With four regulars suspended – suspiciously so, one should add – and a few players recovering from injury, Scolari had to improvise against Flamengo at the Maracanã last Sunday in “the game to define the title”, as most of the specialised press treated the clash. Felipão’s line-up consisted of Weverton; Luan (Gómez), Antônio Carlos, Edu Dracena and Victor Luis; Felipe Melo (Moisés), Thiago Santos and Guerra (Willian); Dudu, Hyoran and Borja. Centre-back on the right flank, Guerra and Hyoran as of kick-off… Far from ideal.
More than 65.000 supporters at the Maracanã, less than 3.000 tickets destined to the visitors. Palmeiras pressured and tired, recently returned from the long trip to Buenos Aires and the demoralising defeat against Boca Juniors.
We saw a game of two distinct halves: the first very tied-up and with zero scoring opportunities; the second the complete opposite, primarily due to Dudu opening the scorecard – Palmeiras’ 200th goal at the Maracanã – already in the 50th minute, triggering Flamengo to open up spaces in the chase for the equaliser, reached in the 80th minute. A just result considering what we saw on the pitch, and an excellent result for Palmeiras, keeping the four-point advantage to runners-up Flamengo with seven rounds to go of the Brasileirão.
Rest – physical and mental – is on the menu ahead of Wednesday night’s battle with Boca Juniors, at the Allianz Parque, Palmeiras needing to revert the 2-0 suffered at La Bombonera. With most players back at Scolari’s disposal, Anything Palmeiras’ pick for starting eleven would be Weverton; Mayke, Luan, Gustavo Gómez, and Diogo Barbosa; Felipe Melo, Bruno Henrique and Lucas Lima; Dudu, Gustava Scarpa and Borja. Plenty of offensive creativity and concluding power (LL, BH and Scarpa), not least from outside the box, which could prove effective against Boca’s not so solid keeper.
Wednesday, a clash of titans.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!