Yesterday’s game celebrated 100 years of rivalry between Palmeiras and Santos, with the presence of legendary players entering the pitch together with the two squads. The game itself was a rather nervous affair, with both teams battling for supremacy in midfield. Santos had considerable more ball possession but did little with it, Palmeiras pressuring high and on several occasions launching rapid counter-attacks. The objectiveness made all the difference: Leandro Pereira executed a textbook receive-turn-shoot manoeuvre to score the only goal 14 minutes into the first half.
Coach Oliveira summed it up neatly. “When you cannot be brilliant, you need to be efficient in order to win the game. That is what we did. It was an important victory, but we suffered more than we should have needed to”. With nothing but next Sunday’s game against Vasco da Gama to worry about, Oliveira has indicated he will focus on two things during this week’s training sessions: ball transition from defence to offense and positioning.
With a little over 38.200 spectators at the Allianz Parque yesterday, Palmeiras made a net profit of some R$ 2 million (US$ 620.000). And although Alexandre Mattos says the squad is now complete with the arrival of Lucas Barrios, something tells me a playmaker might be in his sights. Actually, should be.
Speaking of Barrios: yesterday our #10 forward came on with some 20 minutes to go on the clock and Palmeiras already in a frenzy to secure the victory. Not the best scenario for a debut, but I think Oliveira did the right thing, giving the huge home crowd a treat.
So far in the Brasileirão, Palmeiras have fared more than well against the other three major teams in São Paulo: 2-0 away against Corinthians, 4-0 against SPFC and now 1-0 against Santos.
Palmeiras are currently in sixth place, four points behind leaders Atlético Mineiro, who lost Saturday to Corinthians. In addition, Fluminense and Grêmio lost their matches, making the tables even more compact. His year’s edition of the Brazilian championship will be a close affair no doubt.
Two days of rest for the squad, then training. On Sunday, things heat up as I put on my Palmeiras jersey and the missus, her Vasco top.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!