Batalha dos Aflitos
|Event||2005 Campeonato Brasileiro Série B - Play-offs|
|Date||26 November 2005|
|Venue||Estádio dos Aflitos, Recife, Pernambuco|
The Batalha dos Aflitos (English: Battle of the Afflicted) is a name used by the Brazilian press to refer to a memorable Campeonato Brasileiro Série B play-off match played on Saturday, 26 November 2005 between Náutico and Grêmio. The name, Batalha dos Aflitos, is used in reference to Náutico's stadium, the Estádio dos Aflitos, in the city of Recife, where the match was played and also to the enormous tension demonstrated by both clubs during the game, hence the term, Batalha (English: Battle). The eventual winners, in the occasion Grêmio, would be promoted to the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A in 2006.
Grêmio, considered one of the most important football teams in Brazil, was under a very delicate moment on its history, with financial problems and playing in the second division of Brazilian football after a traumatic Brazilian Championship in 2004. On the other hand, Náutico, also a very popular club in Brazil, was trying to return to the main division of Brazilian Championship after 11 years.
The Série B Championship was in the final round, in which the best 4 teams through the championship played against each other to define the champion - both champion and runner-up would be promoted back to the main division in the next year. Before the sixth round, Grêmio was leading with 9 points, with Santa Cruz, also from Recife, in second with 7 points, Náutico with 6 points and Portuguesa, from São Paulo, in last position with 5. The last game between Santa Cruz and Portuguesa was being played simultaneously, and finished 2-1 to Santa Cruz.
Due to the situation of both teams, the match was very tense through most of the time. Still in first half, Náutico had the chance to score through a penalty kick, but Bruno Carvalho missed it by hitting the post. On the other hand, Grêmio was using a more defensive strategy, favoured by their better position in the table and the result of the other match (which finished the first half 2-1).
The game returned for the second half even more tense and violent. At 55 minutes, Escalona received a red card because of a handball. When Santa Cruz scored the second goal in the other match, Grêmio was losing the first position in the group, but would still be promoted to the first division.
The match kept that pace, with Náutico seeking for the goal and Grêmio holding back, counting on the talent of Anderson for an eventual counter-attack. It would've ended like a normal decisive match, until a contested penalty was signaled against Grêmio at 71'. In the move of Nunes, the referee understood that a handball happened, and the player also was ejected from the match.
A big conflict then started in the field. Grêmio players surrounded the referee to complain about the penalty, some of them in an aggressive manner. The match was stopped for about 20 minutes, and two other Grêmio players were sent off: the defender Domingos and the right-back Patrício.
After the confusion had settled, the game restarted with the penalty kick, Náutico with 11 players and Grêmio playing with seven men on the field. The situation made the match even more tense, and players of both teams were feeling the pressure. Náutico's left wing Ademar was chosen to take the penalty kick, but Grêmio's goalkeeper Galatto saved it with his legs and sent the ball over the net for a corner kick.
Although the saved penalty kept the score level, Grêmio still had to hold off the opponent for 10 additional minutes, having only six outfield players and the keeper, while Náutico had the possession of the ball for a corner kick and had all 11 players on field. Santa Cruz's match had already finished, and the 0x0 would not only promote Santa Cruz, but also crown them Champions. But, in the follow up of the corner kick Anderson got control of the ball and began a counter-attack for Grêmio, which was stopped by a violent foul by Náutico's defender Batata. For that foul, Batata received his second yellow card and was sent off. Taking advantage of an apparent lack of organization of Náutico's defense, Marcelo Costa played the free kick to Anderson, who passed two defenders and the keeper to score the goal that would define the match, the promotion for Grêmio, and the title, 72 seconds after Náutico's second missed penalty of the match.
26 November 2005
|Náutico||0 – 1||Grêmio|
- That team of Grêmio revealed important names for international football in 2005. Both substitutes that entered the match in the second half have played or are playing in the top tier of English football: Anderson with the nickname "Andershow" at Porto of Portugal, played for seven and a half seasons at Manchester United and Lucas at Liverpool. Also, Mano Menezes was Brazil's manager from 2010 until 2012.
- The "Batalha dos Aflitos" was so memorable to Grêmio's fans that a documentary was made about it. "Inacreditável - A Batalha dos Aflitos" was released in 2007, and tells the story of that year's championship, focusing on the 71 seconds between the saved penalty and the decisive goal.