Paulistão 2023, Palmeiras the Two-Time Champion

The State Championships, although much criticized, mainly for taking up a certain amount of time in the annual calendar of Brazilian Football, is what marks the beginning of our season, showing who are the potential forces for the year and who can surprise. For the big ones it is an important period to adjust the team, for the smaller ones it is one of the few chances to demonstrate their value to the big crowd.

Palmeiras x Água Santa

On the one hand, Palmeiras, the current Brazilian champion, a cold, concise and killer team, on the other hand, Água Santa, a lesser-known club, but showed in Paulistão 2023 an efficient football that broke all, or almost all, difficulties that it encountered along the way.

Abel e Carpini trocam elogios antes da final entre Palmeiras e Água Santa: "Favoritismo dá zero título" | campeonato paulista | ge

Palmeiras path to the Final

Palmeiras reached the final after a great campaign in the group stage, in 12 games, won 8 and drew 4, finishing as the best campaign. In the quarterfinals, they faced São Bernardo, who had the second best campaign in Paulistão, in a complicated game they managed to advance with a beautiful header by Rony. The semi was against Ituano, who had disqualified the arch-rival Corinthians, it was another difficult game for Palmeiras, which in a corner kick after the ball hits and rebound in the area scored with Murilo the goal that accredited Palmeiras to play in the final.

Água Santa path to the Final.

Água Santa also had a great campaign in the preliminary stage, ranked second in the group with the same 23 points as São Paulo, in all in 12 games there were 7 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats, the best ranking in the history of Neptune. In the quarterfinals, they faced the traditional São Paulo, after a tense game that ended in 0x0, the team from Diadema qualified on penalties.

Already in the semi, they faced the good team of Red Bull Bragantino, who took the lead in the 7th minute with a backheel goal by the striker Alerrandro, the Bragança team was better in the game, but the fierce Água Santa did not throw the towel, until at five minutes into the second half, the winger Lucas Tocantins stole the ball after a Homeric error by goalkeeper Cleiton and pushed it into the back of the net. The game was decided on penalties, where once again Neptune’s coolness and effectiveness made the difference.

Água Santa disputa final do Paulistão contra o Palmeiras

The Final, First Game

The first chapter of the Paulistão final was written at Arena Barueri on 04/02/2023, despite everyone putting Palmeiras as the big favorite, it was Água Santa who took over the game. The first half was back and forth, as usual Palmeiras started by imposing their game, but failed to open the scoring because of Ygor Vinhas, Neptune’s goalkeeper made at least two great defenses in the 1st half, which made the Água Santa managed to adjust and exploit the individual and collective mistakes of the verdão, which did not seem to be having a good day.

At 42 minutes of the first half Zé Rafael tries to dribble in the middle, loses the ball to Lucas Tocantins who makes a good pass to Bruno Mezenga who comes out in Weverton’s face, the striker finishes but Marcos Rocha manages to press at the right time. Corner for Água, beautiful kick by Luan Dias, Bruno Mezenga goes higher than Sheriff Gomez and heads into the corner, with no chances for Weverton.

The first half ends with Neptune more forceful, the 2nd half begins with Palmeiras more connected, the entry of Endrick in place of Breno Lopes seemed to have improved the dynamics of the alviverde attack, in the 7th minute after a corner kick taken by Veiga, Zé Rafael deflects and Endrick completes to the bottom of the goal.

It seemed that the goal was going to change Verdão’s air, but what happened was the opposite, Neptune was not shaken and started to take over the match again, mainly because he managed to exploit the atypical disorganization and flaws of Palmeiras, which, if it weren’t for by Weverton would have taken more goals. The winning goal comes from Bruno Mezenga’s feet again, who after Marcos Rocha’s pass error receives the ball in the area won in Gomez’s run and puts the ball through the nets with precision. 2×1 for the fierce Água Santa, a historic and deserved victory, from a team that until 2013 was not professional and that only played its first Paulistão in 2016.

The Final, Second Game

The 2nd match of the São Paulo final was talked about for almost the entire week that preceded it, the verdão and Neptuno worked and concentrated as much as possible for the decision, Palmeiras even made its debut in the Libertadores against Bolivar in La Paz in front of an altitude of 3,600 meters with the reserve team, the only one from the main team who traveled was Gabriel Menino. To spice up the dispute even more, Abel Ferreira, coach of Palmeiras after the defeat in the first match, said: “reverse or else pass a great embarrassment”.

Palmeiras started the disputed decision at Allianz Parque in the way one would expect from Abel Ferreira’s team, who were playing their 11th final for Verdão, impetuous, taking away any and all space that Água Santa was trying to gain, and constantly attacking the spaces left by opponent, even so, it was noticeable that Água did not go to Allianz with the regulation under their arm, and to try to nip the imposition of alviverde game in the bud, from the beginning they tried to score on top, but this time Verdão was more attentive and didn’t miss passes like in the 1st game.

Neptune’s pressure marking made it possible for Palmeiras to make good launches to trigger their wingers Rony and Dudu, the “baixola/little” was in an inspired afternoon, after 3 minutes he made a beautiful move on the right, crossed for Murilo who finished out, Palmeiras still wanted the goal anyway, after a free kick by Marcos Rocha, Dudu kicks across, Ygor Vinhas defends, the ball goes to Rony who triggers Murilo, who finishes for another beautiful save by goalkeeper Vinhas.

Soon after intense arrivals from Verdão, Neptune responded with a beautiful kick from lateral Gabriel Inocêncio, who caught it from outside the area in the vein of the ball, the beautiful shot had right destination, but Weverton made a miraculous defense, very important for Palmeiras to remain strong and looking for the way to the goals. Endrick looked very comfortable in the game, leaving the area to get the ball, in one of those at 13 minutes he dribbled Thiaguinho, tried to flick the ball over Marcondes who stopped him with a foul.

Grabriel Menino adjusts with affection and take hard, the ball does not gain height, hits the barrier and softly returns to him, who now yes, hits a beautiful first-time shot in the right corner of Ygor Vinhas, 1 x 0 for Verdão. From that moment on, in fact, Palmeiras takes over the game.

The team from Palestra Itália Street kept exchanging great passes and trying to break through the defense of the club from Diadema, until in the 26th minute of the 1st half Dudu took the ball on the right as if he didn’t want anything, he waited for the defender to come and he did a disconcerting and wonderful backheel dribble, which makes it possible to gain space for a great cross that goes to the head of Gabriel Menino, who, like a fish, heads down as the costume dictates, taking any chance of the goalkeeper Vinhas. 2nd goal by Palmeiras, 2nd by Menino in the game and 4th by the good midfielder in two consecutive finals.

Menino goes euphoric to celebrate in the arms of the crowd.

Neptune tried to react but did not seem to be able to find the strength to break through the alviverde lines, Palmeiras remained calm, exchanging good passes in the middle and making the ball reach the wings until they found spaces for infiltration, which happened in the 33rd minute, after good exchange of passes, Gabriel Menino sees Rony projecting himself in the area, hits a beautiful pass to the fast attacker, who dominates and kicks across for another good defense by Vinhas, who can do nothing when the rebound arrives for the young boy Endrick, who was very well positioned and complete to make the 3rd of Palmeiras.

The crowd sings and cheers and the alviverde team continues to project itself in search of more goals, the name of the match, Gabriel Menino, before the end of the first half still required two more good saves from goalkeeper Vinhas with two shots from outside the box.

the 2nd half started more lukewarm on the part of Palmeiras, who calmly exchanged the ball in their field until it reached Neptune’s field, while Diadema’s team tried to steal the ball and go for it to discount the scorer, but it was not possible, and the game started to heat up, but not because of the football played, but because of stronger inputs from the players of both teams.

Palmeiras continued to dictate the pace of the game and create chances, until at 27 of the 2nd half Kady lost the ball in the middle and enabled a counterattack led by the Argentine Flaco López, who found Rony on the left, who led a little more and came back the ball to the Argentine promise, who dominates, clears two defenders and kicks close to the pitch to consecrate the victory and drive the Alviverde fans crazy, who soon after begin to chant “champion, champion”, 4×0 Palmeiras.

The game comes to an end and Palmeiras wins its 25th Paulista title, which came in the form of a second championship, which had not happened since 1993-1994, when Verdão was twice champion with a magical team that had stars like Roberto Carlos, César Sampaio, Zinho, Mazinho and Evair.

The final of this Paulistão crowned, with the crown of King Pelé, the strongest team in the championship, which did not have an easy life with the modest Água Santa, who made history by getting a vice championship in his 3rd participation in the Paulista elite.

Gabriel Menino na torcida, coração de Abel... Veja as fotos do título do Palmeiras no Paulistão 2023 | palmeiras | ge

Written by João Felipe Miller.

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