Palmeiras Defeat Slavia Prague to Win Their Third CEE Cup

The grand moment has arrived; after the ranking games earlier today, we have finally reached the CEE Cup Final which sees Slavia Prague take on Palmeiras.

The Brazilians have been here before, twice in a row, and they won both times. The Czechs, on the other hand, will dispute their very first final ever. Palmeiras have proven to be a veritable force of nature, having scored 12 goals so far and taken in only 1. Slavia, instead, have only 4 goals for and 3 against.

For many, the goal scoring average of the Brazilians might suggest that the Czechs have very little chance of prevailing, but the beauty of this sport is that it is unpredictable, so we will just have to wait and see who will win the cup.

The match took off at a very fast pace, and it didn’t take long for the first chances to come in. Palmeiras tried their luck at the 5th with Santos Silva’s curling shot to the right-hand post, but Slavata was good in shutting the threat down. Just three minutes later it was Dos Santos Figueiredo’s shot that tested the keeper, but it was Mendes Craveiro who managed to put the rebound into the back of the net; unfortunately for him, he was in an offside position.

Then at the 12th it was again Palmeiras who had another a great chance after Santos da Silva shot from up close, but the ball found the keeper. Slavia tried to react and at the 17th a nice play down the middle ended with a pass to Toula, but his low placed shot did not worry the keeper.

The Brazilians, though, were the ones who kept on trying to wreak havoc on Slavia’s defense, and at the 22nd Kopecky got a yellow card after cutting down Santos Silva on the edge of the box. Slavia had the hint of another chance at the 35th with a long ball into the area for Biegoin, but he wasn’t fast enough and the ball went over the goal line.

The last chance of the half came at the second minute of injury time with a great run down the middle by Santos Silva, who then let off a powerful shot on the edge of the box, but Slavata was again excellent in his response.

As I mentioned earlier, the wonder of football is that it can surprise you. Case in point, the incredible goal scored by Toula at the 53rd when, after receiving the ball inside the box, he controlled it and did a superb sombrero on the defense player, setting himself up for the perfect shot to beat the keeper.

Palmeiras were shaken a bit by the unexpected turn of the tides, and it took them a moment to get back into their groove. They went very close to tying things up at the 62nd when Mendes Craveiro got by the keeper, but his shot ultimately failed to find the net.

Everything changed, though, at the 69th, when Zitny was given a yellow card after he stopped an incoming shot with his hand and Palmeiras were awarded a penalty; Mendes Craveiro then stepped up to take it and beat the keeper. At this point, Palmeiras put the pedal to the metal and eventually found another goal at the 76th, this time on the heels of a perfect through ball that found Gomes de Araujo, who beat the keeper with a nicely cut shot to the far post.

After that, as the minutes rolled by, it became harder and harder for the Czechs to swim against the Brazilian current, even with the extra six minutes of injury time awarded. Slavia tried to invent something at the 95th with a bit of a Hail Mary pass into the box, but it turned out to be too little, too late.

Palmeiras turned it around again and came away with their third CEE Cup trophy in row, a truly historic feat! After going under, they did what they seem to know how to do best and responded to Toula’s goal with two of their own. To be fair, this time they were aided by a penalty which, though undeniable as it was, ended making the real difference.

As for Slavia, they came away with a silver medal and the knowledge that they truly gave the Brazilians a proper run for their money and put them in a very tight spot, something nobody else has been really able to do in the three years Palmeiras has played the tournament. Compliments to both teams for the incredible final they gave all their fans and the myriad of spectators.

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