Scolari knows his men like no other

In a game where a draw takes the decision to penalties, a 2-1 win is obviously a bit risky. Still, Palmeiras had full control most of the time and were vastly superior to Mirassol. If Luan had gotten just a couple more of his many chances on target, the final score would have been more elastic. Poor Luan got on the supporters’ nerves in the end, but Scolari is as firm as ever in his evaluation of the player: “Technically, he’s brilliant in relation to what he’s being asked to do. Obviously, we also ask for goals, but he misses just like the others can miss. There’s no other player that works for the team in the way that Luan does. Any unhappy supporter will remain unhappy, because he’s staying”, he said shortly after yesterday’s game.

And you know what? I believe in Scolari and his masterful ability to pick his men, invest in them, back them up – for months and months if needed – against the fury of the supporters, only to see them grow, mature, refine and execute the way he’s always intended them to. It’s beautiful. Very few coaches have that ability in addition to the prestige needed to sustain their convictions. Yesterday, watching Márcio Araújo on the pitch, simply gave me the goose bumps. Only losing out to Rivaldo in terms of being mocked by supporters, the midfielder has slowly acquired the acceptance of the crowds. In the last few weeks especially, Araújo has added personality to his important tactical functions, taking more chances and trying a few more offensive moves. Yesterday, he was one of the best on the pitch – up there with Valdiva (who scored a FANTASTIC goal) and Kleber (his normal fighting self and directly involved in Palmeiras’ two goals). Fast and precise, Araújo executed his defensive task while also driving and distributing the ball up the  pitch. Several of these attempts didn’t result in goals due to mere details, but that would change in the 11th minute of the second half, when Araújo nailed a shot from far away, giving Palmeiras the victory and the ticket to the semi-finals of the Paulista Championship. Highlights below!

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The semi-final takes place on Sunday 1 May at 4 pm. Opponent: Corinthians. Place: most likely the Pacaembu stadium. Just the one game. All or nothing. A full week to prepare for the most exciting of all derbies in Brazilian football. Avanti Palestra!

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8 Comments

  1. Fully agree Mr. Bengston !
    Scollari has his own way to motivate and put players up, and extract the most from them, like no other coach in the world.

    1. He’s unique, our very own “bigodon”. ; )

      But we mustn’t forget that competition will get really fierce as of know. We could be heading fo the title or we could hit landmines in the shape of Corinthians and Coritiba… But I truly believe that we are in better conditions than any other Brazilian team at the moment!

      Cheers!

  2. Just to remember… today is April 26, the goalkeeper day! Congrats to our goalkeepers, who are the best in this country. People talk about Cenibambi (that’s a funny rhyme to say haha) specially because he scores a lot, but as far as know, goalkeepers should keep the goal safe. Besides, he’s not a saint. Just the big green has a saint!

    Avanti Palestra!

  3. Another great read. Sunday is for all the marbles. Palmeiras player a very solid game Sunday, better than Corinthians player who in my opinion played down to the competition. I don’t see this train stopping now. Mancha brothers!

  4. I’m quite concerned by the high number of scoring opportunities missed by Palmeiras in just about every game this season… This is going to bite us back – badly – pretty soon.

    In fact, it already has: in the match against Corinthians for the Paulistao Palmeiras had about 11 good opportunities to score, but failed at them all and ended by losing the game by 0 x 1… Had Palmeiras scored at half of the chances in the match agains Mirassol the score would have been much wider. Considering the next stages of the Paulistao and Copa do Brasil, such low scoring efficiency may prove to be fatal. One can only hope that Wellington Paulista will start playing soon…

    1. Sal, you’re right. And that’s why Felipão has been repeatedly requested a true #9. Wellington has arrived, but can only play in the Brazilian Cup (and – of course – in the League when it kicks off in mid May). But I believe (and hope) that Felipão is training hard with the boys. Few of them are born killers in front of the goal (like Kleber); even Valdivia wasn’t much of a finilizer but has improved a lot. Let’s hope that Luan follows suit. And we should improve with Patrick back in the team after injury. Now, my real question is: what has happened to Adriano? He’s running around like always, but has dried up completely, no goals in a loooong time. Worrying!

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