Achievement: Saved Santos from elimination and then netted in the resulting shoot-out
With just 10 minutes remaining in Sao Paulo, Santos were on their way out of this year’s Copa Libertadores. That was until the ball fell to the feet of Alan Kardec inside the Velez box and he effortlessly bent the ball past Montoya to take the game to penalties. Santos may have won the shoot-out, but Kardec had the daunting task of taking Santos’ first spot-kick, which he scored, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Kardec worked his way up through Vasco da Gama’s youth team to debut for his boyhood club in 2007, aged just 18. He scored his first goal for Vasco just two months later, in a 4-4 draw with Botafogo and went on to score seven more goals in his debut season. He remained at the club for one more season; a season in which he struggled, scoring just once in 19 appearances. In 2009, Kardec was sent on loan to Internacional, playing just two games before Lisbon based Benfica bid €2.5m for the young forward.
Now on loan at Santos, Kardec had a big impact on the game and will have undoubtedly impressed Santos coach Muricy Ramalho with his performance and goal. Kardec has replaced the out-of-form Borges over recent weeks and will have staked his claim for a permanent starting place following his well taken finish and calmly-converted penalty against Velez. Following a fluid-passing move involving Elano and Neymar, the ball deflected in front of the 23-year-old loanee and he skillfully curled the ball into the far corner with his left foot to delight the Peixe faithful.
Following their 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory over Velez, the Sao Paulo side will now face Corinthians in the semi-finals. Having been given a second chance to prove his worth in Brazil, Kardec will be looking to win the Copa Libertadores this year. As long as his strike partnership with Neymar continues to shine, he will have a very good chance of crowning his short stay in Brazil before he returns to Europe.
Paulinho, Corinthians: Scored a dramatic winning goal in the 88th minute against Vasco da Gama to put Corinthians into the semi-finals following a long and tense game.
Gino Peruzzi, Velez Sarsfield: Very impressive performance from the youngster. Kept Neymar quiet all game, forcing the Brazilian trickster to switch flanks from the left.