27 February. Vinícius receives deep on the left flank and crosses with ease to Valdivia, who calmly closes the scorecard 2-0 against São Bernardo.
4 March. Free kick against Portuguesa, just short of the penalty box. The set piece works beautifully as Wesley rolls the ball to Juninho, stuffing the net with a powerful left-foot finish.
9 March. Mendieta spins and delivers a precise pass for a charging William Matheus on the left flank to open up the scorecard. In the second half, Vinícius advances on the left, leaving three defenders behind, before providing Miguel with the assisting pass. Shortly before the final whistle, Mazinho goes deep to the left before passing the ball, leaving Patrick Vieira in position to secure the three points.
Coincidence or not: Palmeiras’ last five goals have all originated from the left or from a left-positioned player. The four goals from the last two games are available below, while Valdivia’s you’ll find in this post.
Coach Gilson Kleina is promoting a generous carrousel, using the Paulistão to really alternate players, try out different formations and rest the most important pieces without losing site of the importance of finishing on top: in little more than two weeks we move into the quarter-finals and finishing position in the group stage determines who gets home advantage. Beating Ponte Preta upcoming Saturday leaves the way for an interesting last round as currently tied Palmeiras and Santos clash against each other for ultimate supremacy – a draw benefiting Santos due to better goal difference.
There are however other priorities already this week, as Palmeiras travel to the city of Vilhena (state of Rondônia) for a first appearance in this year’s edition of the Brazil Cup. Kleina is calling up his strongest starting eleven, wanting to take no chances on this one: a victory by a margin of two or more goals eliminates the need for a second leg, providing the squad with an entire week for rest and training. Thus, expect Valdivia, Kardec, Leandro, Lúcio and Wesley on the pitch, in addition to a possible return of centre-back Wellington from the medical department.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
* And with this, Anything Palmeiras reaches 500 posts, exactly on its 4th birthday.