Surprising a few supporters, against already relegated Coritiba Abel Ferreira opted for a line-up mixing regular starters as Marcos Rocha, Danilo and Gabriel Menino with players seen as the first alternatives to the starting-eleven as Willian, Kuscevic and Scarpa. The novelty was goalkeeper Vinícius, making his first appearance of this season, since Jailson, who would normally substitute Weverton, had to be quarantined after being in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID.
Both teams fired lots of shots, but most of them missed the target. Abel signaled he wanted a victory and in the second half promoted Patrick de Paula, Raphael Veiga and Luiz Adriano onto the pitch. Unfortunately, one minute later, Kuscevic was sent early to the showers, leaving Palmeiras one man short for the final 30 minutes. The punishment arrived late, in the 88th minute, Jonathan placing the ball well off Vinícius’ reach to declare victory for the home side.
Vinícius; Marcos Rocha, Kuscevic, Alan Empereur and Renan; Danilo (Breno Lopes), Gabriel Menino (Raphael Veiga) and Lucas Esteves; Scarpa (Luiz Adriano), Lucas Lima (Patrick de Paula) and Willian (Rony).
Kuscevic, Danilo and Renan received yellow cards. Kuscevic also received a red card.
It was good to see yet another player from our youth categories living up to expectations. Vinícius is certainly no kid, but he showed that he might soon be first option as Weverton’s replacement.
Opting for fielding some of the regular starters was confusing. Coritiba were already relegated, Palmeiras have nothing to compete for in the Brazilian League and tomorrow Friday play São Paulo, a derby no one want to lose. In addition to the disappointing result, Gabriel Menino left the pitch limping. Fingers crossed nothing serious is the matter.
Palmeiras’ performance against the bottom 4 of the Brazilian League is terrible. The excess of games, players with COVID and focus on other competitions are all valid excuses, but picking up 6 out of 24 points is outrageously poor. These are the games that removed Palmeiras as title contender.
Only two days of rest and Palmeiras already have a difficult battle ahead. The derby against São Paulo, for the 34th round, will be played Friday, 19th. Our opponent still have a distant chance of bagging the title, that will only remain alive if they beat us. Supporters expect Abel Ferreira to field his strongest side; after all, we’re talking “Choque Rei” here, the Royal Clash.
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.