In his third season at Palmeiras, coach Abel Ferreira could reach his third straight final in the Copa Libertadores. To do so, he needs to do something unprecedented: win a semifinal return game of the competition. This time, the opponent will be Athletico-PR, at 21:30 (Brasília time) at Allianz Parque.
If they win by a goal difference, the game goes to penalties. Any other green win gives Abel’s team the spot.
In 2020, Abel and Palmeiras qualified for the final against Santos with a 2-0 defeat against River, after having won 3-0 on Buenos Aires soil. Last year, a 1-1 draw with Atlético-MG at Mineirão was enough, after a 0-0 at home – there was still the away goal rule – to qualify to face Flamengo.
A third fact would close the trio of originality, since Abel also never beat Scolari as a coach. But, even if he qualifies, he will continue without such a feat, since the coach of Athletico-PR was expelled and will be replaced by Paulo Turra.
Lineup possibilities can change the way you play
It is not yet known whether the Portuguese will be able to count on Raphael Veiga. The midfielder left Arena da Baixada limping and with his ankle immobilized last week.
Veiga was out of the game against Red Bull Bragantino on Saturday (4) (2-2 tie) and had not been training on the field with his colleagues.
Yesterday (5th), however, the club released photos of the training that brought Veiga on the field, wearing cleats and, apparently, participating in a movement that included some kind of division of players into teams. Veiga was without a vest, but Vanderlan, next to him, was wearing a red vest.
But it may all be a ruse to confuse Felipão and his coaching staff.
In Curitiba, without being able to count on Scarpa, who was suspended, Abel changed the scheme of Palmeiras and selected Flaco López as centre-forward, moving Rony, his top scorer, a little further away from the goal.
The Argentine didn’t do well, he missed two clear scoring opportunities — one at 5 minutes into the 1st half, which would change the game’s outlook.
In Bragança Paulista, Abel selected Bruno Tabata as a starter alongside Scarpa, keeping Flaco in the team that started the game. Who scored for Verdão, however, was Merentiel, the other striker brought in in the most recent window.
Closer to the end of the game, Abel still tested Gabriel Menino more advanced, in the frame. But that would bring him another change.
As Danilo remains suspended, Menino would be guaranteed to keep Zé Rafael company in the midfielder duo. Moving him means moving even more in a team that has just a few minutes to get on the field and achieve an unprecedented feat in the club’s history and rare in Brazil: playing three consecutive Libertadores finals.
The last team to achieve this feat was Telê Santana’s São Paulo, Abel’s idol, champion in 1992 and 1993, but defeated by Carlos Bianchi’s Vélez in 1994.
PALMEIRAS x ATHLETICO-PR
Competition: Copa Libertadores, Semifinal – Return Game
Location and Time: Allianz Parque, at 21:30 (from Brasilia)
Referee: Esteban Ostojich (URU)
auxiliaries: Carlos Barreiro (URU) and Andres Nievas (URU)
VAR: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
palm trees: Weverton; Marcos Rocha; Gómez, Murilo and Piquerez; Gabriel Menino, Zé Rafael, Gustavo Scarpa and Bruno Tabata (Raphael Veiga or Flaco López); Dudu and Ron. Technician: Abel Ferreira
Atletico-PR: Benedict; Khellven, Pedro Henrique, Thiago Heleno and Abner; Erick, Fernandinho and Alex Santana; Vitinho, Canobbio and Vitor Roque. Technician: Paulo Turra.