Palmeiras star hilariously dives after contact from referee in Copa Libertadores final

Yerry Mina helps seal win for Palmeiras in Copa Libertadores

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The joys of watching football in South America is that there is no telling what might happen on the pitch. The chances of a 22-person brawl occurring over the smallest of arguments are never high, while it is common for acts of simulation and the ‘dark arts’ to dominate matches. In the case of Palmeiras player Deyverson, his bizarre collision with the referee made the headlines of this clash.

The Copa Libertadores final, the CONMEBOL equivalent of the Champions League, is the most lucrative fixture in South America and determines which team progresses to the FIFA Club World Cup in December.

And on Saturday night, the all-Brazilian clash between Palmeiras and Flamengo delivered an absorbing contest for fans around the world.

Flamengo, the 2020 Brasilerao winners who won the trophy in 2019 before losing to Liverpool in the Club World Cup final, took on reigning champions Palmeiras at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.

These games often tend to feature cagey atmosphere and controversial incidents – and this year’s final in Uruguay proved to be no different.

It was Palmeiras who took the lead when right-back Mayke, who sprung the offside trap set by former Arsenal defender David Luiz, crossed to find Raphael Veiga, who slotted past veteran stopper Diego Alves.

Flamengo rallied though and levelled the tie on 72 minutes through Gabriel Barbosa, scoring for the second time in a Copa Libertadores final. The 24-year-old, also known as ‘Gabigol’, slid his effort past goalkeeper Weverton after an assist from Giorgan De Arrascieta.

The two sides could not be separated and headed into extra-time at 1-1 before Deyverson who got the all-important goal to put Abel Ferreira’s side back in front on 95 minutes.

And with that goal came great responsibility to run down the clock and see his side over the line.

There were only eight seconds left of the three minutes of stoppage time awarded by the referee when the 30-year-old saw the opportunity to waste some precious seconds — and how he took it.

After an amusing chat with the official, he decided to pat the Brazilian forward on his back.

But Deyverson, after pushing away Flamengo’s Andreas Pereira — on loan from Manchester United — appeared to try and get the midfielder in trouble by collapsing to the floor.

Little did he know that it was the referee and not Pereira who had touched him, resulting in an embarrassing and hilarious incident captured by the cameras.

In his attempts to calm the situation, the referee helped him to his feet and making his feelings known about Deyverson’s bizarre reaction to his gentle gesture.

But in this unique act of the dark arts that has rarely been seen in football, even in South America where such acts of simulation are commonplace, Deyverson’s side ended up clinching the trophy.

Palmeiras became the first team in 20 years to win back-to-back titles after Boca Juniors achieved the feat in 2000 and 2001.

They will take part in the FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2022 along with Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, who won the won the Champions League back in May.

The tournament features the winners of the AFC, CAF, UEFA and CONCACAF Champions League, while the Oceania representatives Auckland City make an appearance along with UAE Pro League winners Al Jazira Club.

Chelsea could face either of those six opponents and will go into the hat, with the draw taking place on November 29 at 4pm (UK time).

Should they draw Palmeiras, Tuchel may have to instruct his defenders — and the referee on the night — to be careful when approaching Deyverson after his amusing antics on Saturday night.

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