The group stage of the São Paulo state Championship is finally over. Interrupted by a four-month break due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the tournament utility as a pre-season was completely lost.
Palmeiras topped their group with 22 points – the second best overall campaign, finishing the group stage with six victories, four draws and two defeats. The team scored seventeen goals and conceded only six, with seven clean sheets, recording the best defensive numbers of the competition.
However, in the games that mattered the most, Palmeiras offered up unconvincing performances, to put it mildly. The team was unable to beat competitors also in the top division of the Brazilian League, recording two draws (São Paulo and Santos) and two defeats (Corinthians and Red Bull Bragantino).
The poor performance against top contenders and the sloppiness observed in the two post-break games (Corinthians 1-0 SEP; SEP 2-1 Água Santa); have certainly rubbed supporters the wrong way, aggravated by the fact that a victory against Corinthians could have sealed the rival’s descent to the second division. Supporters are questioning if Luxemburgo’s the best man available for the job. A Paulistão title can change this perception and with four games to go, Luxemburgo must lift the trophy it if he wants to start the Brazilian League at peace with the crowds in the (virtual) stands.
In the quarterfinal, Palmeiras face Santo André. The first leg is on Wednesday 29th, at the Allianz Parque, 9:30 pm local time. A single game will determine who go to the semifinal and the only advantage of having a better campaign is playing at home; a draw takes the decision to a penalty shootout.
In the other quarterfinals, we have Santos vs. Ponte Preta, São Paulo vs. Mirassol and Red Bull Bragantino vs. Corinthians. The semifinal match-up depends on the overall campaigns of the advancing teams, so no telling at this point.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi & Kristian Bengtson