Palmeiras delivered against Melgar exactly what the supporters were expecting: a convincing victory against the weakest team in the group for the 30.023 supporters at the Allianz Parque.
As Deyverson’s suspension is only valid for the São Paulo state Championship, Felipão opted for a starting-eleven without Borja for the first time in six games. The line-up against Melgar was composed of Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Antônio Carlos, Gustavo Gómez and Victor Luís; Felipe Melo, Bruno Henrique and Ricardo Goulart; Scarpa, Dudu and Deyverson.
As of kick-off, Palmeiras, in a manner similar as against Junior in the first round, soon took control of the game, suffocating Melgar on their defensive half. The opportunities quickly emerged, but the deadlock was not broken due to the solid interventions of the Peruvian goalkeeper.
In the 25th minute, the pressure paid off. Dudu took a corner, Ricardo Goulart deflected the ball and Felipe Melo was free by the far post to head it into the back of the net. Five minutes later, same Felipe Melo tackled Arias very heavily, from behind, but was amazingly spared by the complacency of the referee, who awarded him only a yellow card.
For the remainder of the first half, Palmeiras continued controlling the game and had a good opportunity to increase the lead with Deyverson, but the centre-forward missed the target, after stealing the ball off a defender.
The second half began similar to the first, and in the 54th minute, Palmeiras scored again. Gustavo Scarpa, on fire yesterday, crossed the ball from the right and Ricardo Goulart headed it unforgivingly to score his first goal in the Libertadores Cup.
Ricardo Goulart exhibition was tremendous and in the 70th minute, he assisted Deyverson, who dribbled two defenders and slammed the ball into the back of the net to score the third goal. The three points were guaranteed and Palmeiras just managed the result until the final whistle.
Despite the technical gap between Palmeiras and Melgar, it was a convincing exhibition of the men in green. There was not a single minute where the victory was threatened, Weverton being almost a spectator again, and many opportunities were created, and most importantly, converted into goals.
For the second consecutive year, Palmeiras won the first two matches of the group stage of the Libertadores Cup, already creating a safe advantage to the team in the third spot and making the classification for the next stage easier.
Palmeiras’ next game in the Libertadores Cup is on 2 April against San Lorenzo, in between the two games valid for the São Paulo state Championship semi-finals (where we expect the Big Green to be). Knowing Felipão, he will most likely consider a draw in Argentina satisfactory. Nevertheless, through Palmeiras’ fast and furious counter-attacking style, a third consecutive victory is a real possibility.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi