One month ago, if someone had come from the future and told you “38 thousand supporters will applaud Deyverson at the Allianz Parque when he leaves the field after having scored the winner against Corinthians” you would have thought “Well, this person must be in drugs”. However, Felipão is a miracle worker.
Despite having tested the starting-eleven with youngsters Papagaio, Artur and Gabriel Furtado during the week, Felipão opted for a more conventional line-up against Corinthians: Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Luan, Gustavo Gómez and Victor Luis; Thiago Santos (Moisés), Felipe Melo and Lucas Lima; Dudu, Hyoran (Jean) and Deyverson (Willian).
As of kick-off, it became clear Corinthians would employ the tactics they have been using for many years: park the bus, wait for that odd opportunity, counting on the referees to tip the odds in their favour. What they did not expect was an extremely focused Palmeiras, very different from what we have seen in the last Derbies.
Despite Palmeiras’ superiority in the first half, no clear opportunities materialized. Deyverson come the closest: in the 36th minute, he stole the ball from a defender and fired away, just wide of Cássio’s right post. Four minutes later, he received a cross from Dudu, but headed it over the crossbar.
Feeling that Corinthians were offering less danger than a juvenile team, Felipão in halftime replaced Thiago Santos with Moisés, trading a bit of defensive strength for considerable offensive quality on the midfield. Palmeiras improved even further and in the 11th minute, the payoff: Moisés found Marcos Rocha wide on the right, the fullback serving Deyverson a precision drilled cross, which our striker pushed to the back of the net before bursting into tears. A very important goal, as minutes before, the referee had denied Palmeiras two penalties.
In the 28th minute, Dudu hit the crossbar after leaving four defenders behind; it would have been a sensational goal. In the 46th minute, Willian nutmegged Gabriel and crossed the ball to Dudu, who arrived a bit late to conclude. Palmeiras were closer to score the second than Corinthians to fire a single shot against Weverton – our keeper finished the game without having performed a single save.
Palmeiras put out yet another consistent performance under Felipão’s command, the new-old coach achieving his 200th victory leading the Big Green. Both São Paulo and Internacional won their games, meaning Palmeiras still rest in third, three points behind the duo. Some sports journalists are still reluctant to admit they dramatically underestimated Felipão, but most of them have come to the cross by now.
Now the attention turns to the Brazil Cup, a very different kind of tournament. There are but four games between Palmeiras and the title and the sprint starts this upcoming Wednesday, at home, against Cruzeiro, for the first leg of the semi-finals. 25.000 tickets have already been sold and the Allianz Parque will be, once again, hell on earth. Unfortunately without Deyverson, suspended due to receiving a red card after elbowing an opponent in the quarterfinals. Deyverson is also suspended in the Libertadores Cup, having been sent off against Cerro Porteño. Yesterday, receiving a third yellow against Corinthians, he completed the hat trick: quite the achievement enjoying suspension in all three competitions simultaneously… Let’s hope Borja returns fully recovered against Cruzeiro and beyond.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi