Palmeiras beat Vasco last Sunday night (27) by 1 x 0 and remained 11 points behind Botafogo in the Brasileirão. Despite the victory, the fans were worried about Dudu, substituted in the 42nd minute of the first half after spraining his right knee alone. This Monday (28), the fear was confirmed: the number seven had a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament and a meniscus injury.

The striker will undergo surgery in the coming days, undergo physiotherapy sessions and will probably not play again in 2023, as the injury is usually treated between four and six months. Dudu’s knee problem caused great pessimism and concern in Palmeiras fans for the options in the cast.

Abel Ferreira usually replaces Dudu with Jhon Jhon, who doesn’t have the same dribbling characteristics as the starter. There is still the option for Breno Lopes, hero of the 2020 Libertadores title, but contested by the fans for his poor performance.

The fans’ concern points to a possible Libertadores semifinal against Boca Juniors, projecting Breno Lopes or Jhon Jhon as starters in Bombonera. There were those who joked about the situation, using the plane purchased by President Leila Pereira as a substitute. It is worth mentioning that the aircraft suffered from technical problems in the last week, and the club had to charter a flight for the players to return to Brazil.

Dudu’s injury happens at a decisive moment of the season

In the fight for Brasileirão and Libertadores, Dudu’s injury could disrupt Palmeiras’ sequence. In the national championship, Alviverde is chasing Botafogo and trying to reduce the giant 11-point lead. There is still a direct confrontation between the teams, to be played in November.

Only a major drop in performance by the club from Rio could represent the arrival of Abel’s team, which scored a good streak and reduced an advantage that was already greater for Glorioso (14 points, in the 15th round).

At Libertadores, the situation is more comfortable to deal with Dudu’s absence. This Wednesday (30), Palmeiras hosts Deportivo Pereira, from Colombia, with a four-goal advantage to advance to the semifinals of the competition. If they advance, they will face Racing or Boca Juniors, both from Argentina, who tied 0-0 in the first leg and are not among the best teams in the competition.

On the other side of the key are the other favorites, in addition to Palmeiras, Fluminense and Inter, who won the first leg of their qualifiers and have an advantage to make the semifinal.

In the three previous Libertadores that Palmeiras played with Abel Ferreira, the club was champion twice (2020 and 2021) and eliminated by Athletico-PR in the semifinal last year. The record with the Portuguese on the edge of the field in the continental tournament is 29 wins in 41 games, in addition to eight draws and only four defeats.

Palmeiras next games

  • Palmeiras x Deportivo Pereira, Libertadores, Allianz Parque, São Paulo-SP – August 30 (Wednesday), at 21:30 (Brasília time);
  • Corinthians x Palmeiras, Brasileirão Série A, Neo Química Arena, São Paulo-SP – September 3 (Sunday), at 4 pm (Brasília time);
  • Palmeiras x Goiás, Brasileirão Série A, Allianz Parque, São Paulo-SP – September 15 (Friday), at 21:30 (Brasília time).

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