By CBDV and IBSA
The Brazilian blind football team gave the home crowds the victory they had been hoping for on Sunday (9 June), reclaiming the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football American Championships title from rivals Argentina in Sao Paulo.
A 2-0 win secured Brazil’s sixth Copa America to continue their storied record in the competition.
Raimundo Nonato was the star of the show, netting both goals in the first half. Nonato also ends the competition as Top Scorer with nine goals overall.
Argentina came to the final with a clean sheet having won three matches against Chile, Peru and Colombia and two goal-less draws versus Brazil and Mexico.
Brazil meanwhile had wins against Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Chile, only conceding one against Chile to top the table in the round-robin stage.
On Sunday Brazil drew first blood with a successful penalty after Ricardinho Alves was pulled down inside the area with eight minutes on clock. Nonato powered the ball into the left corner with his right foot after the ball hit crossbar. Five minutes later it was again Nonato pushing forward, finishing a solo run from the Brazilian half in expert style.
"I always try to give my best, but I did not expect to be rewarded with these two goals in the final,” Nonato said. “The fans' vibe was incredible, knowing that they are supporting and cheering gave an extra gas for the whole team on the field.”
The scoreline was a repeat of the last time the two great rival teams met. In 2018 at the IBSA Blind Football World Championships in Madrid, Spain, Brazil also triumphed with a 2-0 win.
"In the home it is always good to play with the fans, the pressure is very great here, because we could not miss this title, but we did it and we did it in front of friendly crowds," said Ricardinho.
In the last edition of the American Championship in 2017, Argentina stopped Brazil from winning a third title in a row with a 2-1 win on penalties.
However with their place in the final, Argentina have secured themselves a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Brazil already gained their spot with their world title win at Madrid 2018.
Colombia v Mexico – bronze medal match
Mexico beat Colombia 2-1 on penalties after a thrilling 0-0 draw following extra time.
After four missed penalty kicks from Colombia's Alex Guevara and John Garcia and Mexico's Jorge Lanzagorta and Francisco Rangel, it was the Mexicans who found the back of the net.
Omar Otero struck past the Colombian goalkeeper to give his team a fragile advantage. Colombia continued to struggle to gain their rhythm but were offered a reprieve when Gerardo Sotelo missed his chance for Mexico. However the Colombians could not capitalise, and Eduardo Cerezo took the score to 2-0 for Mexico with the last kick.
Chile finished the competition fifth followed by Peru.
The next major competition for teams from the Americas will come at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru from 23 August. Brazil are unbeaten since the first edition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2007.