With the return of Danilo, Dudu and Rony in the starting eleven, while Scarpa was benched, Abel Ferreira prepared the team in a formation sporting three players in the defensive line, with Breno Lopes as a left-winger that would retreat when São Paulo had possession.
Although Palmeiras failed to have a shot on target in the first half, the best opportunities were ours: Renan and Gustavo Gómez each had one dangerous header on corners. Breno Lopes twice spoiled counter-attacks by trying to use his right foot instead of his weaker left when passing the ball to Rony. Weverton had to do some saves, but wasn’t much threatened by São Paulo in the first 45 minutes.
In the second half, Palmeiras continued solid, but in the 55th minute, São Paulo crossed the ball into the box and our defenders failed to put it away, allowing three shots to the opponent, two of them brilliantly saved by Weverton before the last one found the back of the net, signed Luan.
Although in disadvantage, Palmeiras did not changed the game plan. Dudu was in his best shape since returning to Palmeiras and in the 68th minute, he was fouled. Patrick de Paula, who had came on minutes earlier, fired a rocket into the bottom right corner of Tiago Volpi to equalize. Palmeiras even tried to go for the comeback, but lacking sharpness impeded our first victory against São Paulo in the Libertadores.
Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Luan, Gustavo Gómez and Renan; Danilo, Zé Rafael (Patrick de Paula) and Raphael Veiga (Gabriel Veron); Dudu, Breno Lopes (Wesley) and Rony (Luiz Adriano).
Renan received a yellow card.
Dudu finally had a good game since returning to Palmeiras. Pace, dribbles, decisive passes, fouls being won. Everything we were used to is being again delivered, with confidence, after a few games to re-adapt to the local football. Scoring is still missing, but the return leg at the Allianz Parque is an ideal scenario for it to happen.
The draw with goals away means that Palmeiras begin the return leg already progressing to the semifinals. If no goals are scored at the Allianz Parque next Tuesday, Palmeiras remain in the tournament, but it is always very dangerous to play for a draw.
Nine games against São Paulo in the Libertadores and Palmeiras remain without victories (3 draws and 6 losses). Although we don’t need a victory to progress to the semifinals, this sequence is due to be broken.
Before the decisive match against São Paulo, Palmeiras have another semi-decisive match in the Brasileirão: on Sunday, we face current leaders Atlético Mineiro in Belo Horizonte. Under normal circumstances, a defeat would be acceptable, but since we lost to Fortaleza at home, a draw against Atlético becomes of utmost importance to keep the gap at no more than two points.
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.