União Barbarense currently find themselves in the relegation zone of the Campeonato Paulista first phase, and have apparently resorted to using underhand tactics to gain an advantage.
The Sao Paolo side defeated tenth-place rivals Linense 3-2 on the road on Thursday, but in the second half they fielded two players wearing the same shirt number in a ruse intended to confuse their opponents.
Midfielder Britto wore the number seven shirt in the first half of the game, but emerged in the second 45 wearing number five, the same as defender Rafael Silva. After 26 minutes of the half, the referee noticed the naughty number game and issued a yellow card along with an order to change the shirt. Reuters reports:
"They were on the attack and we used all the tricks we could to keep them at bay," Britto, who finished the match wearing number 17, told the Sportv cable channel after Barbarense's 3-2 win. "It was a strategy and it worked."
Britto seems to be confusing the concept of a "strategy" with that of "outright deliberate cheating", but in the very least the plan deserves some credit for originality. And finishing the match in a different shirt number altogether shows impressive dedication to soccer jersey mind games.