The Brazilian Serie A title has been decided with a week to spare. São Paulo-based Palmeiras clinched their 9th Brazilian league title after beating Chapecoense 1-0 at home on Sunday. A record-setting crowd of 40,986 pushed the team to Palmeiras’ first league title in 22 years. The team’s top scorer, Gabriel Jesus, hadn’t even been born when the team last hoisted the trophy.
It was Jesus’s final game for Palmeiras, as he will join Manchester City in January after signing a five-year deal with the club back in August.
While Jesus is only 19, left-back Zé Roberto became the oldest player to have ever won a Brazilian championship at 42. It was Zé Roberto’s 17th domestic trophy in his career. During the league, the left-back has made 27 appearances, scoring one goal. “We’re going down in history,” he said, “this is the start of a new era.”
Since 1994, Palmeiras has had many ups and downs. The team won Copa Libertadores and multiple Copa Brazil but had also been relegated twice in ten years. There was also the disappointing 2009 season. Palmeiras was in first place, five points ahead of the closest team, with only ten matches to go. During the final nine games, the team recorded one draw and nine losses, ending in fifth place – not high enough to qualify for continental competitions.
This time, though, the team needed only a tie on Sunday against Chapecoense to clinch the title. During the whole weekend, the streets of São Paulo became green. For supporters, however, the words “title” or “champion” were taboo. Palmeiras supporters are known for being pessimistic, and Palmeiras has choked marvelously in recent years. Not this time. In 2016, the Brazilian Serie A title belongs to Palmeiras.
Palmeiras vs Chapecoense Highlights