Chin up, back straight

In a parallel universe, Palmeiras only managed a draw against Botafogo before losing 1-0 to Grêmio, finishing round 28 in the penultimate position.

However, in this universe, Henrique stretched out to reach that genius cross from Valdivia, turned on the spot and slammed it into the net, declaring victory against the unhappy cariocas.

Barcos fulfilled the eternal fate of former Palmeiras players scoring against the Verdão, while trying to ignore that his premature exit was also written in the stars: he opened up the scorecard for the southerners, but after his sending off, Palmeiras could step up the pressure applied all first half to successful conclusion in the second, luckily turning the tables on Grêmio and pocketing another three points after braces from Mouche and right-back João Pedro.

Clashing against Grêmio, against Scolari, against Barcos, was special. Not only the result per se, not only the 30.000 cheering supporters on a Saturday night, not only the satisfaction of overcoming ghosts from the past. But primarily because Palmeiras were back. Palmeiras, the team. Palmeiras, ready to take on all competition in this Brasileirão as equals. Last Saturday, Palmeiras were as large as anybody. We haven’t seen that in a long time.

I’m not saying we’ve escaped relegation, neither that the squad is the seventh wonder, but I do say we saw glimpses of something new and promising. An internal force and confidence. Much owed, of course, to the splendid performances of Valdivia and Prass. It’s incredible how much these two add to the mix when on the pitch. Makes all the difference. Explains why Palmeiras currently rest in 12th position, not in the bottom four – albeit only four points currently separate the Verdão from the relegation zone.

The squad have now rested for two day and tomorrow starts preparing for Sunday’s game against Santos. Our opponent lost 3-0 to Criciúma on Sunday, and this coming Thursday face Botafogo in the quarter-finals of the Brazil Cup. I’m sticking my neck out, saying Palmeiras are the favourite. What about you?

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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