Palmeiras’ performance against Ponte Preta showed the evolution that supporters were expecting: the team created more opportunities to score, hitting the woodwork twice (Gómez and Scarpa), and the defensive line was more solid, despite a few errors fortunately not seized by the opponent. The winner was scored in the dying minute of the first half and with a bit of luck involved: a long distance shot from Patrick de Paula deflecting off a defender.
Felipe Melo received the sole yellow card awarded Palmeiras. He is at risk of not playing the second leg of the final, if he receives another yellow card in the first leg. Albeit he might not play the away or the home game: Melo felt muscular discomfort and will be assessed today.
Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Felipe Melo (Luan), Gustavo Gómez and Diogo Barbosa; Patrick de Paula, Gabriel Menino (Scarpa) and Ramires (Bruno Henrique); Rony (Lucas Lima), Willian (Zé Rafael) and Luiz Adriano.
The three players composing the midfield had a splendid journey. Despite being labeled as defensive midfielders, Ramires, Gabriel Menino and Patrick de Paula were very important to create the majority of the opportunities, including the goal. The two youths showed a maturity hard to find even in older players. “Why did it take so long for Palmeiras to use these talented youngsters?” is a common reflection. Beats most of us. Coach Luxemburgo yesterday said he saw no trouble fielding 16-17 year olds: “Take de Paula, he participated in tournaments in the favelas, rounds being fired into the sky, you think playing football will scare him?”.
There were many missed opportunities, mainly with Willian, that if seized would have made the game a lot easier. Opportunities like these can’t be missed in a final.
No red light. FULL SUPPORT MODE ON!
On the other side, the team that only classified because we failed to provide that gentle push that would see them tumble over the edge. The team that stole a championship from us in 2018, with help of the Federation. The team that today proclaimed they will refuse testing their players for Covid-19 ahead of the finals…
This week, against our biggest of rivals, we crave revenge.
The first game is on Wednesday 5th, at the Itaquera Stadium. The return leg, at the Allianz Parque, on Saturday 8th. Two games to make history. The stands will be empty, but our energy will be felt by our players.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi & Kristian Bengtson