Against Icasa and at home, coach Kleina initiated with Mendieta replacing Valdivia and Vilson on André Luiz. Good calls: Vilson is on a roll and Mendieta needs to feel the love as part of a starting eleven.
The scorecard suggests a walk in the park, but it was nothing of the sort: Palmeiras had most of the possession and created numerous chances, but Icasa’s fast counter-attacks on several occasions forced our keeper Fernando Prass (right) to decisive action, not least when saving a penalty halfway through the first half.
A few minutes from halftime, Leandro was fouled in the penalty area and Vinícius securely converted.
The second half looked much like the first. Halfway through, Kleina promoted a double substitution, taking out Mendieta and Vinícius for Valdivia and Alan Kardec. Initially, Palmeiras seemed to have lost both initiative and pace with the change, but then, everything fell into place: Kardec putting his forehead to a corner signed Juninho; a few minutes later Valdivia masterly orchestrating an attack that ended up with Wesley finding the upper right corner of the net; and finally Valdivia again, serving Kardec for the kill. No wonder the Chilean has once more been called up for the national team.
The positive result was enhanced further by our direct competitors losing their games. Thus, Palmeiras have regained their position at the top of the tables, summing 25 points in eleven games, followed by Chapecoense (23), Sport (21) and Figueirense (19). Mind you Chapecoense has one less game played.
Now Bragantino await, on Friday, again at the Pacaembu. Let’s see if Kleina this time finally dares the change that everybody’s crying for: promoting Eguren’s debut, preferably in the starting eleven.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!