Unusual in Brazilian football, and certainly for Palmeiras, the club recently saw two of their players suspended on doping charges: seasoned forward Alecsandro and midfielder Arouca.
The scenario looked particularly bad for Alecsandro, tested positive twice and slapped with a two-year ban by the São Paulo Tribunal of Sports, practically ending the career of the 35-year-old. However, in a surprising turn of events, the international doping agency Wada informed the Brazilians that the second test was, in fact, a false positive. In other words: no confirmation of illegal substance detected. With that, he was immediately cleared for training and play at Palmeiras.
As for Arouca, the club’s lawyers are confident he will also be cleared. Although an illegal substance was indeed detected in the athlete’s urine sample, it is the result of an intra-articular procedure, approved by Wada, whereby a certain drug is applied directly to an injured joint in order to lessen an inflammatory process. Due to this, although Arouca is awaiting trial, he is free to play for Palmeiras until further notice.
The World Cup qualifiers continue to take their toll on Palmeiras. Gabriel Jesus has been called up for Brazil’s home game against Bolivia on 6 October and for the away game against Venezuela on the 11th. In addition, Lucas Barrios has been summoned for Paraguay’s games against Colombia and Argentina. The offensive duo will miss two games in the Brazilian championship: against América Mineiro away on 9 October and against Cruzeiro at home on the 12th. In addition, there is a considerable risk/chance Yerry Mina will be called up by Pékerman for Colombia’s clashes with Uruguay and, as mentioned above, Paraguay. In the light of the above, Palmeiras are likely to request the game against Cruzeiro be transferred to the 13th, in order to have the two/three players back and in playing condition. Stay tuned.
Defensive midfielder Gabriel and Palmeiras seem close to sign a new, five-year agreement. The player is on a two-year loan from Monte Azul and was a pillar in Palmeiras’ defence throughout most of last year, until a severe knee injury took him out. Only recently has Gabriel showed he is returning to good old form. In order to secure the player’s economic rights, Palmeiras will reportedly pay approximately US$ 1.6 million.
— ooo —
Saturday last week, Palmeiras went to the Itaqueirão to beat Corinthians 2-0, goals by Moisés and Yerry Mina. That ended Corinthians’ streak of 34 games undefeated at home. Palmeiras keep the lead in the Brasileirão, with Flamengo one point behind. Palmeiras’ next victim, Coritiba, Saturday, at the Allianz Parque.
Yesterday, Palmeiras secured their spot in the Brazil Cup quarterfinals after an uninspiring game against Botafogo/PB. As the first leg ended 3-0 in Verdão‘s favour, Cuca opted for resting all regular starting eleven players except Zé Roberto in this second leg, and the odd goal defeat was fair enough. Tomorrow Friday, the draw to define Palmeiras’ next opponent: Corinthians, Santos, Grêmio, Cruzeiro, Atlético Mineiro, Internacional/Fortaleza and São Paulo/Juventus are the contenders.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!