Yesterday (Saturday), Palmeiras entered the pitch for the first time in the recently launched new 3rd jersey, in a game against Goiás for the 32nd round of the Brazilian Championship.
Without Valdivia (injured) and Marcos Assunção (suspended), the team came to depend on the playmaking skills of Lincoln and Tinga. With Palmeiras clearly superior in the first half, Tinga’s goal 21 minutes into the game came naturally. Also Lincoln seemed inspired; it’s actually curious how he grows when he doesn’t need to divide space with others, almost as he needs to feel the exclusive spotlights in order to kick into high gear.
Second half, and Goiás came back much better, with an offensively positioned Jones replacing Bernardo on the midfield. Goiás created several chances, and Deola was put to the test. However, the Goiás offensive also opened up spaces for counter attacks, and it was one of those that resulted in Palmeiras’ second goal: Márcio Araújo received, quickly turned and with the left foot drew the ball perfectly into the goalie’s far corner.
With only ten minutes left of the game, things should have been settled. However, we were about to see three more goals: Goiás scoring at the 38 minutes mark, Dinei making it 3-1 with a great header after a cross from Luan munits later, and Goiás scoring again with only moments left of the game. Fortunately, there was time for little else, and the referee soon afterwards blew the whistle. Watch the highlights below.
Palmeiras plays again this coming Thursday, against Atlético Paranaense. The Verdão must do without Kléber (received his third yellow card against Goiás) and probably also Valdivia, who should still be recovering from a injury to his thigh and needs to be 100% before the return game against Atlético/MG on the 10th.
The three points don’t influence Palmeiras’ position – keeping the team parked in 10th place – but now only two points from fifth place and four points from fourth position, with another six rounds to go (watch tables below). Thus, Palmeiras have two realistic paths to next year’s Libertadores Cup: winning the South America Cup or finishing in the top four in the Brasileirão. It’s good having options.