Against already relegated Paraná, the worst team in the Brazilian Championship anno 2018, a victory was the only expected result. A conjunction of factors, including terrible weather, bad luck, strange substitutions and underperforming players resulted in a highly unlikely draw, frustrating millions of palmeirenses who had anticipated a gigantic step toward securing the Brasileirão title last Sunday.
With every man at his disposal, Felipão line-up was formed by Weverton; Mayke, Antônio Carlos, Edu Dracena and Diogo Barbosa; Felipe Melo, Moisés and Lucas Lima (Willian); Scarpa (Bruno Henrique), Dudu and Deyverson (Borja).
Despite playing away, the stands were packed with Palmeiras supporters, 30.000 and then some. Taking advantage of the positive atmosphere and the technical superiority, Palmeiras in the first twenty minutes exercised ball control and create a number of opportunities.
Then, heavy winds and rain hit the stadium. Like, really heavy winds. Visibility was low and any air ball was impossible to read. Playing against the wind, Palmeiras game deteriorated considerably. Then, in the 34th minute, the punishment: Antônio Carlos failed to anticipate Juninho on the left flank, who sprinted pass him and crossed the ball into the box and a meeting Keslley, who pushed it to the back of the net.
Palmeiras were hungry for the equaliser but almost suffered a second blow in the 41st minute, Weverton saving a close-range shot from Wesley Dias.
In the second half, Willian replaced Lucas Lima. In the 5th minute, the recently promoted forward fired away and Paraná midfielder Jhony put the ball away with his hand. The penalty was awarded and Scarpa converted to make it 1-1.
For the remainder of the game, it was attack vs defence, both teams giving it all they had. Some good opportunities were wasted, in particular involving Borja and Willian, with Dudu as playmaker, but the score remained unchanged. With that, Palmeiras’ undefeated streak in the Brazilian championship increased to 20, breaking the previous national record (Corinthians, 19 games, in 2017).
The draw against Paraná could have put the title in some jeopardy, but with Internacional’s defeat to Botafogo, the gap to the runners-up (now Flamengo, who beat Sport 1-0), remains at five points with only three round to go.
Palmeiras next game is at home, tomorrow Wednesday, against América Mineiro, desperately fighting to move out of the relegation zone. Should Palmeiras win and neither Flamengo nor Inter beat their opponents (Grêmio and Atlético Mineiro, respectively), we will celebrate a third national title in four years of play at the Allianz Parque. Palmeiras’ tenth Brazilian Championship title.
CONTROL THAT ANXIETY, ENJOY THE MOMENT.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi and Kristian Bengtson