Palmeiras bounce back after CWC final loss to win South American Super Cup

By Samindra Kunti in Sao Paulo

March 3 – Palmeiras defeated Athletico Paranaense 2-0 to claim the South American Super Cup 4-2 on aggregate and their first prize under new club president Leila Pereira.

In the 49th minute, the hosts at the Parque Allianz were rewarded for their first-half domination and all-round endeavour when Ze Rafael curled a free-kick past goalkeeper Santos and into the net, much to the delight of the home fans who turned up in their biggest numbers yet this year, with a sell-out crowd of 30,065, with stadium capacity limited to 75% due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Danilo added a second three minutes from time.

Before kick-off, fan group Mancha Verde protested with the banner: ‘Tia Leila (Aunt Leila), pay attention, you are not the owner of Palmeiras’.

In November, Leila Pereira won the club’s presidential elections, becoming the first female president in Palmeiras’ history. Pereira, 57, was elected president of Palmeiras unopposed until 2024. Since 2015, she has sponsored the club with bank Crefisa, pouring hundreds of millions of reais as outright investment or loan into the club.

The Sao Paulo giants went on to win retain the Copa Libertadores, but after defeat in the final of the Club World Cup against Chelsea, the relationship with has Pereira soured. In the corridors of the club, some advisors have expressed dismay at how Pereira runs things.

The Recopa – which pitches the winner of the Copa Libertadores against the winner of the Copa Sudamericana – offered the first chance for Pereira to win a title since she took over at the start of the year.  The first leg had finished 2-2, but Palmeiras were distinctly better on home soil, controlling the match from start to finish.

Palmeiras’ Portuguese coach Abel Fereira was sent off after a minor touchline fracas following his team’s second goal. Even so, the fans cheered every last kick of the match. Tia Leila, then, must have been pleased with the end of the evening.

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