In a rematch of last year’s championship, the Coritiba Crocodiles claimed their second national title over the João Pessoa Espectros.
This was a game for the ages in the history of American football in Brazil. On Sunday, December 14, after trailing the João Pessoa Espectros for most of the championship game , the Coritiba Crocodiles came from behind to claim a second consecutive Brazilian Championship, this time at home at Couto Pereira Stadium. The crowd of green and white (the colors of the Crocodiles) were enthralled and entertained until the final minutes.
The game was a defensive struggle for the most part and the two finalists found it very difficult to get to their opponents’ end-zone.
Coritiba Crocodiles v. João Pessoa Espectros
The Crocodiles opened the scoring on a Felipe field goal, 15 seconds from the end of the first half. The game was tight and intense with players battling for every inch. Early in the third, the Espectros took the lead as Felipe Gônzio scored the first touchdown of the game and Diego Spider converted the extra point giving the Espectros a 7-3 lead.
The host Crocodiles needed a score late in the game to retain their title. But Espectros kicker Diego Spider kicked a 39 yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-3. They weren’t finished there though as Massu caught a terrific pass from Rodrigo Dantas and scored the second touchdown of the team and João Pessoa took what seemed to be an insurmountable lead late in the contest giving them the scent of their first ever championship.
Crocodiles finally respond
But the game only ends when the referee blows the final whistle and it seemed that the Crocodiles tried to inject some excitement into Brasil Bowl V. Adan Rodriguez, scored the first touchdown for green and white, and Felipe converted the extra point reducing the visitors’ lead to 17-10. From then on it was defensive battle as the vaunted offense of the Crocodiles could not move the ball and both defenses clamped down. The Crocodiles were feeling desperate.
However, with a little more than five minutes to go, Coritiba scored to pull even 17-17 and force the game into overtime. The atmosphere at the end of regulation time was electric although there was an eerie silence, as home team fans at Couto Pereira Stadium were nervous.
The Espectros had possession first, but an interception by the Crocodiles ended their dream of a first championship.
Coritiba fullback Alexandre scored on the Crocodiles possession, giving them the national championship, with a score of 23-17. That was the 31st consecutive victory for the Coritiba Crocodiles team.
The almost record crowd for a championship game at Couto Pereira Stadium celebrated after the game as only the Brazilians can do. Kawan Pivatto, defensive tackle of the Crocodiles and tight end Ocho Nueve thanked the fans:
“Thank you green and white nation, you were crucial to our victory!”