Abel is already preparing the terrain for the imminent leave of Matias Viña and opted for a starting eleven without the left-back. Renan took his place and Felipe Melo replaced Kuscevic, who didn’t have the time of his life in the first leg. In attack, Wesley came on for Breno Lopes.
Universidad Católica started the game a bit better than Palmeiras, but soon our players took control of the game. Opportunities were created at plenty, Universidad Católica on numerous occasions saved by their keeper and twice by the woodwork. In the 36th minute, Marcos Rocha seized the rebound after Veiga again hit the woodwork to finally open the scorecard.
Having lost the first leg and now behind on the scorecard, Universidad Católica launched an offensive needing two goals to progress to the quarterfinals. Palmeiras seized the spaces offered by the Chilean teams to set up counter attacks, but were unable to increase the lead. Católica’s goalkeeper had quite a night, halting all of our efforts.
In the end, Palmeiras won their eighth consecutive games (Brazilian League + Libertadores), the longest winning run under Abel, and progressed to the Libertadores quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season. Our opponent will be long time rivals São Paulo, against whom we hold a very negative record in the tournament.
Weverton; Marcos Rocha (Mayke), Felipe Melo (Kuscevic), Gustavo Gómez and Renan; Danilo, Zé Rafael and Scarpa; Raphael Veiga (Dudu), Wesley (Breno Lopes) and Deyverson (Gabriel Veron).
Marcos Rocha, Felipe Melo, Dudu, Renan and Weverton received yellow cards.
Another victory, another clean sheet. The last three goals Palmeiras conceded in the last seven games in all competitions were scored through penalties. Our defensive line is solid again and that is paramount for having a shot at another title in the Libertadores.
Although Católica’s goalkeeper was the main responsible for the minimal victory, Palmeiras need to improve the efficiency: against a better opponent, building a wider margin will make the game way safer.
The referee couldn’t see a player wearing green without showing a yellow card. 19 fouls against Palmeiras were awarded and five yellow cards distributed, the second highest and the highest tallies in this edition of the Libertadores, respectively.
The Libertadores pauses until August 11. Palmeiras now have three weeks of games only on weekends for the Brazilian League. The next challenge is against Fluminense, on Saturday 24th, at the Allianz Parque. Abel will probably line-up Palmeiras at full strength to maintain the lead.
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.