Playing in Capivari, a town of some fifty thousand inhabitants in the countryside of São Paulo state, Palmeiras’ main opponent during the group stage was the terrible pitch conditions. Heavy summer rains have been hitting the city and only the last of the three group stage game was played on a reasonable turf.
Palmeiras 2-0 Galvez
As predicted, the first game without the seven regular starters called up for the South American U-20 featured a Palmeiras somewhat out of sync. In addition, the pitch resembled a swimming pool, particularly damaging to Palmeiras’ technical style of play, with rapid transitions. Nevertheless, the team overcame the obstacles and scored a goal in each half to beat the would-be runners-up in the group. Patrick de Paula and Josué scored the goals.
Palmeiras 1-0 XV de Piracicaba
Once more on a soaked pitch, Palmeiras experienced the same difficulties as against Galvez. The game saw very few opportunities and Palmeiras scored the sole goal with Marcus Meloni, firing away from outside the box, although it was XV that created the best opportunities, hitting the post twice and seeing a penalty not awarded.
Palmeiras 0-1 Capivariano
Despite the defeat, this was probably Palmeiras’ best performance in the group stage. The pitch conditions were better and the team managed to score two goals, both incorrectly flagged for offside. Capivariano scored in the dying minute of injury time, Palmeiras’ players perhaps lacking that little extra to stay alert until the final whistle.
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If previous editions of the São Paulo Youth Cup were goal feasts, this year’s edition has so far been much tighter. Tomorrow Friday, in the round of 64, Palmeiras face Vitória, from Bahia, in a single knockout match. Palmeiras have steadily improved in performance, despite yesterday’s defeat. However, further improvements are needed before this squad could be considered a serious title contender. It’s a shame our U-20 has been so decimated, but that’s the price you pay for success. Our boys will have to take it one game at the time, giving it the best they’ve got, while we, supporters, must keep our calm and understand the adverse conditions.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi