Real shows maturation against SF Celtic Reserves winning second straight by 4 goals
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- There is no doubt an evolution and a revolution has taken place on the soccer field for Real Sao Paulo. It seems winning is becoming a habit and a part of the culture on the Real side. Two pieces of evidence for that transformation stand out in Real's 4-1 victory against SF Celtic Reserves this Sunday afternoon at Crocker Amazon #3 Stadium.
It was the first time that Real played against SF Celtic Reserves, a club with more than 36 years of history in the bay area soccer and two teams in different SFSFL divisions. It also marked the first game this year that Real rallied from a tie or deficit to garner three points.
Real initially fell behind 1-0 in the first minute of the game when SF Celtic jumped on them with lightning speed from the right side. A cross ended up at Ricardo Costenaro's possession, but when he tried to clear it out he got hit by SF Celtic's player. The referee thought it was probably too soon to call a foul and the shot from the opportunistic SF Celtic's player from out of the box was deviated by Armando Pereira and frustrated goalkeeper Sandro Britz who had already jumped to the right side of the goal and could only watch the ball getting inside the goal in the opposite side.
The Real side did not have to wait long for an equalizer. Two minutes later, a throw-in for Real and Mauro kept possession in the right side. After a couple of dribbles, Mauro passed to the center mid and Marcos David consciously let the ball pass to Fernando Spinelli set it up to his right boot and smacked in a shot from 40 yards out that almost touched the fingertips of SF Celtic's goalkeeper finishing inside the net over him. Real 1-1.
Real apparently learned their lesson and started to press more frequently. In the 5th minute, Fabio recovered a ball in the left side and entered the box. He tried the shot, which ended up hitting the post, when he should have passed to Mauro coming through the center. Two minutes later, a ball cleared by Matt Gruber after a confusion in the box, ended up with Ricardo who passed first time to Leandro but he missed the goal while the goalkeeper left the goal and made an important save.
In the 17th minute, SF Celtic got a throw-in and the ball rolled towards the center of the field. The midfielder tried a long ball inside the box which went over Sandro but Ricardo was behind him and saved over the line. Five minutes later, a ball recovered and passed by Marcos David to Leandro, found the forward again free and running into the box in the center, but the linesman called offside. Before the end of the first half, Real had another great opportunity when a ball recovered by Leandro ended up to Fernando Spinelli who set it again to his right boot and shot from outside the box for an amazing save by the SF Celtic's goalkeeper.
Real Sao Paulo decided to start the second half with the single objective of putting the game away as soon as possible. In the 51st minute, Cristiano Sinadino got fouled in the defense. He sent a long pass to Mauro in the righ flank. Mauro dribbled the defender rushing towards the end line and crossed. The defender tried to clear but missed it and Leandro, well positioned inside the box, shot first time sending the ball zipping past the goalkeeper and into the net in the right, lower corner. Real 2-1.
SF Celtic fought hard for the equalizer and got a free kick right outside the box in the left side. Sandro rebounded but kicked out to corner before the forward got to it. Real gave back one minute later, getting also a free kick. Cris sent up and Mauro set up to Leandro in the top of the arc but the shot went out through the right side.
In the 76th minute, SF Celtic had another great chance to equalize with a play through the right wing. The forward took the ball to the end line and crossed, but his peer missed a header with an open net. Three minutes later, Real decided to tighten the game in the midfield. The ball hit Andrew Fons and ended up at Fabio's foot who took a 40 yard run toward the box followed by two players, set to his right foot and cracked it in the right upper corner. Real 3-1.
Three minutes later, Real decided to put final numbers to the match when Ricardo recovered the ball, passed to Fabio who, in turn, spun around the defender, opened in the left side to Leandro. Instead of taking the shot, Leandro decided to dribble the first defender and got fouled by the goalkeeper inside the box. PK!! Leandro himself took it and scored his second goal of the game and 4th in the season. Real 4-1.
In the 88th min, agoal kick for SF celtic cleared by Oscar found Rodrigo free. A great pass to Fernando Spinelli but he missed the goal and the shot went over the bar. SF Celtic Reserves had yet one more chance in the left side before the end of the game. Sandro sent the shot to corner. The player swung the ball toward the far post to a succesful header, but it was weak enough for Fernando to save in the goal line.
For Real Sao Paulo, the question seems to no longer involve wondering if they will win, but how they are going to win. Real's coach Fabio Marques credits the team's ability to limit shots and disrupt offensive flow as well as to creatively produce enough offensive opportunites to a team-wide commitment to creating a strong defensive identity and a flexible, well-positioned midfield and attack. Next Sunday, Real Sao Paulo plays host for the league leaders AC Milan. Another win might put them among the top three teams, with three more games to the end of the first half of the season.
For a more detailed game report, including video highlights and game stats, please click here.