Palmeiras 2-2 Ponte Preta

Another opportunity lost to put a bit of distance between Palmeiras and trailing competitors. Nevertheless, in spite of the two points fiddled away, Palmeiras are still in the top, which, again, says a lot about the level playing field in this year’s Brasileirão.

Palmeiras exercising good control of the game, Rafael Marques – yesterday replacing suspended Erik – opening up the scorecard with 15 minutes on the clock after a nice setup from Róger Guedes on the right flank. Palmeiras administered the advantage well, looking for additional openings, without rushing it. Ponte Preta seemed harmless. We got a solid first half from the Verdão.

The lead could have increased early in the second half, as several good opportunities surged. Instead, a bit of inattentiveness from Vítor Hugo was followed up by a pinball-esque situation in the box, leading up to the equaliser.

No doubt Palmeiras would renew efforts to score, and the goal came naturally, on a set piece, Rafael Marques this time heading the ball from deep back into the centre of the box, where Thiago Martins’ forehead did the rest.

Cuca promoted Thiago Santos to lock down the midfield, but again, the twist of fate: Ponte striker Pottker raced and beat Egídio to the ball, taking a low shot that deflected slightly off the fullback and sneaked in by Jailson’s first post. A bit of bad luck, this time combined with some inattentiveness/poor positioning from our keeper.

Palmeiras again tried to apply pressure but was unable to overtake Ponte, the visitors naturally more than pleased with the draw. Highlights below.

Yesterday, the day after Brazil’s unprecedented football Olympic gold medal, Gabriel Jesus strolled the Allianz Parque, showing off his medal to the cheering crowds. The striker, with the braces during the Olympic Games, is expected back in Cuca’s starting eleven on Sunday, against Fluminense, at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia (ticket secured, of course).

Not that Cuca should get too excited: today, Brazil’s national coach Tite announced the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia on 1st and 6th September. Tite’s list comes with seven players from the Olympic squad, including Gabriel Jesus – great news for the kid, less great for Palmeiras. Yerry Mina, Palmeiras’ Colombian centre-back, was also called up for the qualifiers. Thus, these two will not be available for Palmeiras’ debut in the Brazil Cup against Botafogo of Paraiba on 31 August, nor the derby against São Paulo on 7 September. There is a lot to be said about the Brazilian calendar.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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