Abel promoted Felipe Melo, Patrick de Paula and Luiz Adriano to the starting-eleven for the game against Chapecoense, also inverting the sides of Luan and Gustavo Gómez, with the Brazilian playing on the left, and the Paraguayan on the right.
Counting on the fragility of the opponent, Palmeiras didn’t take too long to open the scorecard. In the 10th minute, Dudu passed the ball to Wesley, who assisted Raphael Veiga’s left-footed shot that died in the net. 18 minutes later, the ball offered itself to Piquerez inside the box; the left-back’s shot went wide, but Luiz Adriano was in the right place and alert, deflecting it to score Palmeiras’s second.
The advantage, Chapecoense’s powerlessness, the proximity to the Libertadores semifinal: everything contributed to a second half no one will remember existed. Abel contributed to the bore by playing on the safe side and changing the defensive line from four to five players, running som (apparently failed) tests. In the end, the three points were guaranteed, but the entertainment was confined to the first half.
Weverton; Marcos Rocha (Gabriel Menino), Luan, Gustavo Gómez and Piquerez; Patrick de Paula (Matheus Fernandes), Felipe Melo and Raphael Veiga (Rony); Dudu (Gabriel Veron), Wesley (Renan) and Luiz Adriano.
Patrick de Paula and Felipe Melo received yellow cards.
Although not an outstanding performance, Palmeiras played enough to bag the three points and avoid an increase in the gap to the leaders. The team had a clean sheet after five consecutive Brasileirão games conceding, which is an important evolution for the remainder of the season. Also, Luiz Adriano ending his three months dry spell was a welcome.
The attitude in the second half is comprehensible due to the proximity of the Libertadores semifinals, but some players that are currently second options, like Gabriel Menino and Matheus Fernandes, could have showed a little more impetus. The message coming across is that they’re comfortable being on the bench.
The distance to the leaders now seem insurmountable, Atlético Mineiro stand at 45 points, seven ahead of Palmeiras. Maybe in a few rounds we can reevaluate our expectations, but the title is currently a rather distant dream after six terrible rounds.
Palmeiras need to change the mindset completely for the next game. The Libertadores’ semifinals have arrived and our opponent is probably the hottest team in Brazil at the moment. Atlético Mineiro, with their stellar squad and coach Cuca, come to São Paulo to play the first leg at the Allianz Parque on Tuesday, 21st.
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.