Sunday’s game caused quite a stir in advance, as it possibly would mark the return of Valdivia. However, El Mago, as expected, started on the bench; Palmeiras came on the pitch with Marcos; Maurício Ramos, Danilo and Fabrício; Márcio Araújo, Edinho, Marcos Assunção, Tinga, Rivaldo; Luan and Kleber.
Within 10 minutes, Palmeiras found its rhythm. With roughly 60% ball possession and frequent investments on the left flank with Luan and Rivaldo, pressure on Guarani was applied, generating many corners of which unfortunately none resulted in a goal. The best opportunity during the initial 20 minutes was a point-blank shot by Rivaldo, caressing the crossbar.
Halfway through the first half, Palmeiras’ superiority had vanished. The game continued levelled until the ref blew the whistle.
Second half, and Scolari opted for Valdivia on Fabrício. Then, Kleber felt discomfort in one of his thighs and was replaced by Ewerthon. And at 20 minutes, Patrick replaced Luan. Thus, 25 minutes to pace the game up. Well, at least in theory; with 20 minutes left, Marcos Assunção was booked for the second time and hit the showers early. The remainder of the game saw Palmeiras mainly defending the one point, with Maurício Ramos clearing a sure goal for Guarani in the finishing moments. All in all, a rather disappointing game, especially considering Thursday’s splendid performance.
Palmeiras finishes the 15th round of the Brazilian Championship parked in 12th position, only four points behind Ceará, the tail of the front four. Palmeiras’ coming game is against Atlético-GO on Thursday 26th, the date of Palmeiras’ 96th birthday. I can think of a very suitable present… How about three points?