Palmeiras and Novorizontino can be considered, by movie standards, a trilogy. For the third consecutive year, the teams met in the quarterfinals, and as in a nice family-film with happy ending, the outcome was the same each year: a superb classification of the men in green.
This year, Novorizontino toughened up in the first leg. Playing at Novo Horizonte, the team opened the scorecard, had an opportunity to increase the lead through a penalty that Fernando Prass brilliantly saved and made Palmeiras suffer a little for the equaliser.
The first leg will be remembered as the first game Palmeiras played with the Video Assistant Referee in the São Paulo state Championship. And the Football Federation of São Paulo showed us that even with VAR, they know how to favor our opponents. Novorizontino’s goal initiated with a handball that the field referee failed to see and the VAR simply ignored. In contrast, the VAR did not ignore the handball not seen by the referee that then served to reward Novorizontino a penalty.
Despite the draw in the first leg, Palmeiras was still the absolute favorite to classify to the semifinals and the expectations were confirmed in the second leg.
Playing at the Pacaembu Stadium, Palmeiras opened the score with just five minutes on the clock. Four minutes later and the lead was increased by Ricardo Goulart. In the second half, two penalty goals, by Scarpa and Dudu, and the finisher, Scarpa again, completed the biggest goleada since Felipão returned.
With the other results, Palmeiras is now the best team among the remaining four and will play against the team with the worst campaign, São Paulo. In the group stage, Palmeiras have already defeated São Paulo by 1-0. Being in the pole position, Palmeiras have the advantage to play the return leg at home. The first will be on Saturday, at the Morumbi Stadium.
This is the sixth consecutive year Palmeiras figures in the semifinal. The team has the opportunity to dispute two consecutive finals of the São Paulo state Championship for the first time in the century.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi