Against Corinthians last Sunday and again yesterday against Ituano, you could count on one hand the number of times Alan Kardec touched the ball. Not that he wasn’t trying his hardest, always seeking position, always covering areas. Against Corinthians, we even saw him going back deep defensively. Yet, symptomatically, his name was seldom spoken by the TV commentators. No wonder: the ball hardly got to him, he had no possession, no opportunities. He was almost invisible. Almost.
Towards the end of Sunday’s game, Diogo advanced on the right flank, lifted his head and made the cross with perfection. Kardec shifted gears, anticipating the defender’s move and forcefully put his forehead to the ball, declaring the draw. A perfectly executed piece of art, as good as it gets.
Yesterday, against a compact and defensively very well trained Ituano, it was Juninho who from his left flank saw the killer in position on the reverse side of the box: Kardec used one touch to take down the cross and a second to drive the ball hard between the keeper and the post, securing three more points for the Verdão.
It’s no coincidence Luiz Felipe Scolari has his eyes on the 25-year-old: he acts as a classic centre-forward, the #9 the Brazilian national coach is looking for in case Fred’s frequent injuries denies him a spot in the Seleção. Kardec is strong, disciplined, alert. The kind of player who needs only one opportunity to drive it home. A ghost striker. Deadly.
Kardec might be given the chance to prove all that in the upcoming friendly against South Africa in Johannesburg on March 5. On Monday, Scolari will announce which Brazil-based players will complete his list for the friendly. If called up, Kardec has the one opportunity to show why he should be in the World Cup squad.
Below, highlights from Corinthians 1-1 Palmeiras and Palmeiras 1-0 Ituano.