Against Colo-Colo, Palmeiras played the game everyone had expected in the second leg against Cerro: a game of patience, looking for the spaces that the opponent inevitably would have to offer up, and seize opportunities as they appear. The result: a smooth, solid victory and a spot in the semi-finals of the Libertadores Cup.
The starting-eleven against Colo-Colo was Felipão’s usual in knockout tournaments: Weverton; Mayke, Antônio Carlos, Edu Dracena and Victor Luis; Thiago Santos, Bruno Henrique and Moisés; Dudu, Willian and Borja. Diogo Barbosa was not available due to a heel discomfort and Felipe Melo, suspended.
As of kick-off, Thiago Santos was on Chilean playmaker Valdivia like a band-aid, dramatically reducing Colo-Colo’s offensive drive. Slow-cooking the game until Colo cooled down, Palmeiras gradually moved up positions and started creating opportunities. In the 38th minute, Dudu carried the ball all the way from midfield before firing away from outside the box with his left foot. A wonderful goal!
Two minutes after the goal, Colo-Colo almost reached the equaliser through Insaurralde with a close-range shot that Weverton, on his toes, saved.
Back from the halftime break, Palmeiras remained unaltered. With 8 minutes on the clock, Dudu was tackled inside the box, the referee awarding the penalty. Borja took it to score his ninth goal in ten games in the competition. The Colombian is now tied with Morelo (Independiente Santa Fe, already eliminated) as top scorer of this year’s edition of the Libertadores Cup: two more goals and he will equal Tupãzinho’s mark from 1968 as top scorer for Palmeiras in a single edition. Overall top scorer in one edition is Daniel Onega, who in 1966 scored 17 goal for River Plate.
Borja was awarded the Golden Boot of the Paulistão for finishing top scorer: what an opportunity to bag a second trophy!
With the classification already secured, Felipão substituted Borja and Dudu for Hyoran and Deyverson. During the remainder of the game, Palmeiras created several opportunities to increase the lead, but the final result ended up mirroring the first leg: 2-0. Enjoy the highlights below.
Luiz Felipe Scolari is now the only coach to have reached the semi-finals of the Libertadores Cup three times with Palmeiras. The semi-finals will take place on October 23th and 30th, the opponent either Cruzeiro or Boca Juniors, who battle it out later tonight. Boca have the advantage after winning the first leg 2-0.
Now, Palmeiras turn all their attention to the Brazilian Championship. On Saturday, the team faces São Paulo, the former leader, and a victory against our enemy widens the gap between the two to four points. This game will be insane!
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi