Not that anyone thought Tigres were to be a mere formality, but minds were without doubt envisioning playing Bayern in the finals. Tigres slashed our tire, Gignac scoring the sole goal on a penalty, making his side the first Mexican team ever to play a final of the FIFA Club World Cup. And let’s be honest, Palmeiras did not perform at the level needed to stop it from happening.
Weverton; Marcos Rocha (Mayke), Luan, Gustavo Gómez and Viña; Danilo (Felipe Melo), Gabriel Menino (Willian), Zé Rafael (Patrick de Paula) and Raphael Veiga (Scarpa); Rony and Luiz Adriano.
Luan and Gabriel Menino received yellow cards.
Weverton brilliantly saved Palmeiras three times in the first half and got very close of saving the penalty. Unfortunately, when the best player is the keeper, something is dead wrong.
Palmeiras didn’t play with the intensity needed for a decision, nor were players correctly positioned: they were mostly too far apart, there were no triangulations and most balls launched in direction of our forwards originated from the defensive line. Punishment came through a penalty that Luan should have avoided. Weverton would probably catch the ball before Tigres’ attacker, but the naivety of Luan put Palmeiras behind in the scorecard.
While all this holds true, we must never lose sight of the fact that Palmeiras had already played eleven games in 2021, were crowned Libertadores Champions on the Saturday, on the following Tuesday played Botafogo in the Brasileirão, then travelled 15 hours to arrive in Doha with a +6 hour time zone difference, to play the strong side of Tigres four days later.
Besides allowing Tigres’ best player Gignac roam free and create plenty of opportunities, Palmeiras did not seriously threaten Tigres throughout the whole game. In the last 10 minutes, we saw the team again resorting to long balls, desperate to find an equalizer, but ineffective in putting Tigres’ advantage at danger.
Unfortunately, we won’t have the chance of battling for our second title of the Club World Cup. Next game is a tedious dispute for third place against the loser of Bayern and Al Ahly before returning to Brazil to play the remainder of the Brazilian League and the finals of the Brazil Cup.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
– – – ooo – – –
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.