Without any games midweek, there was expectation that Scolari would get the team right ahead of today’s clash with Avaí in Florianópolis. Then Cicinho sprained his ankle during practice, forcing Scolari to rethink his right flank (Cicinho will be out for the coming 3-4 weeks). And when the tide runs against you…
Within 6 minutes, Palmeiras was one behind due to a own goal by Henrique. Within 25 minutes, Palmeiras was behind also in number of players, as Rivaldo received his second booking. Not that he didn’t deserved the two cards, but it’s nevertheless worth noticing that the only two penalties committed by Palmeiras in the whole of the second half resulted in Rivaldo being expelled. Avaí had already committed what, 15 penalties? Hang on, it gets worse. But first, the equalizer:
With five minutes to go in the second half, Assunção’s cross found Chico, who just slightly touched the ball into the far corner of the net. 1-1 and halftime.
Within minutes of the second half, Palmeiras’ third penalty rendered Gerley, who had come on instead of Fernandão when Rivaldo was taken off the pitch, a red card. Can’t really complain about that either, Gerley’s violent studs-up approach was a no brainer for the referee. And with two less on the pitch, things were looking grim for the Verdão.
The referee possibly saw the absurdity in the situation and arranged a way to level the odds slightly by giving Avaí player Rafael Coelho a red card. Well deserved? Not at all considering Rafael’s individual effort, but absolutely if considering the collective effort Avaí was putting on.
With more space on the pitch, the game opened up considerably in the last 15-20 minutes, with both teams creating chances but proving unable to score. Palmeiras’ players at least fought hard. In the end, 1-1 seemed a rather fair result in a very poorly played match. That’s right, you’re not getting any “highlights” tonight. Sleep tight.