Yesterday’s game rendered Palmeiras’ seventh straight win at the Canindé stadium. It has been a total of 17 goals scored and not a single one suffered. In part the not too strong opponents are to blame, but that’s only part of the explanation; the smaller pitch and the closeness to the crowds seem to suit the Verdão, who regained third position on the tables, closely trailing Corinthians and São Paulo.
With the turbulence surrounding Kleber (not playing because of a muscle injury but watching the game from the VIP cabin) and last Sunday’s loss against Ceará, the question was how the team was going to react in a game that marked Márcio Araújo’s 100th and Maikon Leite’s first appearance in the Palmeiras jersey. Questions were soon answered as the two put on quite the show. Palmeiras was in control from beginning to end and the first goal came after a precise pass from Araújo that found Maikon in the penalty area; with a rapid and low shot he drove the ball firmly into the back of the net to the roar of approval from the stands. What a premiere!
Shortly after, Gabriel Silva was taken down in the penalty area. Marcos Assunção, with a bit of luck, converted. We went to halftime with 2-0. The rest of the game was more or less Palmeiras controlling the action and investing in a few attacks every now and then. The players were clearly enjoying themselves and Maikon Leite looked both confident and comfortable on the pitch. Marcos had to step in two or three times during the entire game, and only one last minute shot actually put him to the test, forcing him to tip the ball into the crossbar. Watch the highlights below.
The only controversy (and mustn’t there always be at least one; after all, this is Palmeiras) was in regard to Kleber’s total lack of reaction when Palmeiras scored the first goal. There was a camera on him at the moment when Maikon made the Canindé explode. Kleber didn’t even raise an eyebrow. Clearly, something’s bothering him and I do nothing but hope that it’s fixed as soon as possible; just give the man the raise he deserves and put an end to any talk about him transferring to Flamengo or God knows where.
Below, a little treat for you: my piglet “doing a Kleber”. Enjoy!