Jack Bauer’s sitting this one out. After all, it’s a domestic affair. In exactly 24 hours, Palmeiras are returning home. The opening game, against Sport, will be a feast for the eyes. For the soul. Not an empty seat in the Allianz Parque. The squad will be wearing a special jersey, with the well-known Brazilian phrase “o bom filho a casa torna” (the good son returns home) circling the badge. A light cannon, projecting the Italian tricolore in homage of the club’s origins, will be announcing – tomorrow and every time from now on – when Palmeiras are on the pitch.
Tickets were made available firstly based on Avanti rating, secondly based on the level of Avanti, and then released to club members. Most were sold online, but some also physically. Some people waited as long as 7-8 hours in line in order to guarantee their seat at the event of the year.
But it’s not all roses. Far from it. After Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to São Paulo, Palmeiras need the three points desperately. The inauguration of the Allianz Parque will be forever remembered either as the game that propelled Palmeiras out of harms’ way, or as one of the most humiliating moments in the club’s history. No telling how our youngish squad will handle the pressure, especially without the reference of experienced Valdivia on the pitch: the Chilean is on tonight for his national team in a friendly against Uruguay. It was speculated that he would take a flight straight to São Paulo after the game, being available against Sport in case Dorival needed to pull an ace out of the sleeve in the second half. No such luck: the list just came out and our playmaker is not on it.
No, this did not turn out the way it was planned. Or rather: this is what you get when planning is lacking.
39.000 at the Allianz Parque must be one tomorrow. 15 million supporters idem. Harsh words, but tomorrow is not about celebration, not about gaping in awe at South Americas’ most modern multipurpose stadium. It’s about carrying eleven men towards victory at absolutely any cost.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!