Posts Tagged ‘fluminense’

Yesterday afternoon, Palmeiras successfully concluded negotiations with Chinese club Henan Jianye, purchasing forward Rafael Marques’ federative rights for US$ 800K, signing a two-year contract. The player was very relieved, having loudly and clearly expressed his desire to remain at Palmeiras, even giving up bonuses he was entitled to in order to facilitate the closing of the deal. He immediately packed his trunk and left for Itu – where the rest of the squad is training – making a surprise entry, provoking laughter and applause from his comrades.
Rafael had a very good first semester in 2015, then gradually lost space – and seemingly a bit of motivation – in the second semester. Charismatic and clearly identified with the club, I am pleased with the renewed contract, even though I do not see Rafael as fundamentally important on the pitch. He however tends to grow in decisive moments and is part of the family: the fact that Palmeiras went to lengths to keep him emits good vibrations.

jeanYesterday, early evening, Palmeiras also signed defensive midfielder Jean from Fluminense. The 29-year-old was speculated at different clubs throughout December and January, Fluminense trying to play hardball although holding only 10% of the player’s economic rights. Truth is Jean wanted Palmeiras. And got it.

The midfielder, who is comfortable also on the right flank, became Brazilian champion with São Paulo FC in 2008 and with Fluminense in 2012. He did six caps for Brazil in 2012 (under Mano Menezes) and 2013 (Luiz Felipe Scolari). He has signed a four-year contract with Palmeiras and is, rightfully so, considered quite a catch.

And with that, the Palmeiras squad is set for 2016. Eight new faces in total: Keeper Vagner, centre-backs Edu Dracena and Roger Carvalho, defensive midfielders Rodrigo and Jean, offensive midfielders Régis and Moisés, and striker Erik.

The squad currently holds 37 players, but only 30 can be registered for the Libertadores Cup and no more than 28 in the Paulistão. Expect the likes of Mouche, Cristaldo, Allione, Nathan and a few more to find new clubs – either on loan or permanently – within a month or two.

And before I forget it: good work, Alexandre Mattos and Cícero Souza!
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Fluminense 2-1 Palmeiras

As we enter a decisive couple of weeks, my glass is always half full. I have no patience for discussions on what our squad lacks, who should be given the boot and who should be signed for 2016. I am here and now, only interested in what can be done to extract the outmost of our squad – on an individual and collective basis. Marcelo Oliveira’s time is now. Palmeiras’ time is now.

As for classicos, this was one of Palmeiras’ worst in 2015. Fluminense dominated the first half fair and square, although things could have been different had Gabriel Jesus’ header been on target. With 2-0 on the scorecard, Oliveira regrouped in halftime, as habitual promoting Egídio on the left flank, allowing Zé Roberto a more centralised playmaker role. Victor Ramos gave way to Jackson (Vitor Hugo and Jackson must be our central lock) and a little later, Rafael Marques went on for Allione, Palmeiras already having diminished the gap through a penalty converted by Zé Roberto. With a much more open affair as of that, both teams created numerous chances. At the whistle, supporters from both sides cried foul – ours due to a goal by Amaral ruled out for offside, theirs for that penalty they claim never existed. Personally, I found the end result in compliance to what the two teams brought to the game.

Expect a feverish Allianz Parque upcoming Wednesday. By the regulations of the Brazil Cup, yesterday´s away goal means Palmeiras are through to the finals if beating the tricolor carioca 1-0. If the end result reads 2-1, penalties. Should Fluminense score twice before fulltime, Palmeiras need to brace four. Expect Robinho back in the starting eleven. For Fluminense, the major question mark concerns striker Fred, yesterday leaving the pitch just before halftime with severe discomfort to the knee.

However, first Palmeiras welcome Sport on Saturday and Marcelo Oliveira has already signalled his intention of using a mixed squad. Sport have struggled with away games, showing a much better track record at home, as for example last week’s 4-1 thrashing of runner-up Atlético Mineiro. Oliveira has some difficult decisions to make, striking the right balance. It worked against Avaí. Sport is a much tougher nut. But then again, we have the theoretical advantage of playing at home. I can nothing but look at that half-full cup and smile.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Just like cholesterol, there’s good and bad predictability. We want our rule of law to be predictable, as well as our bureaucrats. Our collective transport. Our investments.

We don’t want our Saturday nights to be that predictable, neither our love life. And we don’t want to be predictable when we face an opponent. Although we want to be predictably good.

Palmeiras are not predictable as in “easy to read”. But neither are Palmeiras predictably good. Actually, on the contrary: it has never been harder to predict which Palmeiras will come on the pitch. And we’re not talking names and positions, but performance: to some extent individually but in particular collectively.

After the humiliating 5-1 defeat against Chapecoense, Palmeiras had ten days exclusively for rest and training. Result: 0-1 at home against Ponte Preta. True, the team from Campinas are on a roll, with five victories in the last six rounds, but Palmeiras also played very poorly, showing no progress at all. Last Saturday against Avaí, coach Marcelo Oliveira’s response: a starting eleven with João Pedro, Leandro Almeida, and Argentine trio Allione, Mouche and Cristaldo. Almeida was just as horrible as always, but the rest shouldered the responsibility, leading Palmeiras to a no-thrills albeit very important 1-3 victory after goals by Gabriel Jesus, Cristaldo and Dudu. At the conclusion of the 31st round, with another seven to go, Palmeiras are in fifth with 48 points, very much alive in the battle for that fourth place and a Libertadores spot.

Now, the shorter route is also much more pleasant, as it entails a title: the Brazil Cup. Tomorrow, the first leg of the semi-final against Fluminense, at the Maracanã stadium. Palmeiras will… Who the hell knows? Gabriel Jesus says “with all respect for the opponent: we’re going for it”. Palmeiras have indeed played their absolute best against stiffer competition, against traditional teams. In this year’s edition of the Brazilian championship, Fluminense has only tasted defeat, Palmeiras winning 2-1 and 1-4. Would another victory be predictable?

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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We witnessed a horrendous first half from Palmeiras, completely lacking offensive impetus: only minutes before halftime, a first shot at goal. Palmeiras went into the dressing room losing 1-0, Jackson having failed at clearing a corner, leaving it to Jean to stuff the net. Had it not been for Fluminense’s obvious weaknesses, it could have gotten very ugly.

Coach Oliveira promoted Rafael Marques on Egídio in halftime, Zé Roberto as usual being dislocated to the left flank. Palmeiras improved significantly, but it looked like curtains as Cícero, on a rare venture into Palmeiras territory, expertly folded his knees as Fernando Prass slid towards him, the referee confirming the penalty.

Fred stepped up to the spot. Had he made it 2-0, I guess Enderson Moreira would still be coaching Fluminense – as it happens, 40 minutes after he final whistle he received the boot, the carioca team now looking for their fourth coach this season.

With renewed hope, Palmeiras went for it. Oliveira swapped Arouca for Allione and Alecsandro for Barrios, and in a matter of minutes Palmeiras equalized through the latter. Less than ten minutes later, Gabriel Jesus stole the ball from a Fluminense defender and blasted it passed Cavalieri. Fluminense fell to pieces. On stoppage time, Barrios bagged another two braces.

barrios8The day before yesterday, Barrios rejoiced as he announced he had come to an agreement with Cleiton Xavier to swap numbers: Barrios has always preferred the 8, and Xavier agreed to let it go, taking the 10 instead. Immediate results: last time a foreigner scored a hattrick for Palmeiras was in 1969 – Argentine centre-forward Luis Artime, against Botafogo-SP.

It has been eight long years since Palmeiras last beat Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro.

Palmeiras, Flamengo and SPFC all have 41 points, our rivals however with one game less played. Depending on today’s results, Palmeiras are a draw from the G4. Not that we can afford thinking about anything but victories: that last spot in the G4 is within the reach of many, and particularly Flamengo and Santos are looking increasingly strong in form.

Coach Oliveira needs to take a darn good look at his starting eleven and how the men are prepared. You cannot even compare Palmeiras’ first 45 minutes to the last 30, the difference is absurd. Oliveira must promote change, both to the line-up as well as psychologically speaking.

Let’s see which Palmeiras come on against Grêmio on Saturday.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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With twelve athletes either recovering from injury or suspended, Dorival Junior’s chances of playing a trick on Fluminense Saturday were almost null. Anything but defeat would have been a treat for Palmeiras.

Nevertheless, the game was atypical. Especially in the second half, Palmeiras created numerous chances burn blew them all, some grotesquely so. On the other hand, Fluminense had three attempts at goal and surreally converted all three, admittedly with the help of Palmeiras’ shaky defence, and, in particular, keeper Fábio. It’s a shame, but the kid doesn’t cut it: almost every game he slips one through. Deola is the most likely solution until Prass makes his comeback – our number one keeper in the final stages of recovery after the surgery to his elbow.

tablesThanks to a combination of results, Palmeiras remain outside the relegation zone. But I quick look at the tables is enough to grasp the seriousness of the situation. Against Flamengo this coming Wednesday, Eguren and Victorino are also out due to suspension. On the other hand, Allione and Lúcio should be welcome reinforcements, possibly also Wendel and Marcelo Oliveira.

Every single game it’s do or die. Every single point. It’s sickening.

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Last round of the Brazilian Championship 2013. Portuguesa vs. Grêmio, a game without any relevance in terms of ascension, relegation, access to the Libertadores Cup or the Copa Sulamericana. Nothing.

32 minutes into the second half, Portuguesa commit what can only be regarded as a silly blunder: suspended player Héverton comes on for the paulista team.

Minutes ago, Portuguesa were punished by the Superior Tribunal of Sports for the infringement, and to the letter: Portuguesa lost the one point from the goalless draw against Grêmio and an additional three points. With that, Portuguesa drop four positions in the tables, finishing in the relegation zone. And saving Fluminense from second division play in 2014.

Did Portuguesa commit an infringement? Certainly. Is the punishment proportional to the crime? Certainly not. Not that any of the judges involved in the Rio de Janeiro-based STJD would agree to that.

And Fluminense? Based on historical merit and curious circumstances, the carioca club cements its position as Brazil’s most loathed.

While this blogger wonders how on earth he could be so naive as to entitle the previous post “Brasileirão 2013 – final statements”.

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Yesterday the 2013 edition of the Brasileirão ended. Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, founded in the city of Belo Horizonte in 1921 as “Palestra Italia”, were crowned champions with 76 points – 11 points ahead of runners up Grêmio – compiling 23 victories, 7 draws and 8 defeats. Congratulations to Cruzeiro for a job well done throughout the season.

Third and fourth places were occupied by Atlético Paranaense and Botafogo respectively. The teams making up the quartet have not all guaranteed their spot in next year’s Libertadores Cup: in case Ponte Preta beat Argentine Lanus in the upcoming second leg of the South America Cup final (first leg at home 1-1), Ponte Preta grab a spot in next years’ Libertadores at the expense of Botafogo’s. Expect many a botafoguense, not least a certain Clarence Seedorf, turn hardcore argentines overnight.

2013-tabela_finalThe relegated four are Náutico, Ponte Preta (yes, the same), Vasco da Gama and Fluminense. Thus, two out of four major Rio de Janeiro clubs will play in the second division next year, with Fluminense being the first club in the history of Brazilian football to be relegated the year after becoming national champions. In 2014, the state of Santa Catarina will have more clubs in the first division than Rio de Janeiro: Criciúma, Chapecoense and Figueirese. A disastrous year for carioca football? Well, let’s not forget Flamengo’s Brazil Cup title. A likely 2014 scenario would thus be two traditional cariocas in the second division, with other two competing in the Libertadores Cup.

Sunday’s Atlético Paranaense vs. Vasco da Gama was interrupted for more than an hour as supporters of both teams clashed violently in the stands. Disgraceful scenes unfolded, while helicopters landed on the pitch to pick up injured for transportation to hospital. As always, what followed were calls for more police, more control inside and outside of stadiums, the banning of organised supporters, heavy fines for the clubs, having clubs play behind locked gates, the list goes on and on. In the end, the solution is there and is strikingly simple: apply the law. How? By identifying the perpetrators – and God knows there’s plenty of footage to facilitate the task – taking them to court and locking them up. Stop treating crimes committed inside and around Brazilian football stadiums as something special. Just apply the law.

With the end of the season, the transfer market goes berserk. As earlier mentioned, this year Palmeiras seem to be very actively scanning a broad range of possibilities both inside and outside of Brazil. And with the clearly not-so-good relationship between Coritiba midfielder Alex and club president Vilson de Andrade, there might be room for just a little bit of expectations.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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