The dark cloud casting its shadow over Palmeiras post Copa América still lingers. The team played a very good first half, scoring an early opener and creating countless opportunities to increase the lead through rapid counter-attacks, but blew them all. In the second half, Grêmio pushed harder, without ever threatening, and Scolari – instead of insisting on the strategy that almost worked to perfection in the first half – backed home, made defensive alternations and… When you give chance half of a chance, punishment is almost certain. A long shot, one in a thousand, from Grêmio centre-back Braz, with only minutes to go. Unlucky, yes. But more than that, unnecessary. Palmeiras had this, but Felipão let it slip, something he himself acknowledged in the post-match meeting with the press.
Weverton; Mayke (Marcos Rocha), Antônio Carlos, Gustavo Gómez and Victor Luís; Thiago Santos, Matheus Fernandes (Bruno Henrique) and Raphael Veiga; Dudu (Ramires), Hyoran and Borja.
Incredibly, not a single card handed out to players on either side; Felipão got a yellow.
Dudu scored a beautiful goal, Palmeiras executing a textbook counterattack, and our Little Giant is once again proving that he becomes (even more) decisive in the second semester. Hyoran and Matheus Fernandes seized the opportunity to show they can be useful to Felipão.
Palmeiras have played six games for the Brazilian Championship since the Copa América break, coming out without a single clean sheet. Yesterday though, truth be told, the defensive line was solid, the equaliser highly unlikely.
The six consecutive games without winning have made Palmeiras slip from first to third in the tables, on the same number of points as Flamengo (30), and two points behind Santos, who today Sunday play Cruzeiro away, looking at increasing the lead to five points. Atlético Mineiro and Corinthians complete the top 5, both on 27 points. Palmeiras are likely to descend further, as next week’s game against Fluminense – round 16 of the Brasileirão – has been postponed to 10 September due to clashing agendas with other competitions (Libertadores in our case, South America Cup in Fluminense’s).
Palmeiras remain in Porto Alegre, preparing for Tuesday’s recap of yesterday’s clash, but this time aiming to secure a spot in the Libertadores semifinals. Conditions will be completely different, as both teams this time will field their very best and the stadium will be packed. If yesterday’s draw was a clear defeat, a draw on Tuesday must be considered a good result.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi & Kristian Bengtson