw with Palmeiras, Tuchel may have to ask his defenders – and the referee of the night – to be careful as they approach Deyverson after his fun antics on Saturday night.