In a game full of injustices and with the referee making some debatable decisions – for good and for bad, from a palmeirense point of view – Palmeiras and Libertad scored one goal each, leaving the decision for the spot in the semifinals to the second leg.
Libertad had plenty of chances to open the score in the first half but it was Palmeiras that, in the 39th minute, with their first attempt at goal took the lead through a firm header signed Gustavo Gómez, taking full advantage of a corner. In the 62nd minute, when things appeared under control, Weverton tried to intercept a crossed ball but timed it badly, Espinoza deflecting it to equal the score. Both teams had opportunities to score the winner in the last minutes, with the final whistle echoing immediatley after Libertad having hit the woodwork for the second time of the night.
Weverton; Gabriel Menino, Luan, Gustavo Gómez and Viña; Danilo, Zé Rafael (Emerson Santos) and Raphael Veiga (Lucas Lima); Scarpa (Gabriel Silva), Veron (Breno Lopes) and Rony (Willian).
Zé Rafael, Raphael Veiga and Gabriel Menino received yellow cards. Lucas Lima was sent off after receiving two yellow cards.
The result is reasonable when taking into consideration that it was a quarterfinal away game in the Libertadores Cup. A goalless draw at the Allianz Parque propels Palmeiras to the semifinals. The return of coach Abel Ferreira should improve the team’s overall performance, albeit several of the players are clearly still feeling the physical effects of their recent Covid-19 encounters.
Palmeiras almost went through the whole first half without firing a single shot against Libertad’s goal. It was the Big Green’s worst performance since the arrival of Abel. Fingers crossed this was only a momentary dip and that we’ll be spared from greater emotions during the return game.
Palmeiras counted with the so called “champions luck” to avoid bringing a negative result to the second leg. The Paraguayan team missed several very clear opportunities two score, hitting the woodwork twice, the last one in the dying minute of the second half, and the first defeat in the Libertadores Cup was closer than ever.
Keeping the pace of two games per week, alternating different competitions, Palmeiras play Bahia on Saturday, 12th. The game would be the re-encounter of Palmeiras with former coach Mano Menezes, but he received his third yellow card and won’t be on the sidelines for the game. Even focused on going through the next stage of the Libertadores Cup, Abel will likely line up the regular starters, looking to reduce the gap to the leaders of the Brasileirão.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
– – – ooo – – –
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.