The terrible performance put out by Palmeiras in Salvador made the 1-1 draw against Bahia a reasonable result, as the team achieved the tenth consecutive unbeaten game in the Brasileirão.
With assisting coach Paulo Turra on the bench, replacing suspended Felipão, the starting-eleven was composed of Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Luan (Antônio Carlos), Gustavo Gómez and Victor Luis; Felipe Melo, Jean and Bruno Henrique (Dudu); Lucas Lima, Hyoran (Willian) and Borja.
Having suffered defeat in only two out of thirteen home games in this year’s Brazilian championship, Bahia started the game better than Palmeiras, putting a lot of pressure on our side and taking shots: already in the 5th minute, Weverton saved one from Gilberto from inside the box.
Ten minutes later, the punishment: Victor Luis tried to clear the ball, but sent it to the middle of the box, right to Ramires, who easily dribbled Felipe Melo before passing the ball to Gilberto to open the score. Had Victor Luis been more observant, he could easily have put Gilberto in an offside position to avoid the goal.
Behind in the scorecard, Palmeiras improved considerably defensively, but was not able to create scoring opportunities. Victor Luis and Hyoran failed everything they tried and so did an uninspired Lucas Lima. The only scoring opportunity derived from Marcos Rocha, who nutmegged a defender before crossing the ball to Borja, our centre-forward heading it over the crossbar.
Our centre-defender Luan had a particularly bad day: already in the first half, he felt discomfort in his calf and was substituted by Antônio Carlos. Later, on social media, Luan made public that his grandfather had just passed away.
Back for the second half, Paulo Turra did not provoke any substitution and the game remained the same. Neither of the keepers was threatened as the teams seemed stuck in midfield, missing a lot of passes.
In time, Dudu and Willian replaced Bruno Henrique and Hyoran, with increased mobility as the result. Slowly, Palmeiras advanced the positions and the pressure that followed led to a number of corners. The equaliser came after such a set piece: in the 32nd minute: Dudu took a corner and Felipe Melo rose higher than everybody to head the ball home.
Palmeiras could have scored a second, but all our players seemed out of synch, always blowing that last pass. The non-defeat must be celebrated as this was the worst performance put out since Felipão’s return. Perhaps due to his absence?
In terms of individual performance, the one positive aspect was centre-defender Gustavo Gómez, the Paraguayan showing both stability and personality. Don’t be surprised if he becomes a more regular feature alongside Antônio Carlos in important games.
Palmeiras remain three points from leader São Paulo, who tied 0-0 with Santos. Internacional play tonight against Chapecoense and a victory would propel the gaúchos back to the top, opening up a five-point gap to the Verdão.
Palmeiras now turn their attention to the Libertadores Cup. Soon embarking on a plane to Santiago de Chile, the mission is to secure a good result against Colo-Colo for the first leg of the quarterfinals. Our opponent have two former Palmeiras players in their squad: Valdivia and Barrios. Felipão will not have Felipe Melo and Deyverson at his disposal, as both saw the red card against Cerro Porteño. This clash will be something to write home about.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi