Third away game in a row. Third victory distant from the Allianz Parque. Palmeiras are the visitors no host wants to receive: they come to your house and grab what they want without even asking.
Roger Machado went all in, his starting-eleven featuring all the regular players: Jailson; Marcos Rocha, Antônio Carlos, Edu Dracena, Diogo Barbosa; Felipe Melo, Bruno Henrique, Lucas Lima; Keno, Dudu and Borja.
The first shot came in the 12th minute, but João Ricardo saved Dudu’s attempt. América responded four minutes later with a long-range shot from Christian. The game was full of pace. In the 17th minute, Borja crossed the ball and Dudu headed directly into the keeper’s hands.
Shortly after, Borja blew two opportunities that made his critics stock raving mad: in the 21st minute, he was free inside the box, receiving the ball from Lucas Lima, but stumbled on it and had to pass it to Dudu, missing the target. Two minutes later, it was Dudu who passed the ball and the Colombian who incredibly missed an open goal opportunity.
In the 34th minute, América found Palmeiras’ defensive line off guard and Serginho took a dangerous shot, just wide. In the 37th minute, Borja’s redemption: Lucas Lima perfectly crossed the ball from the left and our forward sent it to the back of the net. Hallelujah!
América pushed hard for the equalizer before halftime, and in the 41st minute, Luan – yes, the former Palmeiras player Luan – hit the net, but on the outside. That was all for the first half.
No substitution in halftime for Palmeiras, and the first opportunity of the second half was América’s: Luan crossed from the left and Rafael Moura concluded from inside the box, the ball deflected off Diogo Barbosa before Jailson’s giant save.
In the 11th minute, Borja and Keno swapped roles: Keno passed to Borja, advancing wide on the right wing, and then sprinted towards the box. The Colombian returned the ball nicely and Keno concluded as an authentic centre forward to score Palmeiras’ second.
In the 25th minute, Bruno Henrique fired a beautiful shot from outside the box, João Ricardo performing a great save. On the corner, América recovered the ball and almost scored after a counter-attack, Felipe Melo intercepting the ball in the last moment.
In the 27th minute, defender Antônio Carlos faltered in front of Aylon and lost the ball: all Aylon had to do was roll the ball to Serginho, free inside the box, to decrease Palmeiras’ lead.
In the 34th, Jailson saved a header from Aylon. Moments later, Marquinhos – yes, former Palmeiras player Marquinhos – took a free kick to the net, also him to the outside. América pressed hard but ran out of gas and in the dying minutes, Palmeiras were close to regain the 2-goal lead, but the scorecard remained intact.
With the result, a tie at the Allianz Parque in two weeks’ time equals a spot in the quarterfinals of the Brazil Cup. Our players now turn their attention back to the Brazilian Championship, where Corinthians await, on Sunday, at the Itaquerão stadium. Can’t wait to see which “error” the referee will indulge in this time.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi