Although many players luckily have recovered from covid, injuries and suspensions made picking the starting-eleven against Santos a challenging task. With coach Abel Ferreira isolated in a hotel after contracting the virus, Vitor Castanheira took the helm to maintain the good momentum of the team, still in pursuit of the leaders.
With Emerson Santos improvised as a defensive midfielder, Palmeiras begin the first half pressing Santos and creating a few opportunities to open the scorecard, but the home team responded well, also creating chances before scoring the opener in the 38th minute following an individual error of Viña.
Palmeiras began the second half again pressing Santos, but this time, the team took full advantage of two corners to move ahead in the score: in the 42nd minute, the referee awarded a penalty (handball on Lucas Veríssimo) and Raphael Veiga converted. Two minutes later, Willian seized a ball deflected off Zé Rafael and scored Palmeiras’ second. Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long, with Marinho scoring a beautiful goal in the 71st minute to put final numbers to the game.
Weverton; Mayke, Luan, Alan Empereur (Kuscevic) and Viña; Emerson Santos, Zé Rafael and Raphael Veiga; Lucas Lima (Breno Lopes), Veron and Willian (Gabriel Silva).
Mayke, Emerson Santos and Mayke received yellow cards. Zé Rafael received a red card on stoppage time of the second half.
Playing against the hardest opponent since the arrival of Abel Ferreira and his crew, Palmeiras overcame the lack of important players to pull a reasonable result playing at the Vila Belmiro. Palmeiras even had an opportunity to score the winner in the 90th minute, but we can’t complain bringing one point back home with us.
The reaction the team showed under Abel Ferreira command may have come too late. With São Paulo in excellent shape, Palmeiras might finish the round nine points behind the leaders, with just fifteen matches remaining to be played. It’s not impossible to close the gap, but it’s getting harder.
The criteria of the referee called everyone’s attention. In the first half, Mayke suffered a very rough challenge from Soteldo, from behind, and by a miracle Mayke wasn’t carried out on a stretcher. Soteldo was adverted with a mere yellow card. Later, in the dying minutes of the second half, another heavy challenge, this time from Zé Rafael on Filipe Jonathan, but up front, and the palmeirense was sent to the showers. Why did the VAR ask for a revision in the latter situation but not in the former? This is the black box of Brazilian refereeing we might never see opened.
Palmeiras travel to Paraguay to face Libertad for the first leg of the Libertadores Cup quarterfinals. The game, on Tuesday 8th, will be Palmeiras’ hardest challenge. So far in the tournament, Palmeiras are unbeaten. Probably, Abel Ferreira won’t be back on the bench, assistant Vitor Castanheira replacing him for the third time.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi
*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.