Dorival Júnior was not given any slack: two shorter training sessions, then off to Curitiba to face Atlético Paranaense, with several key players in the medical department: Valdivia and Prass since before, but now also Wesley, Wendel, Lucio and Allione. Mendieta, suspended.
Dorival opted for a cautious approach – the “arroz com feijão” we asked for in the previous post – but also showed some interesting innovation, placing Juninho and Leandro on the midfield. Palmeiras at times played well, got passes going, controlled the midfield and seemed rather solid in defence – not least with the early entry of splendid Victorino replacing Wellington beside Tobio as centre lock.
Atlético opened up the scorecard after an unlikely horse-like back-heel kick. The bucket of cold water, unlike previous games, did not make Palmeiras crumble: Diogo was taken down in the penalty area and Henrique converted with his usual cool.
The game was an open affair, with a slight Palmeiras advantage, until Josimar recklessly placed his boot in the chest of an adversary when trying to clear a ball, being sent off. The last 30 minutes that followed saw considerable pressure against Fábio, but in the end, Palmeiras returned home with a valuable and much deserved point, keeping Palmeiras out of the relegation zone for one more round.
With that, we’ve completed the first half of the Brasileirão. On Wednesday, Palmeiras receive Criciúma. Three points are fundamentally important to distance Palmeiras slightly from the desperate four and boost morale.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!