It’s a battle over 180 minutes, with the first 90 happening today. Palmeiras’ supporters are understanding what’s at stake and are completely mobilised, both physically and virtually. Tickets are obviously sold out and when players arrive at the Barueri arena they will be greeted by “The Green Corridor”: supporters in uniform carrying flags, firecrackers and green signal torches will make way for the bus to pass right between them. It will be powerful and beautiful, a display of greatness to further boost determination of the squad. Within the limits of possible, the Barueri stadium will be transformed into the Palestra Italia, if just for a few hours. Coritiba will feel the white heat.
Bruno – standing tall between our goalposts tonight – arrived at Palmeiras exactly 15 years back, on 5 July 1997, at the age of 13. No better moment to shine than tonight.
Get ready to fill your lungs with air as the spectacle begins; may we all release that roar of ecstasy tonight, again and again.
EDIT (13:40) – Centre-forward Barcos is out of the finals: the Argentine woke up this morning with severe abdominal pains due to appendicitis. A surgery has been scheduled for 2pm today at the São Luiz hospital in São Paulo. Of course a major blow to Palmeiras’ offensive quality, but such is life.
Barcos: get well soon. Rest of the squad: your glory will be even greater. Avanti!