Fluminense without five regular starters and a recently arrived coach. The kind of game Palmeiras needed to show evolution, boost morale and seriously re-enter the title race. The Verdão did start well, as usual, Dudu almost scoring in the fourth minute. Palmeiras continued to dominate the first half, with greater possession and nine finishes against only three for the cariocas. Nevertheless, Palmeiras were down one to nil at halftime.
In the second half, Palmeiras were but a shadow of the previous 45 minutes. No pace, no fury, predictable and lacking objectivity. Not one shot fired. Fluminense held on to the victory without suffering, leaving 18 million Palmeiras supporters wondering if Roger Machado has it in him to turn things around, to put Palmeiras back on track. Rarely, oh so rarely does is happen in Brazilian football. And at Palmeiras? Cannot remember the last time. Maybe I was yet to be born.
Felipe Melo received a yellow, his third, and is out against Paraná on the Sunday. So is Edu Dracena: in the dying minute of the game, the centre-back saw the red card after pointlessly challenging a Fluminense player from behind. That mental imbalance manifesting itself in several ways.
Don’t know what else to say, don’t know what needs to be fixed. But there are symptoms a plenty, they are alarming, and Roger Machado is running out of time.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!