Squad still shattered by covid-19 and injuries, Abel Ferreira found eleven players in condition to play and did his best to organize a team with them. Despite the oddness of the line-up, with Mayke as left-back and Rony as centre-forward, his bet in Ecuador paid out: Palmeiras route for the quarterfinals of the Libertadores Cup is well paved.
The defensive strength in the first half was enough to neutralize Delfín and the opener came with Gabriel Menino, assisted by Rony, in the 18th minute. In the 36th minute, Lucas Lima was taken down in the box and the referee awarded the penalty after being called by the VAR, Rony taking the shot giving no chances to the goalkeeper.
In the second half, Palmeiras were pressured back in the initial quarter, Delfín executing a lengthy blitz. However, in the 60th minute, Rony found Zé Rafael entering the box; he dribbled two defenders before slotting it home, making it 3-0 on the scorecard. Ten minutes later, Delfín reduced the advantage through an own goal signed Ramires, but it was not enough to put them back in the game. The final result gives Palmeiras a great advantage for the second leg.
Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Emerson Santos, Gustavo Gómez and Mayke; Patrick de Paula, Ramires (Renan), Zé Rafael (Danilo), Gabriel Menino and Lucas Lima (Lucas Esteves); Rony (Gabriel Silva).
Patrick de Paula and Ramires received yellow cards.
Another knockout game under Abel Ferreira command – his first appearance in the Libertadores Cup – where Palmeiras secure a great advantage in the first half of the first leg. The team enters the pitch focused and slow-cooks the opponent during the first fifteen minutes, waiting for the right opportunities to strike. Yesterday, Delfín’s goalkeeper gave us a bit of a hand in the first goal, but the uniformity of these performances is exciting.
One goal and two assists should be enough for a standing ovation for Rony, but he also missed two opportunities face-to-face with the goalkeeper, the kind of goals that would be crucial in a more challenging game. Rony just isn’t quite there yet, there is something missing. Fingers crossed he finds it as we now move into the decisive stages of the three tournaments.
The inattention in the first minutes of the second half almost put Delfín back in the game. There were at least three dangerous opportunities that could have decreased Palmeiras’ lead before our third goal, taking the game down a very different path.
Palmeiras return their attention to the Brazilian League, playing at the Allianz Parque against Athletico Paranaense, on Saturday 28th. The opponent is on a streak of four consecutive victories, breathing fresh air after having spent the entire first half of the championship in the relegation zone. This will no doubt be a tough game, a real test. Good thing Abel can count on some players having recovered from covid.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi & Kristian Bengtson
*Here at Anything Palmeiras, we love football. We love Palmeiras. We are always keen to see Palmeiras play, and keen to write about it for you. But we’re against the return of football in a country that still hasn’t controlled the coronavirus pandemic. We express our deepest sympathy to the families whose loved ones have been taken by the disease.