Sampaio Corrêa 1-1 Palmeiras – Brazil Cup, second round

With the São Paulo championship being decided this coming Sunday, no doubt regarding what team to send to São Luís, state of Maranhão, for the first leg of the second round of the Brazil Cup: everyone except the normal starting eleven. Thus, Palmeiras’ line-up was a complete novelty: Jaílson; Ayrton, Tobio, Jackson and Victor Luis; Amaral, Renato (Andrei Girotto, 22’/2ºH) and Alan Patrick; Kelvin (Juninho, 43’/2ºH), Ryder (Cristaldo, 21’/2ºH) and Gabriel Jesus.

I admit to having expected more. Of course nothing levelled with what we’ve seen from Dudu, Rafael Marques, Robinho and Cleiton Xavier, but at least better than what was presented by Kelvin, Ryder, Alan Patrick and Gabriel Jesus. In addition, none of the flanks worked. True, the heat was a contributing factor to the stale performance, the tall grass another. Also, of course, the fact that these men might have trained together but actually never played a game together, not a real game at least.

The positive is that we got a draw and an away goal. Moreover, that Cristaldo found his way back into the net. Also that no one was injured. Return game, in two weeks’ time, should be a piece of cake.

— ooo —

Santos, at the Vila Belmiro, 4pm on Sunday. Today a video of Santos forward Robinho, rapping a “victory song” of sorts, appeared in social media. The santistas seem confident. They are in their right. Nevertheless, the advantage is Palmeiras’. A draw, and the title is ours.

Arouca is undergoing special treatment but I cannot see him ready for Sunday’s clash. Valdivia however should be ready, although it’s exactly when he should be that he isn’t. No use in speculating.

I consider Arouca’s absence the only negative in the squad at this moment. That being said, Palmeiras did just fine without him last week. I believe his cool and experience is being put to good use off the pitch these days, mentally preparing the younger ones.

The heat is rising by the hour, unfortunately triggered further by the death of a lone Palmeiras supporter at the hands of a gang of santista cowards earlier this week. The day after the attack, Santos announced the ticket vending spot for Palmeiras supporters: smack in the middle of Santos ultras territory. I’m still unsure of that’s only plain stupid of if there’s actual evil involved.

Eliminating Corinthians in the semi-finals, on their home ground, was magnificent.

Trashing cocky Santos at the Vila Belmiro for the Championship title will be epic.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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