As the Palmeiras supporter is bipolar, is it totally wrong to expect something similar of the team? Yesterday against São Bernardo, the first half was indeed very good; Valdivia, Patrik, Adriano and Vinícius were constantly changing it up, confusing the opponent with their speed and quirky movements. Valdivia, inspired once again, on several occasions put his companions in position to score. But it was a set piece – with Marcos Assunção crossing the ball onto Danilo’s forehead 22 minutes into the game – that opened the scorecard. It didn’t take long for Patrik to add one more to the score, and the crowd in the stands were applauding the team like we haven’t seen in quite some time. Too bad it didn’t last long. Just before halftime, Valdivia felt muscular pains (that darn thigh again?) and Felipão decided to play it safe, substituting El Mago for Tinga.
And that’s when everything just went… dead. All creativity went with Valdivia. The second half was painful to watch, with Palmeiras doing absolutely nothing except maintaining the status quo. The cheering crowd rapidly turned into a silent one, then a mocking and – at the end – even a booing one. That didn’t bother Scolari, who kept his cool and even reinforced his defensive approach for the night by substituting attackers Adriano and Vinícius for defensive midfielders João Vitor and Chico. With Deola putting on a splendid performance (as we’ve now started to expect from him), the 2-0 was maintained as the referee blew the whistle. Like it or not, three points in the bag. And again, the confirmation that Palmeiras is very limited without Kleber and (especially) Valdivia on the pitch. Watch the highlights below.
Yesterday, Palmeiras came with four home bred players in the starting eleven: Deola, Gabriel Silva, Vinícius and Patrik. Palmeiras’ ability to bring up world class goalkeepers is unquestionable and Deola follows in that tradition. Now, the other three young chaps… It’s great to see new blood not only getting a few minutes of live action but actually carry the responsibility from start, in addition to getting the job done. We’re not spoiled with that. Why, we’ll examine closer in this blog’s next post.