Vitória 1-1 Palmeiras
Palmeiras is showing increasing stability: the team normally suffers an early goal and then spends the rest of the game chasing the equaliser. If the game does not end in a draw, chances are good that Palmeiras leaves the pitch empty handed. Predictable. Stable, if you want.
Yesterday, in Salvador, proved to be yet a frustrating experience in the spirit of the above. With limited players and in addition apparently ALL suffering from some unexplainable curse, “the flow” simply wasn’t there. Scolari choose a 4-4-2 with Deola; Danilo, Edinho and Maurício Ramos; Márcio Araújo, Pierre (Tadeu), Marcos Assunção, Tinga and Rivaldo (Vitor); Luan (Valdivia) and Kleber. Valdivia started on the bench: a clear “who’s boss” reminder from Felipão after last week’s little fuzz created by the Chilean when taken off the pitch in mid second half.
Throughout the game, the high number of unforced errors and incomplete passes and the lack of dedication – only exemptions being Kleber, Rivaldo and Valdivia, the latter entering the pitch after half time – all contributed to the poor performance. Neither team deserved to win; Vitória played quite badly also (watch game “highlights” below). In fact, Vitórias’ overall performance these last couple of weeks today rendered the dismissal of coach Toninho Cecílio.
Scolari was not at all happy after the game, complaining about “childish” mistakes that led to Vitória’s goal and players’ overall lack of dedication. “We will need to work hard, but also adopt some measures”, he stated.
There’s recently been a lot of talk about Scolari now needing to turn his attention to the South America Cup, understanding that there’s not much hope left (i.e. for finish in the top four) in the Brazilian Championship. This line of reasoning I simply do not understand. Is there any realism in expecting Palmeiras to suddenly play much better football against stiffer competition, just because there’s a change as in a league for a cup? I wouldn’t think so. Scolari needs to get these men playing as a team as fast as possible. If results start showing in the Brazilian League, Palmeiras might stand a chance to advance in the South America Cup. If results don’t start showing in the League, I’m afraid we’ll face a rapid and unpleasant fall early in the SA Cup as well.
Sunday’s game is against Vasco, currently no. 9 in the tables and with the possibility of climbing an additional two if today beating Atlético-MG.