That familiar helpless, sinking feeling....Santa lost on a muggy Sunday afternoon, a 3-1 scoreline not telling half the story. Duelling banjos at the start as 3,000 tricolores outshouted 16,000 alvirrubros in a sell out crowd and things got louder when Thiago Cunha neé Capixaba scored for O Mais Querido after three minutes. After that Nautico, driven on by their best player, Niélson Nogueiro Dias, dominated. That Mr Dias was wearing a blue referee's shirt hardly disguised his impressive commitment to the Nautico cause.
Ricardo Texeira equalised, Evérton kicked Mário Lucio while the Santa player was lying on the ground and was punished with a wink and a cheeky smile, Thiago Mathias had his standing leg hacked away while preparing to shoot a yard from goal, Derley went up the other end and thumped in a cracker, Texeira stepped on the fingertips of Santa stand-in goalkeeper Zuba and was rewarded with a penalty, and two Santa players were sent off for running around too much.
Afterwards, the FPF (Federação Pernambucana Do Futebol) rather harshly described Mr Nogueiro Dias's performance as 'disastrous' and suspended him for three games. This seems terribly unfair, as from a Nautico perspective he had an excellent game, but might be kinder than Santa president Antonio Luiz Neto's verdict of 'calamitous'.
For those brave enough to face the horrors of recifense local sports coverage (which for glitz and polish makes UTV look like CBS's Monday Night Football), highlights of a sort can be found here, after the goals from Sunday's Caruaru classico matuto (or hick's derby) between Porto and Central.
For the more timid, the slicker dressed Sport TV has the goals. Even if they do, rather strangely, show Santa's goal at the end and describe it as a consolation. Conspiração!