In December, we might look back at this game as a turning point. Or, more correctly: the moment when everyone understood that Palmeiras were in this fight to win. The manner by which Palmeiras conducted the game, at times completely dominating Internacional, was impressive. The meagre scorecard does not reflect the afternoon: 0-3 or perhaps 1-3 would have been more like it.
Palmeiras came in the same formation used in the last away win, against Sport, but with Cleiton Xavier on Moisés (suspended) and Erik on Dudu. Xavier’s precise passes cut like a knife through butter, optimising the velocity of Palmeiras’ offensive trio Róger Guedes, Erik and Gabriel Jesus. But not only the offensive worked well: defence was equally fine-tuned, the midfield marking strong, facilitating the task of the centre-lock. Today, every single player in the staring eleven worked hard, executing with confidence and consciousness. Palmeiras look, more each day, like a champion. A few weeks ago, journalists were claiming Palmeiras had a “problem” playing as visitor. 1-3 against Sport was a first “hush” and today’s victory – Palmeiras’ first in 19 (!) years at the Beira-Rio stadium – carries tremendous weight. Tremendous weight.
As Corinthians drew 1-1 with São Paulo while Grêmio lost 4-2 to Sport, Palmeiras now have a three-point lead after 15 rounds. With Brazil Cup games taking place in the middle of the week, Cuca and the men have a decent amount of time for training and rest before welcoming Atlético Mineiro to the Allianz Parque on Sunday morning. With Fernando Prass and Gabriel Jesus in the Olympic squad, there will be new faces in the staring eleven: most likely Vagner between the post and Barrios or Leandro Pereira up front (unless Cuca opts for Rafael Marques, which I find unlikely). Once more, expect a full house, hopefully propelling our warriors to victory.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!