Palmeiras again made history. For the second consecutive year, Verdão will play the final of the Libertadores Cup, having the chance to be the first to win the tournament in two consecutive editions since Boca Juniors did so in 2000 and 2001.
Much was said before the game. Most people believed Palmeiras – the reigning champions of the tournament, the team with the second best group stage campaign in the current edition, the team that beat River Plate 3-0 away – would be easily eliminated by Atlético Mineiro
Abel has been in a constant line of fire and his post-match interview shows just how much this has bothered him. Palmeiras suffered a goal in the 52nd minute, Vargas scoring the opener. Abel’s reaction was to point to his head, as telling his players “calm down, use your heads, we just need one goal to go to heaven”. And they got the message. One minute after coming on for Rony, Verón made a spectacular play on the left flank, using all his pace, force and agility to overcome the Atlético defender and assist Dudu, who pushed the ball into the open goal. Abel went nuts, screaming into the cameras for his neighbour to shut up. Epic! With 1-1- the final result, the away goal secured Palmeiras a spot in the final against Flamengo or Barcelona de Guayaquil (tbc tonight).
Palmeiras is the Brazilian team with most games in the history of the Libertadores (209). The most goals (390). The most victories (116). Palmeiras have more victories in the Libertadores than Atlético Mineiro’s total tally of games (103). Palmeiras are the reigning champions of the Libertadores. Palmeiras are the Libertadores!
Weverton; Marcos Rocha (Gabriel Menino), Luan, Gustavo Gómez, Renan and Piquerez; Felipe Melo, Danilo and Raphael Veiga (Wesley); Dudu (Zé Rafael) and Rony (Gabriel Veron).
Marcos Rocha, Luan, Felipe Melo and Abel Ferreira received yellow cards.
Abel’s strategy was perfectly executed by the players in the first and in the second leg. Palmeiras fought a Libertadores decision as it should be fought, and faced with a stronger opponent, used the weapons available to go to a second consecutive final. Everyone made a tremendous effort, but the performances of Dudu, Felipe Melo and Piquerez truly stood out. And that of Verón, of course. And Weverton… Our keeper is something else, always extremely well positioned and focused.
The goal Palmeiras conceded was not the first and won’t be the last we see happening this way. Despite playing well for the most part of the game, Marcos Rocha again lost an aerial duel that resulted in a goal for the opponent.
What the f*** was Deyverson thinking, anticipating celebrations invading the pitch before Dudu had pushed the ball into the back of the net??? Imagine if the referee had annulled the goal right there, what a disaster!
The Libertadores final takes place in two months’ time, on 27 November, in Montevideo. Until then, a number of games in the Brazilian league, the first one upcoming Sunday, at home, against Juventude. We’re certain many will watch these games with a smile on their face.
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.