Yesterday’s victory was overshadowed by the cowardly attack on the bus transporting the Palmeiras squad to the Allianz Parque.
Approaching the stadium, the bus was rerouted. On the last stretch before reaching the Allianz Parque, a group of some 20 Palmeiras supporters ambushed it, throwing stones and bottles that broke the glass and pierced holes in the hull of the vehicle, injuring some of the passengers. Only two of the thugs were arrested; investigations suggest the attack is related to a power dispute within fractions of Palmeiras ultras.
It is unbelievable that only four months after winning the Brazilian Championship for the tenth time, our players and staff have to endure something like this. Needless to say, this kind of violence is unacceptable under ANY circumstance, no matter how the team is performing. The police and Palmeiras must do their outmost to identify the perpetrators and seek their punishment not only within the legal system, but also make sure they never set foot at the Club or Allianz Parque.
Now, regarding the game, Felipão opted for Weverton; Mayke, Luan, Gustavo Gómez and Diogo Barbosa; Felipe Melo, Bruno Henrique and Zé Rafael (Felipe Pires); Dudu, Scarpa (Hyoran) and Deyverson (Ricardo Goulart). This was the first time Zé Rafael was a starter for Palmeiras, and he did alright.
As the game unrolled, we witnessed a team that was visibly nervous, shook up due to the attacks. Still, Palmeiras’ technical superiority dominated, allowing for opener in the 20th minute: Junior’s goalkeeper saved two difficult shots – from Scarpa and Dudu – but Deyverson was unforgiving on the last rebound to head the ball into the back of the net.
The superiority carried through into the second half: in the 55th minute, Dudu released all his fury from mid-range, a beauty that left the keeper with no chance. In the dying minute, Hyoran executed a pornographic one-two with man-of-the-match Dudu to push the ball into an empty goal.
Junior’s supporters better pray in order to avoid Palmeiras in future editions of the Libertadores Cup: in the last four games between the two teams (Libertadores 2018 and 2019), Palmeiras have a perfect track record, having scored 11 goals and conceded only one.
In the other game of the group, San Lorenzo beat Melgar 2-0. Palmeiras thus remain one point behind the Argentinian team, but a spot to the knockout stage is practically secured – a draw against Melgar on 25 April guarantees the classification.
Palmeiras can now look forward to two full weeks of rest and training, without games. Should be more than enough time for Felipão to make the team evolve, while also improve the physical conditions of the players. We expected the team to be flying after this sabbatical period.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi & Kristian Bengtson