Santos 2-1 Palmeiras – prelude

The result surprised no one. It’s notoriously hard to play at the Vila Belmiro. And we all know Palmeiras must progress if they are serious about winning the Brazil Cup. The almost four weeks between now and 25 November, when the first leg of the finals is played, serve that purpose: tweak Palmeiras into something better.

A game of missed opportunities, this one. The rain justifies some of it, for example Dudu’s slip. Other blown opportunities, like Robinho’s poor shot and moments with Ricardo Oliveira and Gabriel, can be blamed on nervousness and arrogance. Highlights below.

Arrogance. A key word in this context. Personified in veteran striker Ricardo Oliveira. Twenty goals so far in the Brasileirão, well on his way to become the golden boot of the season, which also has rendered him renewed attention from Dunga and a place in the Brazil squad, ending a ten-year absence. A pastor he is, Ricardo Oliveira. Always on his high horse. No different today, and especially after scoring, making faces and pointing toward Prass.

Ricardo Oliveira is just being himself. Which is excellent. If there’s one thing with potential to bring that extra geist into the Palmeiras squad, it’s his stuffed up arrogance. That, and the overall “Santos has got this one in the bag”, commonly transmitted by sports journalists. 2012, anyone?

A week of rest and training before Palmeiras receive desperate bottom-dwellers Vasco da Gama. Then, two games against middle-of-the-tables teams that theoretically have little to fight for: Atlético Paranaense away and Cruzeiro at home. These three games are crucial for Palmeiras’ aspirations for a place in the G4. Anything lesser than seven points and the Brazil Cup becomes our only hope.

For the upcoming sequence, Arouca and Cleiton Xavier should be at Marcelo Oliveira’s disposal. Mind you, Matheus Sales has been very convincing, putting out another solid performance today, this time beside Thiago Santos. Arouca will for sure face some healthy competition. As for Xavier… Better keep expectations low. Actually, might as just forget he even exists.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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