Despite being in the relegation zone, it was known that Ceará would be a hard nut to crack. In the second half of the championship, ahead of yesterday’s game, the team supported the sixth best campaign.
Having a midweek challenge for the Libertadores Cup, Felipão opted for sparing some players, composing the starting-eleven with Weverton; Jean (Mayke), Antônio Carlos, Edu Dracena and Victor Luis; Felipe Melo, Bruno Henrique (Moisés) and Lucas Lima; Hyoran (Dudu), Willian and Deyverson.
In the initial minutes, Ceará tried to surprise Palmeiras with long-range shots, but Weverton’s goal remained unharmed despite the pressure.
In the 13th minute, Hyoran took a corner and Ceará’s defender put the ball away with his hand. The referee had already awarded another corner, when one of the assistants notified the handball and the referee was obliged to award the penalty. Bruno Henrique, on his 29th birthday, converted.
In the 34th minute, Bruno Henrique scored his second to increase Palmeiras’ lead, firing away from outside the box. The 2-0 on the scorecard suggested that the second half would be a tranquil affair.
Not so much, as in the last minute of the first half, Deyverson fought for the ball and left the marks of his studs on an opponent’s stomach. The red card was a given, Palmeiras playing the whole second half one man short.
Ceará seized the numeric advantage already in the 9th minute. Leandro Carvalho crossed the ball, Antônio Carlos failed to put it away and Arthur, signed by Palmeiras for the next season, pushed the ball into the back of the net.
For the remainder of the game, Ceará enjoyed superior ball possession, but could not create clear opportunities, while Palmeiras almost scored the third in counter-attacks, obliging Éverson to perform at least three great saves. Nevertheless, Ceará put quite the pressure on and Palmeiras supporters felt considerable relief at the final whistle.
Another thing to be noted was the propensity of the referee in giving yellow cards to suspend our players. Mayke, Lucas Lima and Bruno Henrique received inexplicable yellows cards and will not be available for the game against Flamengo.
The victory takes Palmeiras to 62 points. If Inter fail to beat Santos tonight, the gap for the runners-up will increase to four points.
Palmeiras now turn the attentions to a war in Buenos Aires. The first leg of the semifinal of the Libertadores Cup against Boca Juniors happens on Wednesday, at La Bombonera. Despite all the pronouncements of a fair refereeing, better prepare for an assault.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi