Overcoming the defeat in Belo Horizonte, Palmeiras crushed Figueirense 4-0 before yesterday bagging three very important away points against Sport. Our direct title contenders have also done well lately, but Palmeiras are still three points ahead, nothing blocking the view to the (still pretty remote) finish line.
Three points against Figueirense were expected, but Sport is traditionally strong at the Ilha do Retiro. Combined with the pressure of contenders having already won their games and the recent, semi-created, “Palmeiras-are-failing-in-away-games” narrative, the pressure was certainly on.
With Dudu and Edu Dracena suffering from muscle fatigue, Cuca promoted Erik and Yerry Mina. Erik has only been warming the bench the lasts months, but Cuca wanted to maintain velocity in his attacking line, emulating Dudu’s characteristics. Rightly so: early in the first half, Erik and Gabriel Jesus exchanged passes, resulting in Erik’s first goal for the Verdão.
Yerry Mina made his debut as centre-lock beside Vítor Hugo and impressed everyone, both in terms of performance and personality. Only 21 years old, he instructed and encouraged his teammates like the natural leader he is. Very promising.
Palmeiras suffered slightly in the first half, and again in the beginning of the second, Sport coming on strong and consequently rewarded with the equaliser. The goal served as a wakeup call for Palmeiras: regaining the initiative, Gabriel Jesus – now with 10 braces in 13 rounds – and Cleiton Xavier had their names in the scorecard well before the final whistle. Enjoy the highlights below.
Efforts on the pitch are combined with efforts off the pitch: Palmeiras’ directors and coach Cuca have been firm is stating that the goal is the title and that the squad should be maintained intact. The other day Palmeiras rejected a Chinese offer for Dudu, and the line of argument is sustained in spite of growing transfer speculations surrounding Gabriel Jesus.
Next up, Santos at the Allianz Parque, a week from now. Good thing is Cuca and the squad have time for rest and practice, bad thing is key players suspended (Gabriel Jesus, Róger Guedes, Thiago Santos) or injured (Moisés taken off the pitch yesterday with a muscular condition, did not look too good). On the other hand, Palmeiras have Dudu, Barrios, Rafael Marques, possibly Allione… Enough to make it work.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!