São Caetano 1-2 Palmeiras
“Waiting for Godot” has for palmeirenses turned into “Waiting for Eguren”: when everything seemed set for his appearance in the starting eleven, Kleina in the last minute opted for a 4-3-3 with Mendieta, Wesley and Highlander Araújo on the midfield and Leandro, Kardec and Ananias up front. An offensive line-up, especially in an away game. Too offensive. São Caetano counter-attacked mercilessly, taking full advantage of the available spaces on the flanks. We went to halftime behind on the scorecard.
Kleina could swap some pieces or improve positioning. He chose the latter, and to perfection: Palmeiras came on steamrolling all over the Azulão and had turned the game around within 15 minutes after a true golaco by Kardec and a point blank volley shot by captain Henrique. For most of the remainder, Palmeiras exercised control of the game. With the fresh three points, Palmeiras maintained their grip on the top of the tables; important as also Chapecoense, Sport and Figueirense won their games.
Brazil Cup 2013 draw
Yesterday afternoon, the Brazilian Football Federation drew the second phase fixture of the Brazil Cup 2013. Palmeiras could have ended up in an easier group, but the taste of victory will be even sweeter: our first opponent are Atlético Paranaense – the same Atlético that Palmeiras have kicked out of the Copa do Brasil on three previous occasions, namely 1992, 2010 and 2012. Our first game is at home, in roughly two weeks’ time.
The courting of our players
With the international transfer window closed and most players in the league already summing seven or more games for their clubs – an impediment for them to play for any other club in the same division – rivals in the first division are turning their attention to Palmeiras for possible reinforcements. The media play along, when not shamefully instigating rumours in order to sell more “news”.
This morning, Valdivia was linked to Flamengo, although the carioca club director openly stated that they did not have the funds to yank the midfielder from Palmeiras or pay his high salaries. On live television, Valdivia, very much at ease, explained he was happy at the Verdão and wouldn’t mind ending his career there. Based on his current form, that’s one hell of a promise; considering his average performance and cost/benefit, one hell of a threat. Time will tell.
With Valdivia soon being less than news, attention in the afternoon had already turned to Wesley, who apparently – at least if one of Brazilian most influential football magazines should be trusted – is well on his way to Atlético Mineiro. The midfielder, who finally has recovered his fine football after a serious knee injury, would be lent to the Libertadores Cup champions in order to further alleviate Palmeiras’ strained finances. I don’t believe a word of it. Don’t want to, either. Not saying it can’t be true, not saying Palmeiras might not have received an offer. But there’s an ocean between receiving an offer and accepting it. Until facts are on the table, I shrug it off.
We must all get used to the courting, treat it as something normal and, in fact, good: it’s an indicator of success, of quality, of Palmeiras going in the right direction. We supporters should refrain from reacting to rumours, demanding explanations or positions from players, managers or directors. We must learn and constantly remind ourselves: it’s not a fact because it’s in the papers. Especially not when the topic is football, players and transfers.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!