Palmeiras yesterday faced a heavily crippled Avaí, but the team from Florianopolis wasn’t intended on letting go of the three points easily. The initial 20 minutes saw both teams creating opportunities, and at half time the score board showed 1-1 after a beautiful header by Valdivia and an irregular own goal by Edinho (irregular, as the Avaí striker interfering was in the offside position).
In the second half, Palmeiras showed superiority. With Valdivia as the main protagonist, he took the Verdão to the lead after a rare long range strike. Then Rivaldo – for a change playing rather well – suffered the penalty that, eventually, rendered 3-1 (by Kléber) and the sending off of the Avaí goalkepper. The final score was set by left winger Gabriel Silva after another precise effort from far out, leaving the substitute Avaí keeper hanging in the air for no use. Watch the highlights below.
Palmeiras is clearly improving, sporting three wins and a draw in the last four rounds. Sunday’s game against Botafogo should prove interesting. And although one should be realistic – just as Felipão is by clearly prioritising the South America Cup – I can’t help but feel a tiny tangle of excitement when looking at the tables: If Santos and Atlético Paranaense draw on Saturday, while Vasco on Sunday beats Grêmio, Atlético Mineiro beats Inter and Palmeiras beats Botafogo… Well, in that case, Palmeiras rests in 4th position with nine rounds left of the championship. Difficult? Yes. Impossible. Not at all!