Not since 1997 have Palmeiras beaten Internacional at the Beira-Rio stadium. Never have Internacional done so little to maintain such an expressive taboo.
This Wednesday’s game was in stark contrast to last Sunday’s derby. Against Corinthians, Palmeiras three times took the lead, always conducting and pushing forward, being punished by that which has become the stigma ever since Palmeiras lost Gabriel and – from time to time – Arouca on the midfield: aerial balls. Nevertheless, the game was highly entertaining and one of the best so far in the Brasileirão, although for Palmeiras leaving with only one point was a major setback.
Against Internacional, a completely different ballgame. The Palmeiras squad was eleven players short, computing injured, suspended (against Corinthians, the referee managed to surgically book all four Palmeiras players with two yellows already: Lucas, Robinho, Gabriel Jesus and Dudu) and otherwise left out (most notably, Victor Ramos). You can imagine what that starting eleven looked like.
The game was horrible and sleepy. As such, less annoying, as no one really expected anything much. But when the weakness of Internacional became ever so apparent, the urge to break that taboo grew stronger. With roughly 25 minutes on the clock, Inter got a one-off goal through a beautiful header. With two minutes in the second half, Leandro Almeida was sent off (why is he allowed to wear our jersey?) and Palmeiras’ mission became much harder. Nevertheless, as Allione and Mouche came on, it seemed as Palmeiras had the numeral advantage. Jackson had the best opportunity in the final minutes, but the scorecard remained unchanged.
The results from the round naturally pushed Palmeiras further down in the tables, to eight place, three points from fourth place. Upcoming games are Figueirense home and Fluminense away: both teams rather rocky right now and exactly the kind of games Palmeiras need to win (but haven’t) in order to realistically compete for a spot in next year’s Libertadores Cup.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!