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In a soccer-loving country like Brazil, this is easily understood. There are other Portuguese speaking countries, however, (perhaps Mozambique or East Timor) where a listener might fail to understand such a figure of speech, as in the following sentences:

  • "Ele quer mudar o regulamento aos quarenta e cinco minutos do segundo tempo. Isso não pode."

  • "Consegui, mas cheguei ao Banco aos quarenta e cinco do segundo tempo. Mal entrei, o vigilante fechou as portas.

  • "Consegui incluir o teu nome na lista aos quarenta e cinco do segundo tempo".

In pt-BR it means "nos últimos minutos", "poucos minutos/segundos antes do encerramento.

I'm looking for a figure of speech, a fixed-phrase idiom, meaning the same thing and which can be understood by any speaker of the Portuguese Language.

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  • na última hora, no último momento, no último instante – André Lyra Jun 10 '16 at 17:48
  • @AndréLyra Those are not idioms. – Centaurus Jun 11 '16 at 0:03
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There are several possibilities; these are just a few. Valid in Portugal, depending on the degree of vernacular knowledge of the language. All informal, but all polite.

If you just want to say that it happened at the last moment:

  • “Em cima do apito final”, or “em cima do acontecimento”

If there’s an implied criticism that the person was late in finding (or looking for) a solution:

  • “À última hora”, or “à última da hora”

If the person was unable to find a solution because of their tardiness:

  • “Ir para a Feira dos Treze a dia 14” (which alludes to a monthly fair always on the 13th, to which the person tried going on the 14th after the fair was over)

If you’re talking about sports and want to say that the result was decided in the last of a variable number of rounds:

  • “Ir à negra” (e.g. «—Como ficou o ténis? —O Manuel Sousa ganhou ao Markovitch, mas foi à negra! Ficou 7–6 em sets.»)
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    à negra nunca ouvi. Foi por uma unha negra ou foi à justa. – Artefacto Jun 11 '16 at 12:32
  • @Artefacto it could be something like "bola negra", the last point/ball that will give the victory to whichever team first scores it. – ANeves thinks SE is evil Jun 11 '16 at 17:58
  • @Artefacto é comum em Portugal quando há desportos (futsal, andebol, ténis, etc) que se jogam em 5 partidas, por exemplo, e que se ficar 2-2 em partidas diz-se que se vai jogar a negra para decidir o campeão, é o quinto jogo. – Jorge B. Jun 13 '16 at 0:02
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    Em cima da hora would be the most used alternative in Brazil. Looks like it's different in Portugal. – bfavaretto Jun 15 '16 at 22:23

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