Four straight victories in the Paulistão, but the first real test was today against SPFC. Palmeiras haven’t played a classico in nearly a year due to the second division relegation, neither a high-level derby. The “Royal Clash”, as the Palmeiras vs. São Paulo is called, was awaited with mixed feelings of excitement, confidence and nervousness.
In an impressive collective display of tactical obedience, dedication and determination, Palmeiras simply put dominated São Paulo, the arch enemy, from start to finish. Today was not a day of brilliant football nor individual excellence, but rather a Palmeiras we haven’t seen in years: confident, strong, firm. Every player raised to the occasion, aware of the importance of the result, 100% focused on the game. Palmeiras left the pitch with three more points after braces from Valdivia and Alan Kardec, one in each half.
In an afternoon of collective overcoming, a few individual mentions are still in order:
# Wellington, abruptly called up to replace no other than team captain Henrique after his transfer to Napoli/ITA, nailed it for the second consecutive time, showing remarkable maturity and positioning skill. The kid is taking full advantage of the opportunity given to him. Monster.
# Lúcio, already oozing leadership on and off the pitch, cleverly dosing his personal grudge against his former club to inject just the right amount of adrenalin into every moment of the game.
# Marcelo Oliveira, aggressively exercising his duties as watchdog on the midfield, advancing his positioning and letting very little heat reach the centre-backs.
Next up are XV de Piracicaba, on Wednesday, at the Barão de Serra Negra stadium. XV are third in their group, just ahead of Corinthians, with 7 points in five games, corresponding to 47% of possible points won. While Palmeiras continue…
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!