Away league match played on 03 April 2017.
Kicked off at 8:20 PM

Let's get the formalities out the way - the Revs lined up against Sao Paulo with a strong side. There was no Hartrick (long-term injured), Evans (seeing Atomic Kitten) or Allen (going to war with Spain) but we lined up with Ollie in goal, Phil and Lewis at the back, Gaz and Dave P in midfield and Ty up top. With Matty on the bench this was a good team and one who should have had enough to get something from this game.

*spoiler alert* - we got nothing.

After an excellent performance last week spirits were high but straight away the Revs were on the back foot. An old problem came back to haunt us as we kept giving the ball away. Passes went astray time and time again but luckily Sao Paulo decided they all wanted to score from distance and kept wasting chances. The pressure was ramping up and by the time Gaz had recovered brilliantly to clear off the line we were on the ropes.

Sure enough we conceded a sloppy goal, Ollie's best efforts not enough to save us as the rebound from a very good save fell at the feet of their striker. He swept the ball in unmarked but before anyone points a finger at whose man he was it's worth noting they also had a man free in the centre with no one within 6 yards of him too. Ollie aside it was crap all round. We actually took it pretty well, no blame, just encouragement throughout and we were still in this as we kicked off again.

A little back and forth possession wise as they had a sloppy few minutes tellingly ended up in a second goal for them, their man stepping inside and shooting through a crowded box. Both goals we should have stopped way before anyone was close to taking a shot and a team who weren't playing anywhere near their best were now beating us 2-0.

A couple of forays up front that came to nothing and it was halftime. The message was to stay calm but up the quality - sharper control, sharper passes, stay with your man. We still had a huge chance here, and that's when we massively shit the bed.

The headlines are the sendings off. Yes the referee missed stuff, yes Lewis getting hacked down was a foul and a red. But yet again Revs players were warned not to do something and did it anyway. We can moan at the referee all we want but getting sinbinned does nothing but put pressure on those left on the pitch. We lost about 5 or 6 minutes time in the second half when we were one or two men down and point fingers all you want but both cards were right. Justice? No. Our own fault? Yep. Before the sendings off that halftime message had also gone to nothing - clearances going straight out of play, people rushing passes straight to white shirts, and overall we just weren't at the races.

As ever with us adversity eventually brought our best. We defended sensibly while Gaz and Phil took their referee-induced breathers, when they were back on we started to play some football and Gaz's through ball put Ty in for a good goal. We'd screwed ourselves though, that lost time coming back to haunt us as we ran out of it when on top for the first time in the game. A 2-1 defeat and not much glory in it either.

So here's the truth - we've got to stop giving the referees down there the questions to answer. We've got to up the quality on the ball and be a bit braver. We've got to get the passing better and find a blue shirt even if it means going backwards. We've got to work the goalkeeper more with better quality shots. Overall, we all need to learn.

There is, of course, always next week. Let's put it right then.


Courtesy of Dave Hartrick

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