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Posts Tagged ‘araújo’

With Sunday’s results Palmeiras dropped to third position in the Paulista championship and lost the opportunity to equal the record 1997/1998 streak of 23 consecutive games of invincibility. Defeat in a derby, and especially against Corinthians, is extremely frustrating. Still, Palmeiras did play well for most of the game and didn’t really deserve to leave the stadium empty handed. While the Verdão opened up the scorecard with Assunção and had several clear chances (Barcos, Henrique and Valdivia) Corinthians’ goals were mishaps, especially the first one where the ball bounced off Araújo within minutes of the second half. In the mental blackout that followed Palmeiras conceded the second: an own goal by same Araújo (he had little choice as a Corinthians player was right beside him and would have scored had he not at least tried to clear the ball – keeper Deola is actually the man to blame as ideally he should have cleared the cross). In the end it was a good game, tense, full on. There are complains coming from our corner in regard to the referee, but I see no reason. In my opinion, he got most things right. Judge for yourself by the highlights below (the peculiar names on the player’s jerseys are in homage to Brazil’s most famous comedian and palmeirense Chico Anysio who died on Friday at the age of 80).
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Palmeiras will now have to refocus on the last four rounds and on recovering top position before the elimination rounds. We’re only two points behind leader São Paulo and runner-up Corinthians.

Two important outstanding issues were solved this weekend, leaving plenty of room for optimism: centre-back sheriff Henrique will in the next few days sign a five-year contract with Palmeiras, confirming the transfer of his economic rights from Barcelona to the Verdão. Also, midfielder Wesley will be officially announced on Tuesday afternoon and is ready for play as of Wednesday. More details on these two closures in following posts.

AVANTI PALESTRA!

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Yesterday’s game rendered Palmeiras’ seventh straight win at the Canindé stadium. It has been a total of 17 goals scored and not a single one suffered. In part the not too strong opponents are to blame, but that’s only part of the explanation; the smaller pitch and the closeness to the crowds seem to suit the Verdão, who regained third position on the tables, closely trailing Corinthians and São Paulo.

With the turbulence surrounding Kleber (not playing because of a muscle injury but watching the game from the VIP cabin) and last Sunday’s loss against Ceará, the question was how the team was going to react in a game that marked Márcio Araújo’s 100th and Maikon Leite’s first appearance in the Palmeiras jersey. Questions were soon answered as the two put on quite the show. Palmeiras was in control from beginning to end and the first goal came after a precise pass from Araújo that found Maikon in the penalty area; with a rapid and low shot he drove the ball firmly into the back of the net to the roar of approval from the stands. What a premiere!

Shortly after, Gabriel Silva was taken down in the penalty area. Marcos Assunção, with a bit of luck, converted. We went to halftime with 2-0. The rest of the game was more or less Palmeiras controlling the action and investing in a few attacks every now and then. The players were clearly enjoying themselves and Maikon Leite looked both confident and comfortable on the pitch. Marcos had to step in two or three times during the entire game, and only one last minute shot actually put him to the test, forcing him to tip the ball into the crossbar. Watch the highlights below.

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The only controversy (and mustn’t there always be at least one; after all, this is Palmeiras) was in regard to Kleber’s total lack of reaction when Palmeiras scored the first goal. There was a camera on him at the moment when Maikon made the Canindé explode. Kleber didn’t even raise an eyebrow. Clearly, something’s bothering him and I do nothing but hope that it’s fixed as soon as possible; just give the man the raise he deserves and put an end to any talk about him transferring to Flamengo or God knows where.

Below, a little treat for you: my piglet “doing a Kleber”. Enjoy!

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In a game where a draw takes the decision to penalties, a 2-1 win is obviously a bit risky. Still, Palmeiras had full control most of the time and were vastly superior to Mirassol. If Luan had gotten just a couple more of his many chances on target, the final score would have been more elastic. Poor Luan got on the supporters’ nerves in the end, but Scolari is as firm as ever in his evaluation of the player: “Technically, he’s brilliant in relation to what he’s being asked to do. Obviously, we also ask for goals, but he misses just like the others can miss. There’s no other player that works for the team in the way that Luan does. Any unhappy supporter will remain unhappy, because he’s staying”, he said shortly after yesterday’s game.

And you know what? I believe in Scolari and his masterful ability to pick his men, invest in them, back them up – for months and months if needed – against the fury of the supporters, only to see them grow, mature, refine and execute the way he’s always intended them to. It’s beautiful. Very few coaches have that ability in addition to the prestige needed to sustain their convictions. Yesterday, watching Márcio Araújo on the pitch, simply gave me the goose bumps. Only losing out to Rivaldo in terms of being mocked by supporters, the midfielder has slowly acquired the acceptance of the crowds. In the last few weeks especially, Araújo has added personality to his important tactical functions, taking more chances and trying a few more offensive moves. Yesterday, he was one of the best on the pitch – up there with Valdiva (who scored a FANTASTIC goal) and Kleber (his normal fighting self and directly involved in Palmeiras’ two goals). Fast and precise, Araújo executed his defensive task while also driving and distributing the ball up the  pitch. Several of these attempts didn’t result in goals due to mere details, but that would change in the 11th minute of the second half, when Araújo nailed a shot from far away, giving Palmeiras the victory and the ticket to the semi-finals of the Paulista Championship. Highlights below!

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The semi-final takes place on Sunday 1 May at 4 pm. Opponent: Corinthians. Place: most likely the Pacaembu stadium. Just the one game. All or nothing. A full week to prepare for the most exciting of all derbies in Brazilian football. Avanti Palestra!

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