It’s not that Palmeiras transit between heaven and hell in a matter of days, but Wednesday’s performance against Botafogo/SP was a welcome indicator that things not always are what they seem to be. The apathy and creative shortcomings witnessed in the last rounds were gone, as coach Kleina – clearly sensing the need to (at least temporarily) muzzle growing criticism – switched gear: Leo Gaga and irreverent Leandro, none of which can play the Libertadores for Palmeiras due to already having defended Grêmio in that same tournament this season, were in the starting eleven. With Wesley commanding the midfield and Juninho bringing offensiveness back on the left flank, Palmeiras were transformed: the attitude was that of superiority and confidence, of relentlessly charging. The early goal in the first half conspired, as did the second early in the second half. Palmeiras did not hit the brakes and Kleina’s substitutions certainly weren’t defensive. All in all a motivating and pleasant game, taking Palmeiras to fourth position in the tables of the Paulistão and giving supporters a glimpse of possibilities ahead.
Halfway through first half, Palmeiras lost Henrique and Kleber due to injury. Didn’t look too serious, but yesterday’s medical exams concluded both could be out for as long as two weeks. Losing the captain is of course a concern. Kleber’s injury is also very unfortunate: these coming weeks were meant for him to finally get at ease and start scoring.
On Sunday Palmeiras face a Neymar-less Santos. A classico is always a classico: it’ll be interesting to see if Kleina will prioritise the quest for three points and continued/increased harmony with supporters, or if the need to find a working formula for upcoming Libertadores games takes the upper hand. In a perfect world, one wouldn’t exclude the other.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!