More than 30.000 supporters at the Pacaembu stadium, singing from beginning to end. Of course Palmeiras could have lost the game: at the end of the first half we still had 0-0 when Bruno made a crucial save on one of Sport’s very few opportunities to score. Had the team from Recife opened up the scorecard then and there, who knows what abyss could have opened up to swallow us whole.
Instead, Palmeiras came back even stronger in the second half, maintaining possession and superior control. It was indeed attack versus defence, as in the first half, but this time – and with Correa shifted by Scolari to a more central position – the goal came in the only natural way when spaces are scarce: a shot from outside. With a little help from the Sport keeper, the large mass of palmeirenses were allowed to release the roar of commemoration.
Instead of keeping the pressure, Palmeiras dropped back a little, allowing Sport to recompose. If Palmeiras’ goal came as the natural , the equalizer came in the most unlikely fashion: from a distance, former Palmeiras player Rivaldo released a missile – and with his “wrong” foot – that left Bruno helpless. Never before nor ever again will Rivaldo do anything similar.
Palmeiras replied within minutes, with Luan providing a marvellous assistance to man of the match Tiago Real, who took the time to adjust the ball before calmly driving it hard into the back of the net. Obina closed the bill a few minutes later. You don’t want to miss the highlights (below).
Our warriors: Bruno; Correa, Maurício Ramos, Thiago Heleno and Juninho; João Vitor (Artur – half time), Henrique, Valdivia and Tiago Real (Márcio Araújo – 40′ 2nd H); Luan (Maikon Leite – 19′ 2nd H) and Obina.
The equation seems simple enough: home games in the capital of São Paulo and with reduced ticket prices draw the masses to the game, where the cheering crowds drive the squad forward and contribute to the positive result. Bonus: the club’s cash box receives a considerable boost (tickets came at half price but the attendance was four times the average. Palmeiras’ directors have already signalled they will keep the formula. As we say in Sweden “sent ska syndaren vakna” (late shall the sinner wake up).
The victory is to be celebrated but we, and especially the players, must remember that nothing is won: Palmeiras are still in the relegation zone and very tough opponents lie ahead: second placed Atlético Mineiro and fourth placed Vasco da Gama. Both are away games. Call me nuts but I’ve got a good feeling.