At the beginning of the 2022 season, the Paulistão ranked last in importance: travel to Abu Dhabi to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup and the two games for the Recopa Sudamericana pushed the local championship to the background.
Nevertheless, results in the Paulistão have been outstanding. Palmeiras finished the group stage undefeated after 12 matches (9W, 3D), with the best defense (only three goals conceded) and with the best overall campaign (30 points, seven ahead of any other team). Palmeiras’ defense anno 2022 is actually the best in the history of the tournament.
The highlight of the first stage were the three consecutive wins against our three biggest rivals (São Paulo, Santos and Corinthians), followed by a draw against Red Bull Bragantino (another first division team) that guaranteed the invincibility until now.
The opponent in the quarterfinals (a single leg at home upcoming Wednesday) will be Ituano. Of the teams that finished second in their groups, Ituano were the best (19 points). In fact, all of the teams in Palmeiras’ group would have progressed to the quarterfinals had they been in another group. The Paulistão setup is garbage.
With the dominant campaign, Palmeiras secured home advantage also in the single leg of the semifinals and the second leg of the final (provided Palmeiras go all the way through, of course).
While beating every other opponent, Abel managed to rotate the squad and no player has been on field for more than 720 minutes (that was Gustavo Gómez, in play during 2/3 of the total). 31 players were used by the Portuguese coach in these 12 matches.
A superior campaign in the group stage isn’t enough to guarantee a successful outcome in the knockouts. Any negligence can put all those numbers away. To make things harder, Abel won’t be able to count on Weverton, Kuscevic and Gustavo Gómez, all three called up by their National Teams for the World Cup Qualifier. Palmeiras will have to do without, as the club seeks its third consecutive final of the Paulistão.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi & Kristian Bengtson