Palmeiras’ 3-0 victory over Cerro Porteño, in Paraguay, in the first leg of the Libertadores round of 16, left an important message for rivals: Verdão may even have a lean squad, but they created alternatives to dribble any possible lack of Abel Ferreira.
The short cast looks more and more ready. Not because of the arrival of several reinforcements – such as Lopez and Merentiel, who can only debut from July 18 -, but because of the way the coach looked for alternatives within the squad.
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It is worth mentioning that Palmeiras has the best campaign in Libertadores history. In 2022, there were seven wins in seven games with 28 goals scored and only three conceded. Meanwhile, he leads the Brasileirão and remains alive in the fight for a place in the quarterfinals of the Copa do Brasil.
Rony and Gustavo Scarpa celebrate Palmeiras’ goal against Cerro — Photo: Cesar Greco
There are two great assets found by Abel Ferreira to dribble the lack of offensive options at the beginning of the season: Rony acting as a striker, and Gustavo Scarpa recovering good football as a creative midfielder in the absence of Raphael Veiga, who returned to play as a starter in Paraguay. .
In addition, Gustavo Gómez became an alternative on the right side.
Rony is having his best season since he arrived at Palmeiras. There are 32 games as a starter, with 16 goals scored and two assists. Acting as a reference, the striker became a virtually undisputed name in the good season of Palmeiras, with only four defeats.
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Gustavo Scarpa’s growth coincided precisely with the absence of Palmeiras’ main player: Raphael Veiga. Injured, the midfielder missed five games in a sequence in which Abel Ferreira also ran out of players called up to defend their national teams.
In the season, Scarpa – who is negotiating the renewal of the contract ends at the end of the year – has 12 assists and eight goals in 27 games as a starter. The numbers further consolidated the importance of shirt number 14 in Abel Ferreira’s chess game to maintain Palmeiras’ offensive power in the year.
Verdão has 88 goals scored in 42 games in 2022.
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Gustavo Gómez, who played as a side in the absences of Marcos Rocha and Mayke, also proved to be an alternative for Abel Ferreira in the dispute for the three titles that Palmeiras can still take this season.
From July 18, Verdão will have the reinforcements of forwards Merentiel and López and new offensive options. Both will have to work hard for a space in the team more and more fitted.
Now, in the return game against Cerro Porteño, on the 6th, at 19:15, at Allianz Parque, Palmeiras can lose by up to two goals difference to advance. If they lose by three, the decision will be on penalties. Verdão will only be eliminated in normal time if they take a score of four goals difference.
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