Midway into a sequence of four consecutive away games, Palmeiras compute two victories. The team has mastered its game when at a distance from the Allianz Parque: so far in 2018, 11 victories out of 14 when playing as visitor. Atlético Paranaense at the Arena da Baixada is always a hard nut to crack, also due to the singularity of the artificial grass, but our players made it seem easy.
In Curitiba, Roger Machado revealed two surprises to the starting-eleven: Moisés and Willian replacing Lucas Lima and Borja, respectively. However, the novelty was short-lived, Moisés feeling a muscular discomfort already in the 6th minute, giving way to Lucas Lima.
Palmeiras exercised pressure high up on the field during the first minutes and had a good opportunity in the 13th minute, Felipe Melo’s header only just off-target. Atlético responded with a long-range shot from Zé Ivaldo, that Jailson brilliantly saved.
Atlético enjoyed some good moments and, in the 24th minute, Jailson tried to put away a crossed ball, but it offered itself to Rossetto, who fired away just over the crossbar. Four minutes later, Carleto took a dangerous free kick and Jailson saved Palmeiras again.
Palmeiras turned up the pressure again and managed to level the action, creating a good opportunity in the 36th minute, Felipe Melo firing away close to the Atlético keeper’s left post. In the 43rd minute, the opener: Dudu crossed the ball to Keno, who exercised good control before passing it to Bruno Henrique, who beautifully placed a shot in the top left corner, completely out of the keeper’s reach. Before the final whistle, Palmeiras saw another opportunity to increase their lead, but Lucas Lima missed the target.
Palmeiras came back in the second half with the same players and the same mentality: pressure, ball control, rapid transition. In the 14th minute, payoff: Lucas Lima took a short corner, passing the ball to Marcos Rocha, who delivered it to Dudu before sprinting towards the goal. Our captain fired away and on the rebound, there was Marcos Rocha to score his first goal in the white and green kit.
In the 16th minute, only moments after the second goal, Pablo headed and Jailson brilliantly saved Palmeiras again. In the 19th minute, Keno passed the ball to Willian, who shot to an easy save from the keeper. The game was full of pace, well played, with Palmeiras on counter-attacking mode.
In the 31st minute, Dudu passed the ball to Lucas Lima, but the midfielder missed the shot after having dribbled the keeper. Roger made his two remaining substitutions sending Hyoran and Thiago Santos to replace Keno and Felipe Melo.
In the 39th minute, Bruno Henrique recovered the ball and passed it to Hyoran. The youngster sent it to Willian, who outrun the Atlético defender before driving home Palmeiras’ third goal.
Atlético got a consolation goal with Pablo, in the 44th minute. Palmeiras incredibly did not score a fourth on stoppage time, Willian and Dudu both failing to conclude Marcos Rocha’s pass.
Palmeiras remain unbeaten in the Brazilian Championship and this victory takes the team to eight points and 2nd place overall in the tables. After four rounds, Flamengo are in the lead, at 10 points. Next game for the Brazilian Championship is the derby against Corinthians, on Mother’s Day (13 May). Yesterday, Felipe Melo received his third yellow and cannot play against our rivals. The gravity of Moisés’ muscular injury is unknown at the moment, but he is unlikely to be fit for fight by next weekend. Apart from these two, the full squad should be at Machado’s disposal on Sunday.
Before the derby, however, a very important challenge: on Wednesday, our players travel to Belo Horizonte to face América Mineiro, marking Palmeiras’ debut in the Brazil Cup. The competition has reached the round-of-16 and the 2018 edition has a prize pool never before seen in Brazilian football, with R$ 50 million (US$ 14.3 million) to the winner alone and a total of R$ 67 million to be distributed. With that kind of money at stake, can you afford not going all in?
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi