Palmeiras 1-0 Ponte Preta – kicked out of the Paulistão

Palmeiras were unable to revert the 3-0 from the first leg of the semi-final against Ponte Preta and bid the São Paulo championship farewell. Ponte and Corinthians battle it out in the finals, the latter having eliminated SPFC.

Eduardo Baptista sure tried to shake things up, surprising with a novel 3-5-2 formation, Felipe Melo operating on the left flank of the defensive line completed by Mina and Dracena. The formation allowed for much more aggressive wingplay, with Egídio and Jean frequently driving deep and looking to cross. Sadly, that seemed to be Palmeiras’ only plan: little vertical infiltration, almost no shots from outside the penalty area. Albeit with crushing superiority in ball possession and game control, Palmeiras was too predictable, with cross after cross deflected by Ponte Preta’s compact defence. Borja did not have a great night, neither did Tchê Tchê or Dudu, and we all know that when Dudu is off centre, the whole team wobbles. Guerra and Guedes completed the starting eleven. Keno, Willian and Bastos came on in the second half. Too little, too late. However, this time, no complaints in regard to fighting spirit, the whole squad gave 100%. Not to mention the supporters, who gave 200%. Still, Brazil’s possibly best squad was knocked out by a second division team. That is what happens when your head is somewhere else on gameday.

Physical and emotional wear will have to step aside as Peñarol await on Wednesday. Eduardo Baptista, questioned by some since day one, feel the pressure rising. A negative result against the Uruguayans, and knifes will be sharpened, Brazil style.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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