Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘chapecoense’

On one side, a rested bunch, eager to show improvement after a week of training. On the other, a team that played in Japan on Tuesday, returned to Brazil on Thursday after a 30-hour ride, daydreaming about getting out of the relegation zone.

Nothing but a perfect setting for Cuca and Palmeiras to show evolution, pleasing the crowds with Moisés and Guerra together for the first time on the midfield, and with Willian back in offense after four weeks in the medical department.

As expected, Chape played defensively, exploring the occasional counter-attack. Palmeiras showed their habitual difficulty in penetrating two compact lines of four, not helped by Chapecoense taking every opportunity to delay the game, including the use of excessive force. We were heading toward a goalless first half, but a badly positioned defence accepted a set piece from Chape, leaving Fernando Prass to scoop the ball out from the back of the net.

Palmeiras came back more aggressive, with Tchê Tchê and Keno replacing Thiago Santos and Roger Guedes respectively, and things improved somewhat. In the last 20 minutes, Borja came on for Willian. It was play against one goal, pressure a plenty, but with a pinball feel to it, the fluke factor reigning. Far from impressive.

In the dying minute, another moment of inattention from our defense to further drive the point home.  
.

.
The result is unacceptable. Palmeiras’ performance is unacceptable. Nine months ago, there practically was no Chapecoense, team and staff wiped out in the dreadful plane crash in Colombia. Palmeiras’ excuse for less than expected performance throughout the year has been the coach swap, Cuca for Baptista, in early May (mind you Chape swapped coach some two months ago). Put those two club realities – Palmeiras and Chapecoense – into perspective.

Cuca has no credit left, no more fat to burn. Next Sunday, Palmeiras receive relegation-threatened São Paulo FC at the Allianz Parque. Anything but victory against the archenemy will see Cuca in a very uncomfortable position. And yes, that is quite the understatement.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Saturday marked the return of Chapecoense. All revenues from the friendly against Palmeiras were destined to the Santa Catarina club and the victim’s families. The pre-game ceremony was very emotional, with the three surviving players and representatives from the families receiving the South America Cup trophy and medals. As Palmeiras’ defensive midfielder Felipe Melo put it: I arrived here prepared for a game of football, but after seeing two children crying, my emotional readiness was all gone. I cried myself, at several moments during the game.
.
elencospalmeiraschapecoense-net.
Palmeiras and Chapecoense have created quite the bond. On several occasions, Chape directors have stated that although many clubs promised many a thing right after the tragic plane crash, intentions rapidly vanished, Palmeiras being one of the few exceptions. In addition to the friendly game, three Palmeiras players are on loan to Chape, Palmeiras paying 80% of these player’s salaries throughout the year. Palmeiras have also put their legal department at Chape’s disposal, as well as offered to share know-how related to stadium management.

This being pre-season, and with all the added commotion due to the unique nature of the friendly, I limit game-related comments to a couple of observations: young gun Vitinho certainly made an impression on coach Baptista, with dribbles, passes and the beautiful goal that closed the scorecard at 2-0; word is the European market is already watching him closely. Also Raphael Veiga showed quality on the midfield, in addition to scoring Palmeiras’ first. Picking the 28 that will compose Palmeiras’ São Paulo Cup squad will be quite the challenge.

Upcoming Sunday, a friendly against Ponte Preta, at the Allianz Parque: probably the last one before the Paulistão kicks off on 3 February, the Verdão making their debut against Botafogo-SP on the 5th.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

Read Full Post »

No other major Brazilian club has been more active on the 2016/2017 transfer market. Four players have already received coverage here, namely (in order of signing) Raphael Veiga, Hyoran, Keno and Alejandro Guerra, but two more players of rank – both midfielders – have been added to the squad: Michel Bastos and Felipe Melo.
.
michel-palmeiras.
33-year-old Michel Bastos has been in Palmeiras’ sights for some time. The midfielder, who doubles on the right flank, played eight years in Europe (Lille, Lyon, Schalke 04, Roma) before returning to Brazil and São Paulo FC in 2014. With 10 caps to his CV, Bastos is very experienced, competitive, and in my opinion a very good signing. The agreement is for two years, extendable for one more year.
.
melo.
Felipe Melo is also 33, has a solid international career (Fiorentina, Juventus, Galatasaray, Internazionale) and 22 caps with the national squad. 183 cm tall, the aggressive defensive midfielder immediately struck a chord with the bulk of Palmeiras’ supporters, and their enthusiasm captivated the player in return. “I got really impressed by the warmth of the supporters. Even before signing, they already had me feeling like a palmeirense. That makes all the difference”, Melo stated yesterday. The contract is valid for three seasons. Another very good signing, up there leveled with Guerra.

However, Palmeiras have not only signed players, but also defined routes for most of those expected to have limited opportunity in the 32-man squad envisioned by coach Eduardo Baptista:

Three players are heading to Chapecoense, the Santa Catarina club forced to undertake a complete restructuring after the tragic and criminal plane crash. Defensive midfielder Amaral, centre-back Nathan and right-back João Pedro are all on one-year loans. Chapecoense have repeatedly expressed their gratitude toward Palmeiras, saying the Verdão is one of the few clubs to have followed up initial words of solidarity with action.

Right-back Lucas, who spent most of 2016 at Cruzeiro together with Robinho, is today in Rio de Janeiro undergoing medical exams before signing his transfer to Fluminense. Offensive midfielder Robinho is expected to remain in Belo Horizonte, although the deal – which was to include the transfer of right-back Fabiano to Palmeiras – seems to have jammed somewhat.

Matheus Sales, another defensive midfielder, will do a year with Bahia, from Salvador. Also playmaker Cleiton Xavier is heading for the same city, but will play for Vitória, in a permanent deal, releasing him from his contract with Palmeiras. In compensation, Palmeiras will receive 18-year-old offensive midfielder/forward Yan on a one-year loan, with an option to buy. 

Defensive midfielder Gabriel will not remain at Palmeiras, his asking price for renewing considered too high by the management, Corinthians being the likely destination.

Forward Allione is reportedly close to Sport, from Recife.

While all of this is going down, palmeirenses near and far eagerly await but one announcement: who will be the club’s matador in 2017, the true #NINE? Speculations run wild, with heavy-hitters Miguel Borja (Atlético Nacional of Colombia) and Lucas Pratto (Atlético Mineiro) leading the polls. The former is favoured by most, but very expensive. Well, that is what we were told regarding Felipe Melo as well…

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

Read Full Post »

On the 27 November, I had the privilege to be in São Paulo, and at the Allianz Parque, and on Avenida Paulista, enjoying every breath of Palmeiras’ 9th League title, with my wife by my side. The buzz surrounding the stadium; the Brazilian hymn, with lyrics exchanged for “my Palmeiras” from start to finish; Fernando Prass replacing Jaílson between the posts, moments before the final whistle; the euphoria on the streets as players and supporters celebrated. It’s all here: shaky, far from professional, but exactly how I experienced it.

I get the goosebumps every time. Hope you do to.
.
day_of_the_champion

Read Full Post »

.
chape_soiled_badge_cropped2

;
The Chapecoense tragedy is unprecedented in the history of sports, an entire football squad practically wiped out. The death toll currently stands at 71: 19 Chapecoense squad members; 24 Chapecoense technical staff, directors and other people linked to the club; 21 journalists and 7 crewmembers. There are six survivors, all receiving medical care and in varying physical conditions.

Four of the fatal victims had direct links to Palmeiras: coach Caio Jr, who commanded the Verdão in 2007, forward Ananias (2013), midfielder Josimar (2014) and former midfielder Mário Sérgio (1984-1985).
.

.
Commotion has been worldwide, condolences arriving from near and far, in particular from other football clubs. The four major clubs in São Paulo this morning announced they will offer players to Chapecoense in 2017, on loan and for free. In additions, the clubs will make a formal request to the Brazilian Football Confederation that Chapecoense be immune to relegation for the coming three years. Throughout the day, other Brazilian clubs adhered to the initiative. Nacional de Medellín, Chapecoense’s adversaries in the South America Cup final, asked CONMEBOL to consider Chapecoense Cup winners.
Brazil’s president has declared three days of mourning and the CBF, a week of mourning, suspending all scheduled games.

In the midst of all the pain, the beauty of solidarity. Regretfully, it seems to take random disastrous events to bring out the best in human beings. So be it. Could possibly the major Brazilian clubs find it in their hearts and minds to close ranks and elaborate a proposal to address the most urgent absurdities sprouting from the CBF, Rede Globo and the Brazilian Superior Tribunal of Sports? Are we allowed to hope that the death of these men and women would not be for nothing?

Chapecoense’s last game was against Palmeiras. Below, a short video with footage from the game, a simple homage payed by TV Palmeiras. The second video is from the minute of silence at Anfield ahead of today’s Liverpool vs Leeds game.

Our deepest condolences to family and friends of the victims, and to all Chapecoense supporters. Today, all of us who breathe football, are breathless.
.

.

Read Full Post »

tables_16.08.08Unless Corinthians today beat Cruzeiro by more than two goals, Palmeiras finish the first half of the Brazilian championship in the lead. A few weeks back the lead was rather comfortable, but today the upper half of the table is more compact than ever, with at least seven teams in the title race. It is also worth noticing that five out of the six direct contenders entail away games for Palmeiras, Flamengo being the only exception. No easy task ahead.

Good news is Palmeiras seem to be recovering from the recent dip in performance. Having lost to Atlético Mineiro at home than Botafogo away, last Thursday’s away draw to Chapecoense was not reassuring, Vagner again being the major question mark. Coach Cuca certainly felt the keeper’s nerves on a shake and yesterday, against Vitória, opted for promoting Jailson between the posts. The 35-year-old has been at Palmeiras since 2014, but only made four appearances, and never in a first-division game. Never, as in never for any club. Palmeiras supporters let out a sigh of relief as Jailson proved his worth, undoubtedly earning a position in Cuca’s starting eleven as of now.

Dudu, yesterday wearing the captain’s armband, was back in old form, challenging defenders and making crucial passes while also working hard defensively. Also Moisés and Erik showed pace and determination, while Cleiton Xavier, for the second game in a row, was awarded a penalty after being taken down – in addition to scoring the winning goal. Bad news is both Leandro Pereira and scorer Barrios had to be taken out due to injury: Pereira with a knee discomfort and Barrios feeling his groin. Hopefully nothing serious in any of the cases, but likely we will see Róger Guedes back in the starting eleven against Atlético Paranaense on Sunday.

While Palmeiras learn to live without Gabriel Jesus and Prass, Brazil’s Olympic team is going from bad to worse. The initial goalless draw against South Africa was yesterday followed up with another, this time against Iraq. Palmeirenses all over the world are secretly (or not so secretly) hoping for a third strike and Brazil’s premature elimination: such a disaster would not only carry the potential to provoke substantial change within the CBF (7-1 was not nearly enough) but also return Gabriel Jesus to Palmeiras. Should Brazil fail to beat Denmark in the last game of the group stage…

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

Read Full Post »

I am not even going to try. Sure, Palmeiras faced Chapecoense without three key players: Zé Roberto, Robinho, Thiago Santos. And the Santa Catarina side came boosted with moral after having advanced to the quarterfinals of the South America Cup earlier in the week. Not the ideal scenario for an away game. It got worse when we saw the line-up.

Coach Oliveira opted for Amaral besides Arouca and kept Egídio on the left flank. Egídio might have some offensive qualities (although these have been absent as of late) but his defensive qualities is non-existent. An open invitation to advance. Immediately explored. And when Arouca was injured halfway through the first half, our defensive lines fell apart completely.

What about Palmeiras’ strong offense? Dudu, Barrios, Gabriel Jesus and Rafael Marques were all there, but there was no midfield to talk about, no one exercising the playmaker. Again, coach Oliveira curiously opted for keeping both Allione and Fellype Gabriel out of the starting eleven, leaving it to Rafael Marques and Dudu to act out the roles of Robinho and Zé Roberto. No go.

All of the above is however not enough to explain the shamefully inflated score. Our men resigned. They should never. Never. Not only the squad needs an earful: also coach Oliveira must feel a bit of heat.

Now don’t think the absurdities stop there. The referee yesterday put on quite a show. After a duel between Egídio and Barbio, the former was shown a red card and sent off. Minutes later, in his earpiece, referee Jaílson Freitas received word from the fourth referee, trotted over to him and learnt that Egídio did not commit a foul, that he had won the ball cleanly in dispute with the Chapecoense forward. Result: Freitas overturned his decision and brought Egídio back from the locker room.

True, Egídio did not commit the foul, but that is irrelevant considering the much more important question: why did it take the fourth referee several minutes to get his ocular testimony through to referee Freitas? There is only one plausible explanation: the fourth referee did not actually see the Egídio vs. Barbio situation, but was informed about it by outsiders, by people with access to television replays. Obviously, a gigantic breach of FIFA regulations.

It has been discussed here before. The question of whether or not to adopt electronic/external aid for football referees is a necessary (and to a certain extent ongoing) debate, but any implementation of the sort must take place in the open, in full transparency and with FIFA authorization. The discussion [sic] that the 2012 handball incident stirred led absolutely nowhere. Don’t expect different in 2015.
.

.
The Brazilian championship now takes a 10-days break as World Cup classifiers are played. This is bad news for Palmeiras supporters, who will have this last game glued to their retinas with nothing to replace it with. On the other hand, the break is a godsend for Marcelo Oliveira and the squad, who must take full advantage of the opportunity to reflect and correct. Nine rounds to go, Palmeiras in sixth with 45 points, one point from that Libertadores spot and with upcoming semi-finals in the Brazil Cup. No time for regrets.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: