Novorizontino 0-3 Palmeiras – almost in the semifinals

It was not the best match under Roger Machado’s command, but a 3-0 away victory against the third best team on the tournament is something that must be appreciated. Our rivals Corinthians and São Paulo had difficulties against their opponents (Bragantino and São Caetano, respectively) and both lost the first matches in the quarterfinals by the odd goal, while Santos only managed a draw against Botafogo/SP.

Novorizontino got off to a good start in the game, Tony crossing the ball and Jean Carlos hitting the wood with a nice shot. Minutes later, Safira’s header left Jailson an observer, the ball going just wide of our keeper’s right post.

Novorizontino’s momentum ended in the 18th minute when Tony caused Borja’s fall inside the box, the Colombian striker trying to reach a cross, the referee awarding the penalty. Dudu placed the ball firmly in the keeper’s bottom right corner, securely out of reach. Boosted with confidence after the goal, Palmeiras had another opportunity four minutes later, but Oliveira saved a nice shot from Willian.

Before halftime, Novorizontino tested Jailson with a long-range shot, as easy save. Both teams seemed suffocated by the hot weather, and also a little bit careless, leaving coach Roger Machado rather irritable.

Back to the second half, Novorizontino started better again, trying to level the score. In the 6th minute, Jailson brilliantly saved a header from Safira, the most dangerous player of the opponent. One minute later, another opportunity for Novorizontino: Cleo Silva’s ball had already gone past Jailson but Victor Luiz put it away to save Palmeiras from suffering the equalizer. The rhythm was insane and the Verdão responded in the 8th minute, Willian’s shot missing the target with a few centimeters.

In the 16th minute, Oliveira took Dudu’s shot from inside the box to his chest. One minute later, Borja passed the ball directly to Tony, an opponent, complaining that Tony tricked him by shouting out for him to pass the ball. In the heated discussion that followed, Borja was booked and coach Machado felt it was time to take the Colombian off the pitch, promoting Keno in his place.

Keno changed things up, as he often does. With 30 minutes on the clock, he passed a long ball to Willian, sprinting behind the defenders. An expertly executed body feint left the keeper hapless, Willian only pushing the ball to the back of the net to increase Palmeiras’ lead. A beautiful goal.

Keno still had time to get on the scorecard himself: in the 43th minute, after Marcos Rocha’s cross and Willian’s failed header, the ball offered itself up to the forward to mercilessly slam it in. Novorizontino did their best in the dying minutes, but Jailson guaranteed one more clean sheet for Palmeiras.

The 3-0 gives Palmeiras a huge advantage, Novorizontino having to win by a difference of four in order to classify to the semifinals, something yet to be seen in 100 matches played at the Allianz Parque. The second leg is this upcoming Wednesday, 9:45 pm local time, with 12.000 tickets already sold to Avanti members.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

– – – ooo – – –
by Augusto Anteghini Oazi

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