Already guaranteed in the knockout stage of the 2022 Libertadores, Palmeiras’ objective is now to secure the best overall campaign in order to enjoy the advantage of playing the return leg at home all the way up to the semifinals.
Abel opted for a line-up against Emelec mixing some of the regular starters with players still fighting for their space in the squad. Having won the game in Ecuador 3-1, expectation were for a fairly easy ride for Palmeiras at the Allianz Parque.
Emelec, however, came to São Paulo with a goalless draw in mind. Already as of the first minute, the Ecuadorian side wasted time, mainly through their goalkeeper, and it all went unpunished by the ineffective referee who, to make thing even worse, added only one minute of extra time to the first half.
Palmeiras dominated all the action, but were unable to push the ball into the back of the net. The goal came only in the 74th minute, with Danilo seizing a ball deflected off Rafael Navarro on a corner: this was Danilo’s third consecutive game scoring. The boy is on fire since being called up by Tite to the National Team.
The sole goal was enough to guarantee another victory for Palmeiras, maintaining a perfect track record in the current edition of the tournament. With 21 goals scored, the Big Green also equalled 2020’s River Plate as the best scoring team in a group stage in the history of the tournament.
With a goal margin of +19 and no other team with more than 16 points, a draw against Deportivo Táchira in the last round of the group stage would put Palmeiras on top of the overall standings as the stage ends.
However, even if Abel chooses to play the game against the Venezuelan side with an alternative team, victory is the expected result: Palmeiras defeated Táchira away through an overwhelming 5-0 and the difference between both squads is simply too large to allow for any crazy surprises in the return game. Especially since Abel is likely keen on increasing that goalscoring record in addition to finishing the group stage with a perfect track record.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi