Ahead of the first leg of the Paulista semifinals, two undefeated streaks at the Pacaembu stadium: Palmeiras in their last 8 games and Santos since 2013 (25 games undefeated as home team). To the joy of the palmeirenses, only the green and white streak remains, now increased to 9 games in a row without losing at the historic stadium.
Palmeiras’ starting eleven was the same as against Novorizontino, but for goalkeeper Fernando Prass, replaced by Jailson, back from suspension. In spite of the stadium being filled with only Santos supporters, our players were not intimidated and started the game better.
In the 11th minute, Palmeiras pressure had already proven effective, the opening of the scorecard the result of a nice, collective move: Keno on the left passing the ball to Bruno Henrique in center position, opening wide to Dudu on the right wing, who returned the ball towards the centre where Willian closed in, pusingh it to the back of the net.
Palmeiras remained with the upper hand, creating two more opportunities: in the 19th minute, Dudu shot wide and in the 23th minute, Vanderlei made a difficult save following Willian’s shot. Jailson, meanwhile, was only a spectator of the game, Santos unable to find the way to threaten Palmeiras’ goalkeeper.
However, in the last minutes on the first half, Jailson had to shine brightly, twice. In the first one, Thiago Martins lost the ball to Gabriel, but Jailson blocked the point-blank shot, resulting in a corner. Renato headed the corner and Jailson performed another miracle, denying the equalizer.
In the second half, Palmeiras again got off to a better start. In the 2nd minute, Victor Luiz fired away from the left, but Vanderlei was on his toes. A minute later, Keno missed the target after dribbling Santos’ left back. In the 5th minute, not so good news for the green and white: right-back Marcos Rocha gave way Tchê Tchê due to muscular fatigue.
Santos improved their game and created a number of opportunities, the first in the 6th minute, Jailson intercepting the crossed ball and Gabriel missing the target on the rebound. In the 19th minute, mess inside Palmeiras’ box, but Santos did not take advantage of the situation.
In the 21st minute, another beautiful save from Jailson after Rodrygo fired away from afar. Feeling Santos’ momentum, Roger Machado replaced both defensive midfielders to retake control of the match: Moisés and Thiago Santos came on for Bruno Henrique and Felipe Melo.
However, Santos did not stop pushing for the equalizer. In the 30th minute, Gabriel fired from outside the box, Jailson once more saving Palmeiras. Seven minutes later, Santos blew their last clear opportunity to score: Gabriel crossed the ball and found Vitor Bueno completely clean by the penalty spot, but Jailson saved the header.
The game ended 1-0 and the Verdão computed their 5th straight clean sheet; a record not achieved in the last 10 years. Upcoming Tuesday, should Palmeiras increase this sequence, they will be classified to the final, as a draw favours the green side. Roger Machado awaits the recovery of Marcos Rocha and Victor Luiz, who also left the game in discomfort, to repeat the same line-up on Tuesday, at the same Pacaembu stadium, only this time, with nothing but palmeirenses in the stands.
On the other side of the tables, São Paulo 1-0 Corinthians, the second leg scheduled for Wednesday night.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi