With less than two days remaining before the Libertadores final between Palmeiras and Flamengo, the fans’ pain and expectations are growing. Of all the things on the Palestinian’s mind, one thing is almost certain: Verdão should take the field to defend most of the time and attack quickly on the counterattack. To their delight, this is the team’s preferred style of play. In this version, Palmeiras no longer owns the ball in a match in the knockout stage.
Adding up the numbers for all of the Round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-final matches, Alfiverede had, on average, 42% of possession. As a key manager or visiting teammate, Palmeiras has never, ever been a team with solid range on the offensive, with plenty of passing exchanges and patience to build plays. Abel Ferreira’s team has always chosen vertical play, with longer throws and passes and speed to attack the opponent.
The only time there was a balance in the matter was in the second leg of the round of 16, at Allianz Parque, against Universidad Católica of Chile, when Verdao had possession of the ball 50% of the time. This was the team’s highest number in the knockout stage.
This scenario, characterized by a strong and compact defense, less possession and speed on the counter-attack from Palma, should be the scenario in the final against Flamengo. Although Renato Gaucho’s side are the most vertical in the last two years for Robro Negro, Rio should be the one trying to take the offensive action at Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.
With Arascaeta back, Flamengo will have more creativity in midfield than in recent matches and must be more patient to try to reach the goal defended by Weverton.
In addition, Abel Ferreira’s team has difficulties when it comes to taking offensive measures in a match. Verdão is best when he reacts and waits for the opponent to counterattack. Therefore, the most likely scenario, on Saturday (27), is Flamengo’s possession of the ball, and Palmeiras attempt to impose itself on the defense and launch counter-attacks.
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