As every remaining Palmeiras game in the South America Cup: yesterday’s was the most important game of the year. Goiás came in a 3-5-2, aiming at clogging up the midfield with many people and consistently ruff play. Thanks to the referee’s forgiving attitude, the plan worked out well in the first half; Palmeiras tried and tried, but Tinga, Kleber and Lincoln were constantly found laying on the ground. With the exception of a couple of dangerous free kicks and corner for Palmeiras, not much happened to threaten the equilibrium, also due to the fact that Lincoln seemed a bit off the mark. We went to half time with 0-0.
Second half begun, and both teams were on the pitch with the same lineup as in the first half. However, with three minutes of play, relief: Marcos Assunção received the ball, advanced a few steps diagonally to the right and then released the blow. A monstrous shot from very far driven straight up in the goalkeepers left corner.
The goal clearly put Goiás in a dilemma: pressure hard and risk suffering the second goal in a counter attack, or try to construct a better result with patience. Opting for the latter, the game continued in a stalemate on the midfield. In the last 20 minutes, Goiás had no option but to go for it, and indeed managed to put some pressure on the Verdão, creating a couple of opportunities to score. The best one by far was also the last thing that happened in the game: the ball was lifted into Palmeiras’ area, where it was headed by a Goiás player – the ball passing two of his teammates rushing to reach it before it died in Deola’s net. The referee, correctly, dismissed the goal on basis of the offside position of the two rushing strikers participating in the action. Watch the game highlights below.
The result was excellent for Palmeiras, now only needing a draw in the second leg next Wednesday in order to qualify for the finals.
There was a sad and unnecessary postlude to the good game: while giving a live interview for TV Bandeirantes, Scolari was hit in the head by a portable radio, thrown at him by some retarded Goiás supporter. You can watch the event as it was broadcasted live here.
— ooo —
Finally, and on a personal note: yesterday night was memorable not only for the good game. I’m currently on holidays in Sri Lanka, some 14.000 kilometres from Brasilia and on a 7,5 hours local time difference. The game was on at 5.30am, Sri Lankan time…
I had toyed with the idea of watching the game on www.palmeiraslive.com, but decided not to, as I was unsure about the quality of my internet connection and in any case didn’t want to ruin the following day by being too tired to enjoy all the new experiences this country has to offer.
The following, I swear to God, is true: I woke up from a dream, a dream in which I was standing somewhere singing Palmeiras’ anthem. Exactly upon waking up, I heard my wife’s voice: “Honey, what about the game, aren’t you going to try to watch it?”. I looked at my watch and it showed 5:30, exactly the time I had been considering waking up if I’d opted for watching the game. Detail: my wife, vascaina, had no alarm clock or the like, she just woke up spontaneously. Of course, I turned on the computer and was immediately able to get a great connection through Palmeiras Live. I watched the whole game in bed.
Conclusion: I know I have been blessed with a spectacular woman and with a spectacular love for my Palmeiras. Yesterday’s result, however important, was merely icing on the cake considering the above!