Ponte Preta 0-0 Palmeiras – unbeaten run preserved

Heavy rains hit Campinas on Sunday morning and throughout the day, soaking the pitch of the Moisés Lucarelli Stadium. There was uncertainty about if the match could actually happen, but the rain stopped in the afternoon and with a final inspection the referee confirmed kick-off to 7:30pm.

Roger Machado made some changes to the squad: Borja did not travel to Campinas because of discomfort to the right knee (apparently nothing serious, should be back in a few days) and Felipe Melo stayed on the bench in order not to risk a suspension due to a possible third yellow card. Willian and Thiago Santos were selected as replacements.

With the game underway, it became immediately clear that it would be hard to execute Palmeiras’ usual playing style. There were water-filled holes all over the pitch, making it difficult to pass the ball on the ground. Both teams were forced into long balls and lob passes.

The first good opportunity came from Ponte Preta’s left back Orinho: a shot fired from the left, giving Jailson a bit of work. Palmeiras hit back with Lucas Lima, crossing a long ball to Dudu, two Ponte Preta players trying to clear the ball and almost scoring an own goal. Before half time, Tchê Tchê fired a beautiful long-range shot, just wide of the Ponte keeper’s right post.

In the second half, Palmeiras had their biggest chance with 15 minutes on the clock: a Ponte Preta defender lost the ball to Guerra and the Venezuelan was face to face with the goalkeeper, who saved the first shot, with Guerra incredibly blowing a second opportunity from 2 meters. Seven minutes later, Ponte Preta had a good chance with Orinho, always Orinho, hitting the post.

Towards the end, Dudu had a couple of chances to break the deadlock but was off target on both of them. Before the whistle, Orinho forced Jailson to another great save. And that was that: the Big Green remain unbeaten in the São Paulo state championship.

With 20 points, Palmeiras are a victory away from securing a spot on the quarter-finals. Our next opponents are Corinthians, on the 25th, at the Itaquerão Stadium. Roger Machado will probably have the returns of Moisés, Edu Dracena and Diogo Barbosa. With a full week available for preparations, palmeirenses nurture expectations Machado will bag his first derby as Palmeiras’ head coach.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

— ooo — 
by Augusto Anteghini Oazi

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