Palmeiras 1-0 Botafogo – clockwork

How Palmeiras have been conducting this campaign from day one: wary, conscious, meticulous, focused. The team has been impressively regular. Not brilliantly trashing opponents 5-0, not alternating highs and lows. Palmeiras have been consistent like no other. 1-0, 2-1, seldom exciting scorecards, but enough to bag the three points, round after round. Palmeiras support uncontested numbers: most victories, most goals scored, least goals conceived, leader of the championship for a total of 27 rounds and counting.

Against Botafogo, Palmeiras were Palmeiras: aware, in control, running like clockwork. As we have seen numerous times this season, the result materialized, this time through an unlikely header by Dudu. Another Palmeiras characteristic of 2016: when the likely tarry, the less likely is bound to happen, naturally.

Cuca, at the press conference after the game, highlighted the manner by which players collectively and individually had grown during the season, how boys had become men. “A thing of beauty”, he said.

Palmeiras are very, very close to the title. Santos but drew with Cruzeiro, the gap to Palmeiras increasing to six points. Also Flamengo conceded the draw to Coritiba, kissing championship aspirations goodbye. Santos can still snatch the title, but for that to happen, need to win their two remaining games, while Palmeiras lose both. In other words, Palmeiras are one draw away from the title.

Coming Sunday, the stage is set for a grand finale before a packed Allianz Parque against Chapecoense, Palmeiras’ last home game this season. Yours truly will be there, in loco, one of the many representing millions, carrying Palmeiras toward the club’s ninth Brazilian championship title. A 22 year long wait is coming to its end.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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