América/MG 1-1 Palmeiras

With most expecting Palmeiras returning to São Paulo with three points, the Verdão put on what was possibly the least inspiring performance of the season so far. The line-up looked promising and offensive, with Luan, Lincoln, Marcos Assunção and Márcio Araújo forming the midfield to serve Maikon Leite and Wellington Paulista up front. Cicinho, Thiago Heleno, Maurício Ramos and an improvised Chico completed the starting eleven.

It didn’t work as expected. Palmeiras looked good the first ten minutes, and then all the spark was gone. Lincoln had one more of those dreadful nights. Does he really want to play football? It certainly doesn’t look like it. I prefer him out of the team. And mind you, this not even contemplating his salary – one of the highest in the squad.

With the creativity of the midfield gone, the ball never reached Maikon Leite and W. Paulista up front. América Mineiro didn’t create much either and the (very poor and/or biased) referee, lacking all the good sense to book América player after repeated challenges to our men, seemed happy just using his whistle every 30 seconds to interrupt the action. It was hardly a game but more of a tiresome battle for most of the first half.

The second half got off to a bad start: Thiago Helen went to have a word with the referee, alerting him to the many times he (Heleno) had been pushed around in the first half. And faster than you can say “jackass referee”, he was booked by the almighty. Heleno misses next match against Santos. Marvellous.

Both teams played more aggressively in the second half and suddenly spaces were available. América took the better advantage and opened the scorecard with 20 minutes. Mauricio Ramos equalised ten minutes later. In the end, the one point seemed fare for what was presented on the pitch by both teams. Highlights [sic] below.

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Palmeiras need to start winning when playing as visitor, especially against these smaller teams, the bottom dwellers. At 19 points, leader Corinthians has a 4 points advantage to fifth place Palmeiras, Corinthians being one game short.

For Palmeiras, two difficult games lie ahead: Santos on Sunday and Flamengo the Sunday after that. Not that the six points is a matter of life and death, but we need to do well in order not to let Corinthians increase the gap even further this early in the tournament.

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