Ahead of the derby, bad vibes affected a majority of palmeirenses. Many feared Palmeiras would be favoured by the referees in a blunt attempt to show that “refereeing errors happen to everyone”. Others expected to once again get robbed. The overall mood was of dismay and tiredness, almost as if not caring for the derby.
As it happens, the game itself was not too different from recent clashes between the two: our players, perhaps a bit worn down due to the three consecutive away games, were not as intense as the men in black and white.The first opportunities were Corinthians’, two shots just wide Jailson’s posts. Palmeiras saw a golden opportunity to score in the 26th minute, but Thiago Santos incredibly hit the woodwork from inside the box. Immediately afterwards, as the result of a counter-attack, Corinthians scored the winner through Rodriguinho.
The goal destroyed the confidence of our players, who seemed to know the importance of scoring the opener: in the last 10 games between Palmeiras and Corinthians, the team to open the scorecard also won the game. In the last 19 games, not a single reverse: 5 draws and 14 victories to the team that scored the opener.
In the second half, the green and white seemed increasingly unmotivated, unable to find space between the opponent’s defensive line. Jailson on the other hand had to perform three brilliant saves to stop Corinthians from increasing their lead. But even on this poor afternoon, Palmeiras hit the woodwork twice more: Bruno Henrique with a long-range shot and Antônio Carlos with a header in the last minute of regular time (the header, strangely not included in the highlights below). With just a tiny bit of luck, the outcome of the game could have been different.
Referee Anderson Daronco did not directly influence the result, but should have sent Henrique to the showers in the 16th minute of the first half, when the Corinthians defender kicked Borja in the chest after the two had tangled up and fallen to the ground.
Another curiosity: flags on poles are prohibited in São Paulo stadiums, but many were seen yesterday in the least expensive sector of the Itaquerão. This was not commented during the transmission, neither did stadium security do anything about it. Some teams – and their supporters – just seem to get away with things.
Defeats against Corinthians always bring out the worst in our supporters. Palmeiras ultras yesterday issued a statement, demanding Roger Machado’s resignation. Borja and Lucas Lima haters were mushrooming everywhere. In addition, provocations from Corinthians’ official Twitter profile added fuel to the flames.
In moments like these, people need to stay cool. Palmeiras were runners-up in the São Paulo state Championship, secured a spot in the knockout phase of the Libertadores Cup with two rounds to go, and only two points separates us from the leader of the Brazilian championship. Palmeiras have put out some great performances so far, for example against São Paulo at the Allianz Parque, against Corinthians in the first leg of the Paulistão final, and last but certainly not least against Boca Juniors at La Bombonera. Obviously, the team needs adjustments, but that is only normal. Machado has been head coach for only five months. He remains the best choice for the position, we believe here at Anything Palmeiras.
After a sequence of four consecutive away games, Palmeiras can now look forward to (?) three games at home, in three different competitions. On Wednesday, Palmeiras take on the Colombian side Junior, from Barranquilla, for the last game of the Libertadores group stage. Palmeiras already classified, Machado is likely to spare a few players ahead of Saturday’s game against Bahia, valid for the sixth round of the Brasileirão. The third straight game at the Allianz Parque takes place on Wednesday the 23rd, against América Mineiro, determining which side advances to the quarterfinals of the Brazil Cup (Palmeiras have a 2-1 advantage from the first leg).
Again: coach, players and supporters need to keep their cool. Focus on the tasks ahead. Continuity is key.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
– – – ooo – – –
by Augusto Anteghini Oazi