Palmeiras - Santos, paulista duel for the continental throne

El Verdao and El Peixe will play in the final of the Copa Libertadores in Maracaná. The two teams from Sao Paulo are looking to replace Flamengo as the best team in South America.


Palmeiras and Santos, two teams from the state of Sao Paulo, will play the final of the 2020 Copa Libertadores in Maracaná on January 30 (5:00 p.m. local time). A tournament marked, of course, by the coronavirus crisis, which hit squarely across the continent in the decisive part of the group stage. It will be the first time that these two teams, which have experienced so many duels throughout history, meet in this competition. In addition, it will be the first final between Brazilian teams since 2006, when Internacional beat Sao Paulo.

El Verdao will seek his second title and El Peixe will attempt to reach the throne for the fourth time. The former arrive as favorites if attention is paid to the individualities and growth shown by some of their young figures such as Menino or De Paula, among others, in recent months. However, on the other side, the team that won this tournament at the hands of Pelé or Neymar, although it does not have great figures, has found the formula for success in collective work that goes from good defense to forcefulness in the final meters by Marinho or Soteldo.


Palmeiras started the tournament with Luxembourg as coach and finished the group stage with Andrey Lopes as interim manager before the arrival of Abel Ferreira. In those first six games the São Paulo team dominated with five wins and one draw. He scored 17 goals and only conceded two against opponents of a level well below a clear candidate for the title such as Guaraní, Bolívar and Tigre. He won 5-0 against Bolivians and Argentines and reached the second round as the best group leader.

In the first round he passed over Delfín, with a 1-3 in the first leg and another 5-0 in the second leg. An offensive display that launched the team despite having some significant casualties. In the quarters, Libertad was measured, a much more fierce team with which they could only tie one goal in Asunción. However, on the return leg the team once again showed its power to win 3-0.

During the semifinals against River the two wingers of the team were seen. From the 0-3 achieved in Avellaneda to touching the tragedy in the Allianz Parque losing 0-2 and showing many doubts in defense and a null offensive performance. However, they made it to the final.


The Santista team, like Palmeiras, added 16 points in the group stage. Although with less spectacular records. In total, 10 goals for and five against. They won each of the games by the minimum and only Olimpia could stop the winning streak with a goalless draw at Vila Belmiro.

Despite its great start to the tournament, in the round of 16 the future of the team was not clear and it was measured at the Quito League, a team of good level that also has the altitude of the Ecuadorian capital to be even stronger. However, Santos showed his candidacy with a 1-2 away win thanks to goals from Soteldo and Marinho. In the second leg, the League won 0-1 and touched the comeback, however, the Brazilians survived.

From there, Santos would face Gremio and Boca, two of the great favorites who succumbed in the return duels with a bang. In the quarterfinals, the first leg was 1-1 and at home Peixe had an overwhelming start that allowed them to take a 2-0 lead in the first quarter of an hour. In the end the result was 4-1. Against Boca they also showed a clear superiority and won 3-0.

Once from Palmeiras

Palmeiras arrives with all its available troops. Gustavo Gómez and Patrick de Paula recovered regardless of their physical problems and the same happened with the young Gabriel Verón, who could act as a shock. A scheme that highlights the strength of the midfield and the quality of the full-backs in the offensive task. Abel Ferreira also has the option of accumulating more players in the core and Raphael Veiga can enter the eleven, so Scarpa would be left out. A template that is very broad and offers the technician many variants.

Once de Santos

There will also be no important players who miss the finale at El Peixe. The only notable absence will be that of midfielder Jobson, who usually plays the last leg of matches. However, Lucas Lima or the young Sandry can act there, who would even have the option of being a starter instead of Braga in a more cautious scheme. Of the team, it is worth highlighting the forcefulness in the completion of the offensive players and the effectiveness of the rear, which has produced a sensational tournament.Abel Ferreira

The 42-year-old Portuguese coach was quick to reach the bench after hanging up his boots in 2011 after a lackluster career always in his country's football. He led the Sporting and Braga subsidiaries before moving to the latter's first team and carrying out three successful campaigns, one of which achieved the record for points and goals scored in a season. Then he left to take the reins of the Greek PAOK, where the results also accompanied. However, in October Palmeiras' proposal arrived and he accepted it. In a few months he has managed to get the team to reach the final of the Copa do Brasil and this Copa Libertadores.

Coach with an offensive tendency who has managed to get the most out of each player. He has recovered some pieces that seemed lost just a few months ago and although the team still needs time to learn some automatisms, he seems ready to look for the title. He usually uses a 4-2-3-1 scheme in which the wingers tend to contribute a lot in the rival field while the double pivot supports the defensive part. In the final meters the team does not hesitate to be vertical and finish the arrivals without hesitation.

Comparison data: SofaScore


The 57-year-old coach has extensive experience with 23 years of work on the benches that have allowed him to direct the main teams in Brazil such as Flamengo, Sao Paulo, Gremio, Fluminense, Cruzeiro or Atlético Mineiro. Now he is living his third stage in Santos and is one step away from repeating the success of 2013, when he was champion of the Libertadores with Atlético Mineiro. In addition, a team that he knows well and with which he obtained the Brasileirao in 2016 will be measured.

He has always led with passion and has given his teams the extra strength it takes to be successful. Talent is not enough for him, but he demands tireless work from each player who jumps onto the pitch. And now you have found a block that is perfectly suited to your requests. Like his rival, he also uses the 4-2-3-1 formula. Although in this case the wingers tend to hold back more and the team has no problems generating more positional attacks. Intense pressure is one of your keys to stealing in dangerous positions.


El Verdao has played four Copa Libertadores finals but has only been able to add one title so far. In the 1960s he played two finals (1961 and 1968) but fell in both cases. In the first of them the São Paulo team fell to Peñarol and from that squad stood out Djalma Santos, a two-time world champion. Seven years later the tough Estudiantes took the trophy with a third playoff game played at the Centenario stadium in Montevideo. There Palmeiras had the mythical Ademir da Guía and Baldocchi, a member of Brazil from 70, although in the World Cup that year he did not play any games.

It took 31 years for the team from São Paulo to return to a final and, this time, win the title. Against Deportivo Cali, Scolari's team fell 1-0 in the first leg and won 2-1 at home. Then, the decisive penalty shootout fell from the Brazilian team. From that squad, Marcos, Roque Júnior or Alex are worth mentioning. In 2000, that great squad was close to revalidating the title but the penalty shoot-out on that occasion benefited Boca at a packed Morumbí stadium.


Santos has also played four finals in the great continental club tournament. However, his success rate is much higher and he has three titles. Two names stand out above the rest in this story, Pele and Neymar. Both led two generations 50 years apart to lift the trophy.

Pelé won the titles of 1962 and 1963. In the first of them the star arrived injured in the final after the World Cup in Chile and only the tiebreaker match against Peñarol could appear. He scored two goals and took Santos to the top. A year later the Peixe won the title against Boca. With victories both in the first leg and in the second leg, where the victory was certified. In addition to Pelé, it is worth highlighting Coutinho, who scored three goals against Xeneize.

Then came a prolonged drought that only Neymar could stop in a tournament that catapulted him into European football. In the final they beat Peñarol with goals from the now PSG striker and Danilo, Juventus side and former Real Madrid player. Years before, in 2003, Santos lost his only final with another great generation of footballers who were left without a prize. Robinho, Diego, Renato and Oliveira were there. However, Boca de Bianchi was devastating.

Maracaná is one of the most historic stadiums in the world. The usual home of Flamengo and Fluminense, it will open its doors for the second single match final in the Copa Libertadores. Always remembered for that triumph of Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup, he also left the title for Germany against Argentina in 2014.

It was inaugurated in 1950 for that World Cup that Brazil escaped from their hands and was reformed to host the World Cup event in which the hosts were destroyed in the Mineirazo. Although the game will be played behind closed doors, it has a capacity for 84,738 spectators and has an attendance record that seems impossible to beat in the medium term. In a Classic between Fla and Flu, 194,603 people gathered in December 1963,

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