With the progress to the round-of-16 already guaranteed since the fourth round, Abel Ferreira opted again for an alternative line-up, this time maintaining Gómez and Weverton in the starting eleven. The best campaign of the group stage was already Atletico’s, but Palmeiras were able to slaughter the opponent and build the biggest win the Allianz Parque has ever seen.
In the 18th minute, Universitario had a player sent off after kicking Weverton’s head, but Palmeiras only found the opener in the 40th minute, with Viña. A few minutes later Zé Rafael increased the lead and the doubt in halftime was for how many more goals Palmeiras would score.
In the 55th minute, Gustavo Gómez scored Palmeiras’ third goal and his 16th for the Verdão, advancing him to 7th position on Palmeiras’ list of top-scoring defenders. Willian added one more to the count five minutes later. Then, Abel sent Rony to the game and Mr. Libertadores scored twice before the final whistle. 6-0 and lots of other opportunities that could’ve been converted made the game a joy to watch.
Weverton; Danilo Barbosa, Gustavo Gómez (Luan) and Alan Empereur (Rony); Gabriel Menino, Scarpa, Danilo (Patrick de Paula), Zé Rafael and Viña; Willian (Luiz Adriano) and Wesley (Raphael Veiga).
Gustavo Scarpa received a yellow card.
Even in a game that hadn’t too much importance, Palmeiras showed a hunger for victory and a relentless pursuit for more goals. The players knew that it was a chance to show their value to coach Abel and some of them gathered some new arguments for being in the starting eleven more often.
The juvenile goal in the last minute against Defensa y Justicia didn’t permit Palmeiras to be the best team in the group stage for the fourth consecutive year.
Somebody needs to tell Rony to save some goals for other tournaments! He’s already the second top scorer for Palmeiras in the Libertadores, with 11 goals (tied with Tupãzinho, Willian and Borja), only behind Alex (12 goals).
The round-of-16 fixture will be drawn on June 1st, but the Libertadores will be on halt for a few weeks during the Copa America. Meanwhile, Palmeiras debut for the Brazilian League on Sunday 30th against Flamengo. The probably toughest game of the tournament already in the first round, putting the current league champions and the current Libertadores and Brazil Cup champions face-to-face. Buckle up for a truly great game!
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.