Palmeiras did not delight the 23.263 supporters present at the Pacaembu Stadium this afternoon, but the victory against the visitors from Porto Alegre was important to bring a bit of peace to the coach and players after some tough weeks.
Borja recovered from the knee inflammation and was once again in the starting-eleven. The only difference compared to the usual line-up was Edu Dracena replacing Thiago Martins in the centre lock.
The first five minutes of the game were terrible for the palmeirenses: with just three minutes on the clock, Internacional took a corner and the ball offered itself to Gabriel Dias inside the box after Pottker’s header, but Jailson performed a great save. Two minutes later, Pottker tried a long-range shot and Jailson had to save Palmeiras again. An early goal would have been a disaster, but Palmeiras were able to improve their game in the minutes to follow.
In the 13th minute, Keno went to the deep end and crossed the ball, but Inter’s keeper partially blocked it, the ball offering itself to Borja who incredibly headed it over the target with an open goal. Three minutes later, Lucas Lima took a corner, but Borja header missed the target again.
The game cooled down until the 39th minute, when Lucas Lima backed off a bit to receive the ball and sent it with a long pass to Diogo Barbosa on the left wing. The fullback performed a perfect cross to Dudu who was free to head the ball to the back of the net. Palmeiras 1-0 and this was the scorecard as the referee blew the whistle ending the first half.
No substitution in halftime for Palmeiras, and the first opportunities of the second half were again Inter’s. In the fifth minute, Edenílson fired from outside the box and the ball went just wide of Jailson’s right post. In the 11th minute, another opportunity for Inter: Patrick crossed the ball to Damião’s header, but Jailson stopped the equalizer.
Palmeiras game again improved only after some initial apprehensive minutes. In the 15th minute. Bruno Henrique concluded from outside the box, but just missed the target. In the 18th minute, Dudu passed to Borja, but the Colombian could not conclude well, going wide, very wide.
One minute later, ball to Borja again and he made a nice cut, sending the ball behind to Lucas Lima. The midfielder placed it beautifully, but unfortunately right into the left woodwork. In the 24th minute, Keno cleared the defenders out his way and fired away from outside the box, to an easy save by Danilo.
In the 28th minute, Damião received the ball behind Palmeiras’ defensive line and the referee had already called the offside when he shot to score the equalizer. The replay showed that Inter’s player was onside by a few centimetres.
In the 37th minute, Inter had their last clear opportunity to equalize the scorecard: Edenílson crossed the ball and Damião headed it just wide. Inter ballooned a few more balls in the last minutes, but nothing too threatening. This time, Palmeiras were able to hold on to the lead.
The victory came with more difficulties than expected, but the three points is what matters. The Verdão now travels to Argentina to face Boca Juniors on Wednesday for the Libertadores Cup. The game has all the ingredients and will prove a major test for our squad. It will not be easy, but a victory would practically assure Palmeiras a spot in the knockout phase of the competition.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi