There it is! We’ll finally find out who’ll be the next Brazilian Cup winner: Palmeiras or Coritiba.
Jump for the analysis!
Coritiba is the host of this 2nd leg match. That could be Coxa’s main advantage: since Marcelo Oliveira took over, the team has been one of the strongest Brazilian teams when playing at their home court, helping the coach’s record of 68 wins in 112 games since he took over, including a winning run of 24 games that was recognized by Guinness as the longest in football history.
Coxa doesn’t have stars at their squad, but their main piece so far is Rafinha. He is a 29 years old attacking midfielder who can also play as a second striker, having the job of setting up counter-attacks using his speed and his dribbling to feed off strikers or trying to score.
Tactically, Coritiba usually goes with an asymmetric 4-2-2-2 which eventually turns out to become a 4-2-3-1 with Rafinha out wide in the right lane. If necessary, he eventually cuts inside and becomes the 2nd striker in the scheme.
They’re at home and they’re also behind in the aggregate scoreboard, as Palmeiras snatched a 2-0 win in the 1st leg. So you could expect Coritiba to land a very attacking plan, with both fullbacks going high up the pitch to support Everton Costa and the midfield.
On the other side, there’s Palmeiras who’s been coached by World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari, or Felipão. His cameo hasn’t been so easy, as Palmeiras has a board with a history of interfering in coaches’ decisions over the past years. Might be one of the reasons why the club has been trophyless since 2008 when they won São Paulo State Championship.
Felipão has already stated that he won’t stay at Verdão after this season, and won’t extend his contract any further, much due to conflict with board members. It’s unfortunate, but maybe one day Palmeiras directors will get the lesson right.
Palmeiras’ stars are Marcos Assunção and Chilean attacking midfielder Valdívia, but only the former will feature as the latter was suspended after getting a red card in the 1st leg. That might be a huge problem for Palmeiras, as Valdívia has been finding his groove lately after so much inconsistency throughout his Palmeiras career, marred by many injuries and off-field trouble.
Marcos Assunção has been the main asset in Palmeiras attack, even though he plays as a defensive midfielder for the team. The 35 years old player has already score 29 goals in 129 goals, many of them by his superb free kick. It’s amazing how he can easily place the ball wherever he wants in corners and free kicks, which also makes him leader in assists for Palmeiras. Interesting fact is that when Marcos Assunção scored, Palmeiras won 21 games, drawing 5 times and losing only 3 times. It’s clear that Marcos Assunção aim in this game will be a major factor.
Tactically, Palmeiras reproduces what Felipão always looks for in his teams: solid defending, looking for counter-attacking opportunities to kill the game. Strangely enough, the team also lands an asymmetric 4-2-2-2 which takes a 4-2-3-1 look, just like Coritiba.
It’s difficult to predict a result even though Palmeiras has a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Last year when both teams met in the Brazilian Cup, Coritiba destroyed Palmeiras in Couto Pereira, scoring 6 goals opposite then Palmeiras goalkeeper Marcos. I’m sure Felipão will look to incite his players to avenge the result, and that might come badly as it could make the game more open than it should be for Palmeiras, who’d be wise to hold on to their advantage and only look for the counter-attack to kill any Coritiba chances.
As it stands, I’d give the edge in the game to Coritiba. They’re just too strong at home, they have a coach and a team who knows how to play the competition and they should be favored in this match. But to go on an win the title, I’d give the edge to Palmeiras. Felipão has a good historic in the Brazilian Cup, winning the title 3 times when disputing 5 finals. Palmeiras might lose the game, but the scoreboard won’t be as open as the one of the 2011 game. Also, Felipão wants to save his 2 years cameo by finally bringing a trophy to Palmeiras, and they seem pretty close and pretty hungry for it.
The game will kickoff at 21:50 today here in Brazil (GMT -3). There won’t be wonderkids or stars on the field, but a trophy is always a trophy, and this games could be marked for the ages to come. It’s history in the making, and I’m sure everyone wants to be a part or a witness of it.