With goals from Victor Luis (his first for Palmeiras) and Leandro – both in the first half – and Rossi bagging a brace in the second half, Palmeiras yesterday beat Fiorentina 2-1 to the delight of a 21,000 strong crowd of supporters at the Pacaembu. The result, combined with América of Mexico’s victory over Atlético de Madrid earlier in the day, tied the EuroAmerican competition at four to four, with just the one duel to go: on Saturday, University of Peru and Fiorentina battle it out in Lima, deciding which continent brings the trophy home.
Coach Gareca was pleased after the game, not only with the victory but also Victor Luis’ progress on the left flank and Argentine midfielder Allione’s more than approved debut for Palmeiras. Striker Leandro was also praised by Gareca, who recognises the player has been training hard and now should be regaining his confidence and be a valuable asset for the team.
For those of you interested, yesterday’s line-ups:
Palmeiras: Fábio, Weldinho, Wellington (Victorino), Marcelo Oliveira and Victor Luis; Josimar, Wesley (Mazinho), Mendieta (Bernardo) and Allione (Léo Cunha); Leandro and Érik (Patrik Vieira).
Fiorentina: Neto, Tomovic, Hegazy, Savic and Pasqual; Bakic (Piccini), Ilicic (Rossi), Matías Fernández (Matías Vecino) and Lazzari (Vargas); Joaquín (David Pizarro) and Babacar..
OK, it was almost a friendly, with both coaches testing a lot of players. And Palmeiras were not only saved by the goalpost but also by Fiorentina’s strikers blowing unbelievable chances. Still, the Italian team is seasoned, has the same coach since 2010 and finished fourth in last year’s Serie A. Obviously, the victory was important, boosting moral ahead of Sundays important clash against Bahia in the Brasileirão. And also meant the Palmeiras squad could lift the beautiful Julinho Botelho trophy, created in honour of the legendary right-winger who made history in both Palmeiras and Fiorentina in the fifties and sixties.
One more thing: can you believe Victorino actually came on towards the end? Must be a sign. Nothing will stop us now.