Posts Tagged ‘roger machado’

Palmeiras have arrived to the middle of their most difficult sequence until now in 2018: two legs of the Paulistão final and two Libertadores Cup games. So far, so good. After a tense derby against Corinthians last Saturday, players recovered well and guaranteed the second victory in the Cup’s group phase swimmingly.

Backed by the medical department, coach Machado opted for sparing only the players that really have been stretching their physical limits: Marcos Rocha, Victor Luiz and Bruno Henrique. These were replaced by Mayke, Diogo Barbosa and Moisés, respectively. Fielding so many regulars ahead of Sunday’s important decision was a calculated risk, but the right choice: no player injured and three points in the bag.


Shortly before kickoff, the rain picked up (photo credits: Augusto Oazi)

The game started with Palmeiras pressing for an early goal, which has become a trademark of Roger Machado’s team. The intensity paid off already in the 10th minute: Dudu took a free kick from the left and Antônio Carlos header hit the post. On the rebound, Thiago Martins with an open goal, scoring his first of the year.

The heat was kept on. In the 15th minute, a one-two between Dudu and Borja left the winger in position to conclude, but a Peruvian defender blocked the shot. Three minutes later, Dudu crossed from the right, the goalkeeper failed to catch the ball and Borja almost scored the second one: the ball hit the left post. The Colombian forward had another chance one minute later, but after dribbling the keeper, he had no angle to conclude the move.

Palmeiras pressure was massive, but the second goal did not happen in the first half. This did not upset supporters, as Alianza Lima created no opportunities to level the scorecard, Jailson a mere spectator of the game.

Back on the pitch for the second half, Palmeiras scored before the first minute was complete. Keno skillfully progressed with the ball to the deep end and opted for a low cross that the keeper tried and failed to intercept. Borja was unforgiving and slammed the ball high into the back of the net.

Still in the early minutes, Palmeiras almost scored the third but Prieto saved the hard shot from Dudu. In the 10th minute, some supporters let out a celebration roar, only to realize Borja’s shot had hit the outside of the net.

In the 13th and in the 16th minute, Alianza Lima took two shots, off-target. In the 29th minute, Roger Machado made his first subs: Lucas Lima and Borja went out and Guerra and Deyverson came on.

Palmeiras’ players slowed the rhythm. The 30.456 at the Allianz Parque, sensing the result was guaranteed, started singing “It’s on the 8th”, a reference to upcoming Sunday’s title match against Corinthians.

In the 36th minute, Alianza’s came close as Cruzado’s free kick brushed Jailson’s right post. In the 42nd minute, Keno took a shot from outside the box, forcing Prieto to work. Three minutes later, the referee failed to award a clear penalty as Deyverson was rather brutally clipped inside the box. Palmeiras robbed of that one.

The result isolates Palmeiras in first position of the group, with six points. A victory against Boca Juniors next Wednesday would practically classify Palmeiras to the knockout round. Not that anyone cares for Boca Juniors at this stage: all attention now goes into Sunday’s derby. A draw is all it takes for Palmeiras to bag their 23rd Paulistão trophy.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi


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Roger Machado chose to spare his regular starting eleven players and paid the price: a home defeat to São Caetano, an adversary that did not even battle that hard, and the 4th game in a row without a victory in the São Paulo state Championship.

Palmeiras’ line-up was very different from last games, with almost the whole team made up of substitutes: Prass; Fabiano, Luan, Juninho, Michel Bastos; Thiago Santos, Bruno Henrique, Tchê Tchê, Scarpa, Keno; Guerra. Moisés was back on the bench and ready to face at least 45 minutes.

São Caetano got off to a good start, creating several chances and surprising the 22.857 supporters present at the Allianz Parque. In the 6th minute, Alex Reinaldo crossed, Fabiano stalled and the ball found Chiquinho clear inside the box to open the score. São Caetano almost increased the lead with a backheel shot from Diego Rosa two minutes later.

Palmeiras’ first opportunity came only at the 30-minute mark: Scarpa took a corner that Juninho dodged and Thiago Santos headed into the post. Palmeiras created another two opportunities before halftime but were unable to level.

When the teams came on for the second half, everybody thought Fabiano would be out of sight. However, Willian replaced Tchê Tchê instead. During the first minutes, Palmeiras displayed a change of attitude and created a number of good chances. Without converting, the match again cooled down, the São Caetano keeper taking every opportunity delay play, until the 18th minute, when he suffered a real injury and had to be substituted.

Keno blew two good opportunities: one shot wide and another saved by the keeper. On stoppage time, Scarpa hit the wood after a free kick, almost ending the abstinence: it’s been more than 3 years since Palmeiras scored a free kick goal.

The regular benchwarmers had their chance to show they deserve a spot in the starting eleven. None of them seized the opportunity.

Coach Machado now have two days to prepare the team for the Choque-Rei, as the Palmeiras vs São Paulo derby is denominated. Beating São Paulo on Thursday night, everybody will forget this sorrow affair against São Caetano and fall in behind the coach once again.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi

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Although not yet made official, Palmeiras have signed Roger Machado as new coach. The 42-year old from Porto Alegre was the club’s second choice after Abel Braga, who asked for a couple of weeks to consider the offer and immediately was left hanging. Palmeiras’ timing was perfect: the 2018 squad is already being assembled and there is no time to lose.

Machado played professional football for 14 years and was in the 90ies considered one of Brazil’s finest left-backs. His 404 games for Grêmio mark the highlight of his career, with three Brazil Cup titles, one Brasileirão title and one Libertadores Cup title. He won a fourth Brazil Cup title with Fluminense in 2006, making him the player with the most number of Brazil Cup titles in history. Curiously, Machado has but one appearance in the Brazilian national squad.
Initiating as assisting coach in 2011 at Grêmio, Machado two years later went on to coach more modest teams Juventude and Nova Hamburgo before returning to Grêmio and doing good work throughout the 2015-2016 seasons. In 2017 he was one of Palmeiras top two options, but as the Verdão delayed negotiations, still hoping Cuca would remain, Machado was snatched by Atlético Mineiro (while Palmeiras, as you remember, ended up with Eduardo Baptista).

Roger Machado is not a seasoned coach, but he is no rookie either. And although he is yet to bag a national title (he only has the 2017 Minas Gerais state championship title with Atlético) he has shown capability to implement interesting and modern concepts on the pitch, aggressiveness and speed being primary trademarks of his when holding possession.

Machado has signed a one-year contract. Best of luck, Roger!

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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With Grêmio’s draw last Sunday, a victory against relegation-prone Avaí would propel Palmeiras to second position in the tables, a position worth roughly US$ 1,2 million extra in prize money at the end of the championship. It would also increase Alberto Valentim’s chances of remaining as Palmeiras’ coach in 2018. At least slightly, at least in theory.

Once more, Palmeiras became the victim of Valentim’s attempts to implement an advanced line of defence. The idea is not at all revolutionary, but a satisfactory level of implementation is only possible to achieve with time. Clearly, Palmeiras are not there yet: as against Vitória, Palmeiras’ defence at times looked like on a suicide mission, allowing Avaí to score twice, minutes apart, at the beginning of the second half. Palmeiras’ much superior ball posse resulted in many attempts at goal but desperately few on target. Valentim also looked desperate, promoting Guerra with only a few minutes remaining on the clock. 

At the press conference after the game, Valentim voiced the opinion that Palmeiras had played a good game and lost due to two unfortunate moments. He also asserted he will act as coach, at Palmeiras or elsewhere, in 2018.

Today, Palmeiras announced they will offer Valentim the assisting coach position he held before Cuca’s dismissal. In other words: Palmeiras have no intention of keeping Valentim in command next season. Valentim says he will respond to the offer after the championship has ended.

Palmeiras are clearly seeking to sign a new coach a.s.a.p. With Mano Menezes out of the picture, nine out of ten believe current Fluminense coach Abel Braga is the chosen one. The 65-year-old carioca is experienced, emotional, old school. With Internacional he won the Libertadores Cup and the World Club Championship in 2006 and in 2012 he won the Brasileirão with Fluminense.

A second option is 42-year-old Roger Machado, most recently at Atlético Mineiro, from where he was fired last July, after only six months at the club. As coach, Machado has no national titles on his CV.

What are the odds Abel would be successful at Palmeiras? Machado? Conrado Cacace of the Verdazzo argues it does not really matter, for as long as Palmeiras do not come up with a footballing identity.  

Palmeiras might have achieved excellence in many areas off pitch, including superior economic firepower and top notch training facilities, but the club has not yet established itself as a School of Football. The professional team is mutant: the style of play is a truthful mirror of the coach, a coach who on average lasts five months.

This situation is in stark contrast with, for example, Corinthians, who, even while enduring financial problems, maintain a well-defined playing style, as implemented by coach Tite in 2010 and adapted by his successors Mano Menezes, Tite (during his comeback) and most recently Fábio Carille. Cristóvão Borges tried to change that identity and was very short-lived. Cacace argues that one may question the beauty of the formula but not its efficiency: Corinthians have reaped excellent results even as coaches have changed and the squad has featured players of only satisfactory technical level. With doubt, this is due to the footballing identity created and implemented over time.

Creating a footballing identity takes time, and balls, because the coach needs to be maintained until that identity consolidates, even in the face of poor performance. Eduardo Baptista is a recent example of the opposite: at Palmeiras, he was securing some 60% of points at play and slowly deploying a system that could have been quite solid today. However, after the São Paulo Cup elimination, Baptista was fired and the ongoing identity development went down the drain.

There are no certainties in football. Keeping Baptista could have resulted in a team peaking in the last months of the championship, securing our tenth Brazileirão title. Or he could have remain stuck in the search for the balance between attack and defence, unable to secure even a spot in next year’s Libertadores Cup. We will never know.

Regardless, Palmeiras need to create an identity, an identity that should serve as a mark also for the youth divisions. So, who to pick to implement this identity?

The name of the coach is not that important, Cacace argues. Palmeiras can assign a technical director, a position to be occupied in the long term by a deep connoisseur of football, who will be the reference, shaping the identity and securing that players that fit the model of play are signed. Something similar to what Paulo Autuori does at Atlético Paranaense and what Tite, although today not formally, continues to do at Corinthians. With a technical director in place, the importance of and the pressure on the coach will diminish.

No coach currently speculated at Palmeiras obtains more than a 30% approval rate among supporters, meaning any of them would face resistance of more than two thirds. Just like Alberto Valentim. Our current interim coach had a head start in relation to any newcomer, but is now out of the picture. Whichever successor is chosen will need the unrestricted backing of the club’s directors, resisting as hell breaks loose, over and over again, until that identity has been forged.

Without a footballing identity – or the will to create one – it matters little who takes over as coach: he will feel the moving sand at the first sequence of defeats, and be gone at the beginning of the second.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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