The taboo at the Morumbi remains: not since 2002 have Palmeiras beaten SPFC on their (sic) wretched grounds.
But today, the draw is a thing to celebrate, as Palmeiras played much under standards. True, the absences of Arouca, Zé Roberto and Dudu are important setbacks, but still: São Paulo acted like we are used to see Palmeiras, applying pressure high up the pitch, deploying speed through the flanks – and in particular Palmeiras’ left one – exchanging passes and advancing with ease in wave after wave. Retiring at halftime with a goalless draw was a treat.
Marcelo Oliveira tried to correct the stance at halftime, promoting youngster João Pedro on behalf of Andrei Girotto. Palmeiras improved considerably, but the game also became highly volatile, albeit entertaining. Until Palmeiras concede the goal, that is. Similar to the brace against Inter earlier this week: a mid-range shot from centre-left, seeking the opposite corner of Prass’ goal. São Paulo were more dangerous through and through.
Palmeiras tried to react, but nothing worked. Barrios asked to be substituted, Alecsandro entered. Then Kelvin on Lucas, Marcelo Oliveira desperately trying to find creative sparks in a team where even Gabriel Jesus was unhappy. Nothing indicated a change to the scorecard.
In the dying minute, the ball is passed back to Rogério Ceni. Alecsandro charges forward, the SPFC keeper tries to clear the ball but it deflects off the sole of Alecsandro’s boot before presenting itself to Robinho: the midfielder calmly chips the ball in a wide loop into the net to equal the scorecard. Palmeiras’ 100th goal for the season. And what a goal huh, Rogério? Hilarious. Ironic. In all honesty completely unworthy but who cares: Palmeiras salvage a point and cling on to fourth place.
What we saw today must not be repeated against Internacional upcoming Wednesday. 20.000 tickets already sold. The game will take place at the Allianz Parque, the grass having recovered sufficiently from the Katy Perry assault. A goalless draw and we’re through to the semifinals.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!