Another disappointing draw, this time aggravated by the fact that Palmeiras played the entirely second half with one man more on the pitch. The Verdão seemed to control the game most of the time and the goals came naturally, but lack of attention resulted in Atlético, penultimate in the tables, being able to come back twice to equal the score and leave Palmeiras at a modest 7th position. Game highlights below.
It’s early to throw in the towel. With 16 rounds to go, Palmeiras will be seven or nine points behind the leader, depending on the result of today’s bout between Corinthians and Flamengo. Remember: two seasons ago and with five-six rounds to go, Palmeiras was way ahead of competition and going straight for the Championship title with Muricy at the steering wheel. Then, the team fell apart in a spectacular way and was even unable to secure the last spot for the following year’s edition of the Libertadores Cup. It’s a cliché, but yes, anything can happen in football.
Even with Palmeiras suffering few goals, they mostly happen in the same way: aerial balls after corners or free kicks. Scolari’s frustration is understandable but unfortunate. I don’t approve of his statements post-game, claiming to have done everything he can during the last year and that this is the first time he is unable to change what players are doing wrong. He also stated that he wishes for the more experienced players to take responsibility and pass instructions/guidance to the less experienced. Scolari’s statement could very well result in nothing, but could also create (or enlarge) a rift between him and the squad. Right now, the latter seems to be the case as Kleber, Thiago Heleno and Assunção all made comments that in certain ways go in the opposite direction of Scolari’s.
My take on the whole thing: Scolari earns more than US$ 400.000 a month. I don’t want to hear his complaints, I want him to fix the problem.
— ooo —
There are more icebergs on the horizon. Pre-game rumours placed Valdivia at a club in Qatar, the transfer sum being US$ 9 million. Apparently, Palmeiras directors were only waiting for the formal proposal to sign the agreement. Even Scolari seemed at ease with letting Valdivia go (or so one could conclude reading between the lines). But Valdivia yesterday night had a chat with Palmeiras president Tirone and the offer, in case there ever really was one, was turned down both by Palmeiras and by Valdivia.
Jorge Valdivia is a very talented player. He’s also smart and well articulated in addition to being a joker and a trickster, a malandro if you’d like; one of those guys that you love to have on your team but would loath if he played for the other side. Valdivia has certainly bonded with Palmeiras and the supporters, but probably equally important with the city of São Paulo and all what the metropolis has to offer in terms of wining, dining and more hands-on pleasures. El Mago has been injured five times since he came back to Palmeiras about a year ago. Seems rather hard focusing on rehab when there’s so much other fun stuff to do…
Valdivia says he wants to stay at Palmeiras. Heck, why wouldn’t he? The question is: are Palmeiras getting their money’s worth? Currently, no way in hell. I’d say more and more people are starting to feel the same. Unless our little trickster gets his act together and starts showing some consistent quality football, he might be out the door faster that he can say “Al-Sadd”.
— ooo —
On Sunday, Palmeiras receive International of Porto Alegre. The gaucho team is breathing down Palmeiras’ neck in the tables. Please, no more draws; better die trying.