Palmeiras returns to 1st division in Brazil

Palmeiras, the club with the most Brazilian titles, secured its

return to the first division of the Brazilian league from a 0-0

draw with Sao Caetano on Saturday.

The draw in front of more than 35,000 fans at Pacaembu Stadium

was enough to guarantee promotion with six rounds left. The

eight-time national champion has nine more points than second-place

Chapecoense and 19 more than fifth-place Icasa. The top four teams

in the 20-team standings are promoted.

Palmeiras played with a yellow jersey instead of its traditional

green to honor the 1965 squad that represented Brazil in a friendly

against Uruguay. Palmeiras also wore Brazil’s blue trousers instead

of the white it usually wears.

With its entire squad made of Palmeiras players, Brazil beat

Uruguay 3-0. Many of the players from that friendly were honored

before kickoff at the Pacaembu on Saturday.

Palmeiras had a penalty called in its favor just before

halftime, but the referee eventually reversed his call after

discussing the play with the linesman, who said striker Alan Kardec

dived during a challenge by the Sao Caetano goalkeeper in front of

the goal.

This year’s team is led by Chile midfielder Jorge Valdivia. It

also has Paraguayan midfielder William Mendieta and Uruguayan

defensive midfielder Sebastian Eguren. The defense is led by former

Barcelona central back Henrique, who has been summoned for Brazil

recently.

”It was tough from the beginning, but we made the second

division look easy,” said Valdivia, the team’s star.

Palmeiras has won 21 of its 32 matches so far, drawing six and

losing five. It has a goal differential of plus 36, by far the best

in the league. It can clinch the title in the next few rounds.

The fourth most-popular club in Brazil, Palmeiras was relegated

last year with a team that was in part coached by current Brazil

manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Scolari led Palmeiras to the 2012 Brazilian Cup title, the

team’s first major trophy since the 1999 Copa Libertadores, but the

club struggled afterwards and the coach was fired before it was

relegated.

With the focus on the Brazilian Cup, the coach rested most of

Palmeiras* regular starters in the beginning of the Brazilian

league. The club’s first win came only in the seventh round and it

never recovered. At one point, players had to hire security guards

to protect them from upset fans who even made death threats to some

players.

Palmeiras played in the second division for the first time in

2003, returning to play in the top flight the following year.

In addition to the eight Brazilian league titles, the most along

with Santos, Palmeiras has also won two Brazilian Cups and a

Champions Cup.

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