Close to 30.000 supporters saw Palmeiras dominate coach Kleina’s former club Ponte Preta from start to finish. Within 15 minutes Barcos had scored twice: first showing incredible killer instinct not hesitating to shoot even after the ball slammed into his face, secondly when minutes later receiving a cross from Maikon Leite and easing the ball behind the beaten keeper.
If Palmeiras against Figueirense was all attitude, against Ponte Preta coach Kleina’s touch is perceived for the first time, most notable in the pressure applied high up on the pitch, serving both as a first line of defence but also as an important offensive weapon: Palmeiras’ second goal is the perfect example, with Leite stealing the ball and serving Barcos. The third goal of the night was signed Marcos Assunção.
Our men in green were Bruno; Artur, Maurício Ramos, Thiago Heleno and Juninho; Henrique, Marcos Assunção (João Denoni – 37’/2nd H), Márcio Araújo and Valdivia (Daniel Carvalho – 30’/2nd H); Maikon Leite (Mazinho – 28’/2nd H) and Barcos. The Argentine striker was the man of the match but others deserve mentioning for their solid performances, especially Assunção, Thiago Heleno, Bruno and Valdivia. The highlights below are joyful not only due to the team’s performance but also for the energetic response from the crowds on the stands.
On Tuesday, Palmeiras receive Millonarios from Colombia. Maikon Leite, Valdivia and Assunção are likely non-starters, as these are still in recovery from injuries. Although Kleina by no means consider the South America Cup to be unimportant, he obviously must consider the classico against São Paulo next Saturday, sparing key players. Unfortunately, Leite is out either way, as he received his third booking against Ponte Preta.
At the closure of the 27th round of the championship, Palmeiras rest in 18th place, three points behind Coritiba in 16th.