In the last match of the group stage in the Copinha, Palmeiras beat Barueri 3-1 and advanced to the knockout phase together with 31 other teams. Tomorrow night, it’s do or die – as it obviously will be all the way to the finals – against Desportivo Brasil from the city of Porto Feliz in the interior of São Paulo. In case of a draw, penalty shootout.
So far, centre-back Luiz Gustavo has made the strongest impression on me.
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From tears to all smiles, Marcos Assunção signed a one-year contract with Santos at the end of last week, making the veteran midfielder the seventh player to arrive at Santos pre 2013 season. Assunção certainly accepted a smaller pay check than what he demanded from Palmeiras a week ago, but such is life. He gambled a bit, hoping that Palmeiras would reward him for previous achievements, but stepped on a mine. With Santos immediately being responsive, Assunção decided to “return home” after 14 years. It will certainly feel a bit strange eventually watching the charismatic player setting up the ball against our side.
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It’s no secret that coach Kleina’s biggest need right now is for more centre-backs, as only Henrique and Maurício Ramos are available. While awaiting the Torres negotiation to conclude, Kleina has promoted 21-year-old Marcos Vinícius from the second team. The kid is tall, 190 centimetres, and has frequently been in the second team line-up. If Marcos continues to cause a good impression, he might be sticking around at least for the São Paulo Championship that kicks off the 20th of this month.
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While the Palmeiras youth are busy with the Copinha, the first team have a couple of friendlies on their schedule. The first one took place yesterday – gates closed – against São Caetano and Palmeiras won 2-1 after penalties converted by Barcos and Maikon Leite. After the game, the São Caetano coach told reporters that the impression he had of Palmeiras was a tactically disciplined team with a solid defence and fast counter-attacks.
What the São Caetano coach thought of messieurs Tirone and Frizzo – also present at the game – we will never know. I prefer not voicing my opinion, for more than obvious reasons. Thank God the countdown for the ending of their turn is in the single digits.
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Palmeiras today received a call from Riquelme’s agent Daniel Bolotnicoff, but not with a yes or a no. The Argentine midfielder requests a (second) visit to Buenos Aires from a high-level Palmeiras representative to once again be assured that Palmeiras have serious intention both in regard to his own future and in forming a competitive squad for 2013. According to the agent, Riquelme “is inclined” to accept Palmeiras’ offer.
Tomorrow Tuesday we’ll know what step Palmeiras’ directors will take. Stay tuned on twitter (@anypalmeiras) for latest news and gossip.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!