Ponte Preta 1-2 Palmeiras – Cuca-style meritocracy

As if Melo and Santos in the medical department was not trouble enough, Jean felt a knee discomfort ahead of Sundays’ clash with Ponte Preta. Cuca, having observed the friendly match Palmeiras bench played against São Caetano a few days back, did not hesitate: Gabriel Furtado, only 17 years old, was placed beside Tchê Tchê to protect the centre-backs against Ponte Pretas’ competent strikers. Quite the baptism of fire, if you ask me.

Cuca did not stop there. For the first time, Luan was found in the starting eleven, and as centre-back. Up front, Erik got his shot alongside Guedes and Willian: also a direct consequence of the friendly against São Caetano, where the shorty scored a hat trick. Seems Cuca is willing to bet on those stepping it up during practice.

The approach paid off, to the surprise of many, and yours included. Palmeiras had not beaten Ponte Preta at the Moisés Lucarelli since 2013. With speed, agility and Guerra on fire, bagging a brace, the deserved victory propelled Palmeiras to fourth place, which most likely will turn into fifth after Monday nights’ Botafogo vs. Avaí.

Ten rounds down, 28 to go. Corinthians have 26 points, Grêmio 22, Flamengo 17. Botafogo likely to reach 18. Palmeiras with 16. Some of our supporters have thrown the towel. Fools.

On Wednesday, different mind-set, welcoming Cruzeiro at the Allianz Parque for the first leg of the quarterfinals of the Brazil cup. Then, on 1 July, also at home (but at the Pacaembu due to the Allianz Parque being booked up for a concert), taking on runner-up Grêmio for the eleventh round of the Brasileirão, without suspended Mina, Guerra and Tchê Tchê. After that, off to Ecuador to battle Barcelona de Guayaquil, on 5 July, in the first leg of the Libertadores Cup group of 16. “Pedreira”, as one would say over here.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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