Playing Cruzeiro has never been easy and away games against traditional teams are always tricky. With nine players still in the medical department, Scolari is short on options. Against the mineiros perhaps he could have tested out a batch of younger players but he chose instead to pull back Henrique to the centre-back position leaving Wellington on the bench. Thus, Palmeiras came with Bruno; Artur, Leandro Amaro, Henrique and Fernandinho; Márcio Araújo, João Vítor, Patrik (Obina) and Daniel Carvalho (Maikon Leite); Mazinho and Barcos (Betinho).
The first half was one of the worst I’ve seen this season in terms of quality. None of the teams connected, but Cruzeiro at least created a few opportunities to open up the scorecard. In the end, it was necessary for the referee to step in: João Vítor might have committed the foul (open to interpretation as it was shoulder to shoulder) but it definitely took place outside the penalty area (left part of the picture below, courtesy of Pró-Palmeiras). The referee thought differently and Borges converted the penalty.
The referees made another crucial mistake early in the second half, when a pass from Cruzeiro midfielder Tinga reached a teammate clearly offside (right frame in picture above; observe player at the top of the image), resulting in the second goal. Scandalous. And, as we’ve gotten used to, always against Palmeiras.
At this point Scolari threw all caution out the window and we saw Palmeiras in a 4-2-4 formation, pushing hard for the equalizer. Maikon Leite was taken down inside the penalty area and Barcos converted. In the final minutes, the equaliser, correctly called off due to Artur being slightly offside. And that was it. Palmeiras lost again and are currently to be found in 18th place with 10 points after 13 games, three points behind first team out of the relegation zone Santos.
On Sunday Palmeiras did not only lose the game but also right-winger Cicinho, who packed his bags for Sevilla/SPA. Sold for roughly €2 million, of which half belongs to Palmeiras, Cicinho himself seems to be looking forward to the opportunity. With 86 games in the Palmeiras jersey and two goals scored, Cicinho now leaves the position open to Artur. Artur’s immediate replacement will most likely be Luiz Gustavo from the youth academy and João Vítor/Márcio Araújo in case of emergency.
The profit from the selling of Cicinho has apparently already a destination: the definite purchase of striker Mazinho and abovementioned right-winger Artur.
On Wednesday Palmeiras make their debut in the South America Cup against Botafogo. In the Brazilian Championship, there’s a “home” game against Internacional this coming Saturday before a run of three games against cariocas: Botafogo, Fluminense and Flamengo. And with the South America Cup return game in-between. Mamma mia.