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Posts Tagged ‘mayke’

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Alberto Valentim followed up his 1-3 debut victory away against Atlético Goianense with a 2-0 against Ponte Preta and, today, another convincing 1-3 away victory, this time in Porto Alegre against former runner-up Grêmio. Atlético and Ponte are in the relegation zone, and Grêmio today fielded an alternative line-up, as their priority is next Wednesday´s Libertadores quarterfinal. Nevertheless, Valentim has certainly succeeded in implementing some ideas of his own in these last couple of weeks and Palmeiras are faster, lighter, with players less troubled by excessive defensive task involving a lot of running due to Cuca´s man-to-man marking system. Keno, Tchê Tchê and Mayke are pulling the wagon, putting out extraordinary performances. Borja has been given more pitch time and has corresponded accordingly. The long-awaited mesh seems finally to have arrived. And with Mano Menezes a few days back announcing he has extended with Cruzeiro for another two seasons, suddenly the outlook for Alberto Valentim has shifted considerably. Certainly he has the backing of the squad and the supporters. Valentim however states he is solely concentrating on the tasks ahead, one game at the time, which is wise of him.
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With eight rounds to go, Palmeiras are the runner-up with 53 points, 6 points behind Corinthians. Our rival are one game short: tomorrow, they visit Botafogo, currently seventh in the tables. The Brasileirão everyone treated as a done deal two months ago is shaping up to be quite the thing. Trust me: every single corintiano is fearfully gazing in the rear view mirror.

Palmeiras next commitment is on Monday 30 October, at home, against Cruzeiro. After that, Corinthians await at the Itaqueirão… *Thump Thump*.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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After defeating Grêmio 1-0 last Saturday, Sunday was all about resting. Today Monday, only a light training session in the morning before heading off to Ecuador, where Barcelona de Guayaquil await on Wednesday. The Libertadores matchup for the group of 16 is illustrated below, with the second leg taking place in a month’s time.
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Ten days ago, CONMEBOL announced they were changing the rules regarding how many players a team could swap in their Libertadores squad – funny enough only hours after River Plate saw seven of their players fail a doping test. At the wave of a wand, the limit went from two to six players. Palmeiras today swapped four: Bruno Henrique, Juninho, Luan and Mayke replaced Rafael Marques, Vitor Hugo, Vitão (only still at Palmeiras) and Alecsandro.

The additional two swaps Palmeiras can (and certainly will) do up to 48 hours ahead of the second leg. One spot is dedicated to Moisés, who is in the final stages of recovery from his knee surgery. The last spot will probably go to a forward in Mattos’ crosshairs. Could be Diego Souza, currently at Sport. Before the weekend, we will know.

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Palmeiras appealed and CONMEBAL revised the absurd rulings following the debacle in Montevideo: Felipe Melo’s ban has dropped from six to three games, and the three-game ban on Palmeiras supporters during away games has been reduced to one game (which will be the one against Barcelona on Wednesday).

— ooo — 

Alberto Valentim is back at Palmeiras as assisting coach, after a brief spell at Red Bull. He left Palmeiras in December of last year, after it became clear he was not taking over after Cuca’s exit. Everyone celebrated his return, although Valentim himself recognises he is taking a step back in order to advance two steps in the future.

— ooo —

Someone on the verge of taking a major step is 19-year-old attacking midfielder Vitinho. Seems Barcelona are close to finalising a loan move with an option to buy. Cuca has publicly given his approval: “Good for the player and the club if he goes to Barcelona B. He’s training well but, unfortunately, he can’t get the necessary minutes with us. At the moment, he needs to play”, Palmeiras’ coach recently stated.

— ooo —

English football magazine “World Soccer” annually lists their Top 500 in the World, and the 2017 edition sports six Palmeiras players, more than any other Brazilian club: Felipe Melo, Dudu, Borja, Guerra, Mina and Tchê Tchê.

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Saturday, the Allianz Parque hosted Ariana Grande. Already on Sunday, pictures showed the stadium in shape to receive a game, with the pitch apparently intact. For the first time, stadium management had used a technique to anchor the stage not on the ground but using the ceiling, resulting in considerably less strain on the pitch and much shorter disassembling time. Not a day too early.

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The Allianz Parque, as first stadium in Brazil, has received the “Guiaderodas” seal of approval. The seal is given to venues that has proven fully accessible to wheelchair users and people with other physical disabilities. Unlike the old Palestra, the Allianz Parque was designed with full accessibility in mind from the start: parking lots, stands, restrooms, snack bars… There are 15 elevators and 26 escalators, and staff have been given specific training to meet the needs of disabled visitors.

As palmeirense wheelchair user Renan Barreiros commented: excellent news; will be even better once Palmeiras implement mechanisms that assure only disabled persons are able to reserve the specially designated seats at the stadium, as well as secure the same discounts that non-disabled, enrolled in Palmeiras’ supporter membership programme, enjoy for certain sectors. Seems Palmeiras are working on solutions; this is something worth keeping an eye on.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Palmeiras’ recent games serve as the ideal backdrop for a discussion regarding results vs perception of evolution. Clearly, in terms of points won, Palmeiras are not where expected: the initial victory against Vasco was followed by two away defeats – against Chapecoense and SPFC – and yesterday’s goalless draw against Atlético. Four points in four games, 12th place in the tables, six points behind leaders Chapecoense.

Add last week’s defeat against Internacional, that nevertheless qualified Palmeiras to the Brazil Cup quarterfinals, and it would be safe to assume Cuca is lost, right? Wrong. The squad and Cuca seem confident it is just a matter of time for pieces to fall into place, and there are indeed indicators of progress. Both against São Paulo and yesterday against Atlético, Palmeiras exercised control. What is lacking is more verticality, more objectivity, and more finalising power. All these components are improving slightly, game by game. Cuca is not afraid to try out the pieces at his disposal, including the newcomers Juninho and Mayke, the latter doing a good job at the right flank. Keno is another one eager to grab a spot in the starting eleven, yesterday’s performance strengthening his shares.

In particular three key players are underperforming: Tchê Tchê, Dudu and Jean. All these are crucial for a good transition between defence and offense, which partially explains why few balls reach Borja, the forward struggling to regain the confidence so important for a striker. With a bit more overall mesh, and the aforementioned four players snapping back to the levels of performance we are used to, Palmeiras will turn lethal. Not least if starting to convert penalty shots…

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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A curious game, that was. Looking at the highlights, you will not grasp how very much in control Palmeiras seemed to be. Patiently constructing, advancing, retreating when necessary, alternating from flank to flank, rarely giving up possession. If something is to be criticised, it was the lack of verticality and the few efforts on goal, in particular medium/long distant shots; no minor issue though, as Palmeiras came without a man of reference in the penalty area, Cuca resting Borja and instead promoting Willian. He also centralised Jean, allowing for the debut of Mayke – just arrived from Cruzeiro as a loan until end of 2018 – on the right flank.
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The “seemingly in control” aspect makes defeat much harder to swallow. Many supporters would claim our players were arrogant, that they believed they could win at the turn of a key. Others identified a lack of will or even laziness in the squad.

Although there might have been a bit of hubris involved, I believe the outcome was primarily a result of individual failures: Fernando Prass let two very defendable balls slip through, and Jean blew a penalty shot. SPFC were more vertical, more objective, and also lucky. When SPFC opened up the scorecard with 15 minutes on the clock in the second half, Cuca and Palmeiras quickly responded and things would have been very different had Jean converted. Instead, the bucket of cold water took the edge of Palmeiras’ aggressiveness.

This year’s Brazilian championship is likely to be a level affair. After three rounds, no team is 100%. Moreover, if we look at the ones still in the Libertadores Cup, four out of six are found in the bottom half of the Brasileirão tables.

With Internacional awaiting on Wednesday, there is no time for anything but hard work and focus. A draw at the Beira Rio, and Palmeiras are through to the quarterfinals in the Brazil Cup. Our opponent sacked their coach last weekend, putting an even stronger spin of unpredictability on the whole thing.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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