A crowd of about 5,000 turned up to Stade Saputo yesterday , to see a team of Brazilian Legends, including four World Cup winners, take on some of the most prominent and celebrated names from the Impact’s past.
2002 World Cup winning captain, Cafu, was the star-turn, scoring the Brazilian’s first goal and gesticulating and arguing with each assistant referee throughout the game, even going over to shake hands with the official running his line during the the first half.
But if the former Roma and Milan great looked every bit his 49 years as he took the field, then his flashes of athleticism, skill and brilliance, soon had the crowd purring with excitement. Just like in his playing days, he was dictating operations from right-back, the most dangerous attacker on his team.
Anyone in attendance not old enough to have seen Cafu in his prime, must have been left wondering how good this guy really was.
But it was the Montreal Legends who drew first blood, Cam Porter bending the ball around the ‘keeper on 11 minutes. The lead was doubled by Justin Mapp on 19, after nice build-up play involving Porter, Drogba and Bernier.
Former World Player of the Year, Rivaldo looked set to halve the deficit in the 34th minute, but he delayed too long allowing Camara to recover the situation. Rivaldo went to ground under the force of the Frenchman’s sliding challenge, leaving the proceedings for treatment. It was the end of the former Barcelona man’s evening. He did not return to the fray.
His replacement, Felipe however wasted no time in getting involved, playing the pass that sent Cafu in on goal, one on one with Greg Sutton. The right-back brushed off a challenge and bent the ball past Sutton with the outside of his boot, from close-in.
Within a minute the sides were level, busy midfielder Carlinhos letting fly from outside the box, the deflection off Lefevre wrong-footing Sutton.
The sides exchanged goals again in the last ten minutes of the game. First Drogba’s clipped cross was diverted into his own net by Fernando with Lefevre waiting to pounce, then Wellington again tied things up, beating Cecarelli from 20 yards.
The Brazilians made a multiple substitution, including an appearance by Dunga a few minutes before their equalizer, and somehow ended up with 12 men on the field. This wasn’t noticed by the officials until the 85th minute. After a headcount amongst the yellow shirts the ref yellow-carded Renato Silva, the Brazilian nominated to leave the field to level-up the numbers. Wellington’s goal however, scored during the short period of imbalance, was allowed to stand.
The final whistle arrived before the latest deadlock could be broken and the game went to penalties, the Brazilian Legends prevailing 6-5.
The event was an enjoyable one, low on intensity, high on enjoyment and illuminated by that man Cafu. Exactly what the doctor would have ordered for disgruntled Impact fans after a difficult Saturday night.
Impact Legends - Sutton, Cecarelli - Drogba, Biello, Mapp, Porter, Camara, Bernier, Leduc, Moojen, De Santis, Pizzolitto, Placentino, Sebrango, Lefevre, Ribeiro, Limniatis.
Coaches - Valerio Gazzola, Mike Moretto, Aldo Riciuti
Brazil Legends - Marcelo, Leonardo Ramalho - Renato Silva, Fernando, Joilson, Arthirson, Tony Menezes, Felipe Adao, Rivaldo, Cafu, Klebersen, Gilberto Silva, Djalminha, Wellington, Robson Chagas, Carlinhos
Coaches - Dunga, Kalil Sehbe, Nereu Maydana.