It was with disbelief that I went for a sandwich at the halftime break between Palmeiras and Comercial/PI, second leg of the first round in the Copa do Brasil. I’ve said it before: Comercial’s entire monthly pay sheet doesn’t cover 10 per cent of the monthly wage of the best remunerated player at Palmeiras. The contrast is absurd, money wise; on the pitch, surprisingly and worryingly levelled. Although Palmeiras did own the game and created numerous chances, the Verdão were unable to convert these into goals. Comercial on the other hand actually scored a goal in the first half, but it was (very doubtfully) ruled offside.
The second half started intensively, much like the first. After only five minutes, Valdivia found Adriano “Michael Jackson” with a beautiful pass, but the striker was capped from behind when face to face with the keeper, rendering a red card for the Comercial defender and a penalty for Palmeiras, which Valdivia failed to net in a ludicrous way.
Only minutes later, another Comercial player received his second yellow card and was sent off. Obviously, this changed the picture completely. Palmeiras scored four times in 18 minutes. That in itself I wouldn’t consider anything to celebrate: it’s a damn duty against a limited team like Comercial, and further decimated to nine players. No, what made the night a bit special was that Adriano Michael Jackson scored all four of them. Comercial also netted once (quite the achievement, I’d say), before left winger Gabriel Silva closed the score at 38 minutes of the second half: 5-1. Watch the highlights below.
A couple of worries: 1) Palmeiras lost Kleber midway into the first half, when the striker felt his right thigh and himself ask for the substitution. Kleber’s possibly out for 2-3 weeks, I reckon. 2) As in the first game against Comercial, Palmeiras showed a certain lack of will and creativity. It’s amazing the clear chances of goal that are being wasted. Yesterday, Palmeiras had 38 attempts at scoring (Comercial had 4 attempts), and hadn’t it been for an inspired Adriano…
Which brings us to the main positive aspect of yesterday’s game: the young striker seems very much at ease and integrated into the team, bringing speed and quality to the attack. Again: Comercial is a brave but weak opponent – it was Palmeiras’ duty to leave the home crowd happy – but it’s not often that a player is allowed to score four times in a match. Well done, Adriano!
Palmeiras’ next opponent in the Brazilian Cup is Uberaba, from the state of Minas Gerais. But first, there are a couple of games in the Paulista – starting with Santo André, this Saturday, at the Pacaembu stadium.