The uninteresting, unexciting, uninspiring first stage of the São Paulo state Championship is finally over. The biggest reasons for watching the games were to pray for our players not suffer any injuries and to gloat over São Paulo’s endless crisis.
Palmeiras topped its group with 25 points – the second best overall campaign. Surprisingly, the best overall campaign was not by one of the big four: Red Bull Brasil it is, with 27 points.
Palmeiras finished the group stage with seven victories, four draws and one defeat. The team scored thirteen goals and conceded only five, with eight clean sheets, recording the best defensive numbers of the competition.
In the three games that mattered – against Corinthians, Santos and São Paulo – Palmeiras recorded a defeat, a draw and a victory, respectively.
In the knockout stage, coach Felipão is allowed to substitute up to four players on the squad. He has already confirmed that centre-defender Juninho and forward Arthur Cabral will be registered, but gave no clue to which players are going to be left out.
In the quarterfinals, Palmeiras will face Novorizontino. The first leg is tomorrow, Saturday 21st, at 5pm in Novo Horizonte. The return leg will be played at the Pacaembu Stadium on Tuesday 24th. The Allianz Parque will be in preparation for two concerts of Sir Paul McCartney, therefore unusable for football games.
The championship ahead is completely different than the one played until now. In a knockout tournament, any lapse can result in elimination. Despite the continuous loss of relevance of the São Paulo state Championship, if Palmeiras is in a competition, the title is always the objective.
Below, the quarterfinals table.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
– – – ooo – – –
by Augusto Anteghini Oazi