Palmeiras exercised superiority on the pitch as well as on the stands: for every tricolor there were at least four palmeirenses yesterday at the Mané Garrincha stadium, Brasilia.
With Gabriel Jesus back in the stating eleven, Palmeiras’ offensive game once again grew. The kid is very fast, always keeping defenders on their toes, and his dribbles free up space for his teammates, allowing Palmeiras to attack in waves, keeping the pressure high. Already up by two terrific goals (Dudu and Jean) halfway into the first half against the best defence of the championship, Palmeiras were closer to the third than Fluminense to diminish the gap.
In addition to Jesus, Yerry Mina also made his comeback, placing Thiago Martins on the bench. And what a comeback by the Colombian, clearing everything high and most things low, in addition to showing personality initiating plays, occasionally venturing into the midfield.
Indeed the whole squad worked hard, but there is room for extra praise of Dudu, Moisés, and also Jaílson, who once again left no one longing for Prass’ return: our keeper was calm and always well positioned the few times Fluminense were on target.
The 22nd round was excellent from Palmeiras’ point of view: Corinthians lost to Ponte Preta, Santos lost to Figueirense, Atlético Mineiro drew away to Grêmio. Of the direct contenders, only Flamengo came out victorious – against Chapecoense – and are the new runners-up, three points behind Palmeiras. Worth noticing is Palmeiras’ superior goal balance: 18 against Flamengo’s 6.
There is currently only one, major concern at Palmeiras: the accumulation of yellow cards, leaving key players hanging on a thread. Before yesterday’s clash, Palmeiras had four players with two bookings each: Cleiton Xavier, Jean, Rafael Marques and Matheus Sales. Against Fluminense, five more players joined the list: Vitor Hugo, Mina, Arouca, Dudu and Gabriel Jesus. Out of these nine, six are normally found in Cuca’s starting eleven. Administering well this situation would allow Palmeiras to face direct contenders Grêmio, Flamengo and Corinthians – all three within the space of eleven days (7-17 of September) – in acceptable conditions.
But first, Copa do Brasil. This Wednesday Palmeiras debut against Botafogo of Paraíba, at the Allianz Parque. Anything but a victory would be a huge surprise.
Cuca certainly will leave key players out, already thinking about Sunday’s Cuca has indicated he will use his best lineup against Botafogo, not showing concern regarding next week’s derby against a São Paulo FC in total disorder.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!