Unable to watch Saturday’s game live due to the presence of dinner guest, I taped it and remained unaware of the score, treating myself to the action this morning. The hangover was cured in record time as Palmeiras opened up the scorecard with Juninho after two minutes and nine minutes later extended the lead through a clever and masterfully executed free kick by Assunção. The Verdão were a joy to watch and Felipão surprised absolutely everybody by doing exactly the opposite to what he had been preaching all week: using both Valdivia and Daniel Carvalho from start. We now know the scheme works and that it gives Scolari one more tactical option.
Comparing Palmeiras of today with the 2010/2011 edition, one striking difference is the team’s performance during the initial 15-20 minutes of the games. Supporters were used to Palmeiras dominating but struggling to find a goal, then suffer a goal before fighting back and secure a draw – or sometimes even a win – in the last 10-15 minutes. Today, Palmeiras start full throttle and are normally rewarded quite early for their effort. Yesterday was no different and Palmeiras had the game under control most of the time, even as Ponte Preta found the back of the net before half time. That’s 21 consecutive games without losing. Highlights below.
After today’s games, completing the 14th round out of the initial 19, Palmeiras sleep as top dog with 32 points followed by São Paulo and Corinthians (31), then Santos and Mogi Mirim (27). The coming Sunday we’re treated to THE derby as Palmeiras and Corinthians clash at the Pacaembu stadium. But before that, Coruripe will try to spoil our party in the Brazil Cup: a loss by two or more goals and the team from Alagoas are through to the next phase. Not a likely scenario one must admit, but Palmeiras would do wise treating the opponent respectfully and come pepped to the game on Wednesday.