With Sunday’s results Palmeiras dropped to third position in the Paulista championship and lost the opportunity to equal the record 1997/1998 streak of 23 consecutive games of invincibility. Defeat in a derby, and especially against Corinthians, is extremely frustrating. Still, Palmeiras did play well for most of the game and didn’t really deserve to leave the stadium empty handed. While the Verdão opened up the scorecard with Assunção and had several clear chances (Barcos, Henrique and Valdivia) Corinthians’ goals were mishaps, especially the first one where the ball bounced off Araújo within minutes of the second half. In the mental blackout that followed Palmeiras conceded the second: an own goal by same Araújo (he had little choice as a Corinthians player was right beside him and would have scored had he not at least tried to clear the ball – keeper Deola is actually the man to blame as ideally he should have cleared the cross). In the end it was a good game, tense, full on. There are complains coming from our corner in regard to the referee, but I see no reason. In my opinion, he got most things right. Judge for yourself by the highlights below (the peculiar names on the player’s jerseys are in homage to Brazil’s most famous comedian and palmeirense Chico Anysio who died on Friday at the age of 80).
Palmeiras will now have to refocus on the last four rounds and on recovering top position before the elimination rounds. We’re only two points behind leader São Paulo and runner-up Corinthians.
Two important outstanding issues were solved this weekend, leaving plenty of room for optimism: centre-back sheriff Henrique will in the next few days sign a five-year contract with Palmeiras, confirming the transfer of his economic rights from Barcelona to the Verdão. Also, midfielder Wesley will be officially announced on Tuesday afternoon and is ready for play as of Wednesday. More details on these two closures in following posts.