After a few matches testing different formations, we saw what Abel Ferreira considers his best team available. With the exception of Patrick de Paula, recovering from COVID-19, the Portuguese coach had all options open for the first leg against Grêmio and opted for Felipe Melo and Zé Rafael in favor of Gabriel Menino and Danilo.
The defensive strategy was successful and Grêmio didn’t threat Weverton’s goal. Palmeiras showed some of the habitual difficulties to create opportunities, but in the 32nd minute, Gustavo Gómez appeared alone on a corner kick delivered by Veiga to open the scorecard with a strong header: clearly a well-trained and well-executed set piece! This was Gómez’s 14th goal for Palmeiras, which makes him one of the all time top ten scoring defenders for the club.
Palmeiras blew two excellent chances to increase the lead with Luiz Adriano and Rony, both assisted by an inspired Veiga, before Luan put everything at risk with a juvenile elbow that rendered him a red card in the 64th minute. For the remainder of the game, Palmeiras’ only goal was to avoid the equalizer, a mission successfully accomplished, but not without a number of thrilling moments. This was game number 100 between Palmeiras and Grêmio, the stats now reading 42 victories for Palmeiras, 21 for Grêmio and 37 draws.
Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Luan, Gustavo Gómez and Viña; Felipe Melo, Zé Rafael (Danilo) and Raphael Veiga (Gabriel Menino); Wesley (Alan Empereur), Rony (Mayke) and Luiz Adriano (Gabriel Veron).
Zé Rafael and Willian received yellow cards. Luan received a direct red card.
The strategy chosen by Abel Ferreira to stop Grêmio’s attack worked very well up to the point where Luan was sent off. Marcos Rocha, Felipe Melo and Gustavo Gómez were flawless, helping Weverton to maintain another clean sheet for Palmeiras.
Luiz Adriano and Rony had the chances to practically secure Palmeiras’ third title of the season. Our forwards remain inefficient.
Luan had ball possession, would probably suffer a foul and Palmeiras would continue to control the match, but our defender inexplicably rammed his elbow into Diego Souza’s face. Some players grow to the occasion, while Luan seems to tilt in important games. In the Club World Cup, he was responsible for the penalty that eliminated Palmeiras. What to do with a player like this?
Incredibly, Palmeiras have a derby against Corinthians for the debut on the São Paulo state Championship before the second leg of the final. Despite the historical importance of the game, Abel may field an alternative lineup on Wednesday, as the real challenge is scheduled for upcoming Sunday, 7th, where a draw is enough to secure the Brazil Cup anno 2020!
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.