Two very distinct propositions: Palmeiras seeking to steamroll the opponent, as Palmeiras have commonly done at the Allianz Parque, and Atlético guarding position, looking for that one opportunity. Cuca, in my opinion, picked the correct starting eleven, maintain the team’s characteristics and speed, Erik replacing Gabriel Jesus. Strangely enough, the players changed their pattern of play, advancing more through the flanks and crossing a lot, as if there was a reference point – like Barrios or Alecsandro – in the box. Palmeiras dominated the first half, spending most of the time on the opponent’s half, but created few scoring opportunities. While Atlético kept it tight, real tight…
Early in the second half, Atlético opened the scorecard. And Cuca, instead of keeping to the original plan, succumbed and promoted Barrios then Alecsandro: everything Atlético’s tall centre backs could have wished for. Palmeiras were never that close to the equalizer. A goalless draw would have been a normal result, as also the odd goal defeat was. Or even a victory would have been.
The Palmeiras supporter is damaged from previous experience, not least the 2009 campaign, where a trophy already wrapped up was snatched after an incredible streak of disastrous games in the last rounds, not even granting Palmeiras a spot in the Libertadores Cup.
So far, Palmeiras have been 100% at home, but it took only this one defeat, to one of the four strongest squads in the competition, for a certain despair to materialize. Even with Palmeiras maintaining a two-point lead, there is a lot of talk about “yellow light on”, “Palmeiras too predictable”, and even an “inability to cope with the absence of Gabriel Jesus”.
All bull. One game. A hard-fought and contested game. That could have gone either way, but where Atlético excelled in their execution and were awarded the three points.
Palmeiras did not play good, but certainly did not play badly either. The defence looked solid. And, very important, keeper Vagner had an excellent afternoon, clearly showing we have nothing to worry about in Prass’ absence. Thus, as we say in Sweden, “there is no cow on the ice”, there is no emergency. Rest, train, learn, execute. Starting away against Botafogo this Sunday. Without Tchê Tchê, suspended, but with the very likely and important return of Moisés.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!