Palmeiras eliminated. For the close to 40.000 supporters at the crowded Pacaembu stadium and the millions watching at home, the end of a dream we knew was more than far-fetched. Now, it’s all about restructuring, closing sponsorship deals and aggressively hit the market: Palmeiras must secure the best pieces available as soon as those transfer windows open. We need a squad that will successfully conclude the two obligations that 2013 has in store: second division and the Brazil Cup. With that, next year Palmeiras commemorate their 100th anniversary in the top division and playing the Libertadores Cup. Anything else would be… Let’s not even think about it.
Yesterday’s game could have developed in a different way. Palmeiras were applying pressure during the first 20 minutes and Ayrton hit the crossbar at 24’. Shortly after, a monumental error by our keeper Bruno and everything went crumbling down like a house of cards.
In true Libertadores fashion, the game was violent and yellow cards were generously distributed. Early in the second half, a bad clearance from Henrique allowed for a spectacular shot and 0-2 on the scorecard. Coach Kleina went all or nothing, a penalty was converted by Souza, a goal by Kleber very dubiously dismissed as offside, and that was as close as we got.
Goalkeepers have the most difficult task of them all. A keeper never wins a game, always depending on his teammates to perform. Mistakes are generally punished hard, resulting in goal for the opponents. Huge responsibility, little glory.
The most important characteristic of a good keeper is consistency. Bruno has been mixing stellar performance with very weak ones. Yesterday’s obviously goes beyond weak. Not sure if Bruno will survive this last episode in the Palmeiras jersey.
As for the directors, they now must double their work. Supporters are growing increasingly impatient and will need to see change, not only to the management structure. In the end, a strong team is the only indicator of success that matters. It’s a long and winding road.