Vasco da Gama shut-out Santos en route to CBFA playoff berth

Vasco da Gama Patriotas – 39
Santos Tsuami – 0

Estádio do São Cristivão – Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro

A big day for the Vasco defense and quarterback Daniel Gazelle led to a dominating win for the team from Rio de Janeiro.

Vasco quarterback Daniel Gazelle, paced the Patriota victory by hitting four different teammates (Caio Vidal, Lipe Fernandes, Rudá Andrade and Lucas Negueba) with touchdown passes. He was 11/19 for 136 yards on the day. Gazelle added 36 yards rushing and one more touchdown with his legs.

Defensively, Vasco smothered Santos, allowing only 15 total offensive yards, creating three turnovers and scoring a touchdown. Defensive lineman, Hugo Bubba, recovered Santos fumble for a score, and veteran, Felipe Sodre, had an interception, as did Juan Senra, who made it five picks on the season with his most recent aerial robbery. Vasco head coach, Gabriel Mendes also cited linebackers Sloan Henry and Diego Slaxis, as submitting solid performances.

Even with the dominant performance, Mendes, who has guided Vasco da Gama to two consecutive national title games (in the now-defunct TTD, winning it all in 2014), knows that his team can’t advance deep into the Superliga playoffs if it “shoots itself in the foot” with the regularity that occurred this weekend.

“In offense and defense, we had too many penalties. And we know that in the playoffs if we want to have a chance; we cannot make so many mental mistakes. We need to cut down penalties,” he said.

AFI’s take: Gazelle stepped up big in the absence of star running back, Romulo Ramos, who was recently lost for the season with a knee injury. He will need more of that type of effort to carry an injury plagued-Vasco squad to a third consecutive finals appearance. The Patriota defense carries some much needed momentum into a first round playoff rematch against one of the fastest teams in the country, the Vila Velha Tritões.

Clayton Lovett has served football in Brasil in a variety of roles, including as the member of the coaching staff of two CBFA national champions (Cuiaba Arsenal 2010, 2012). Football is his hobby. Professionally, he is the founder of CS Educacional,