Internacional were set to be the Mano Menezes’ biggest challenge to date as Palmeiras coach, and the game proved every bit as difficult, with two very distinct halves – the first with Palmeiras extremely bad and the second, surprisingly good. Palmeiras left the Beira-Rio stadium with a draw, Willian’ astonishing goal imperative to limit the gap to leaders Flamengo at three point. Inter remain unbeaten at home in this year’s Brasileirão.
Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Gustavo Gómez, Vitor Hugo and Diogo Barbosa; Felipe Melo, Bruno Henrique, Scarpa (Lucas Lima); Hyoran (Willian), Dudu and Luiz Adriano (Borja).
Lucas Lima and Borja received yellow cards.
Palmeiras showed focus and strength in the second half to revert an adverse situation, Menezes moving the right pieces. After scoring the equaliser, the team kept the pressure up and did not leave victorious only due to a spectacular save from Marcelo Lomba and a highly controversial decision by the referee. Once again, Lucas Lima came on and performed well, changing things up; don’t be surprised if he’s in the starting eleven upcoming Sunday.
Right fullback Marcos Rocha seems to play well only when his competitor for the position steps it up. With Mayke injured, Marcos Rocha seem less on top of his game.
Palmeiras’ performance in the first half was a disaster and we were lucky going into halftime only one goal down. On the other hand, and as already mentioned: the team’s reaction after the break was impressive.
Impossible not to mention the terrible and game-defining decision from the referee, disallowing Palmeiras’ second goal late in the game. The ball may or may not have hit Willian’s hand – no camera angle allows for certainty either way – but what cannot be discussed is that Willian was pushed from behind (the referee acknowledges this by raising his arms, signalling that he’s allowing the action to continue, in Palmeiras’ advantage) and that the push was responsible for the hand ball (if there ever was one). VAR stepping in is questionable in itself. The referee then changing his ruling and disallowing the goal is even more questionable. The ball subsequently being returned to Inter, instead of Willian being granted the free kick… Seriously… Makes you want to give up on Brazilian football altogether.
Palmeiras enjoy a full week of rest and training to prepare for Sunday’s home game against Atlético Mineiro. Our opponents have a busier week, as they in two days’ time play Vasco da Gama. Mano will have the full squad at his disposal, save Mayke and Ramires, still recovering from injury.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi & Kristian Bengtson