Corinthians versus Palmeiras is known in Brazil, simply, as ‘The Derby‘. The long journey to it becoming one of the biggest derbies in the world and arguably the biggest in its homeland began 95 years ago today.
That’s when the two teams encountered for the very first time. That’s when the outcome was a supposed formality.
Having been established in 1910, four years before their upcoming opponents, Corinthians had rapidly established a large following and developed into the force in Paulista football. They went into the game unbeaten in 25 games and three years, having won the previous year’s Campeonato Paulista (LFP version) with a 100 per cent record, having conceded just once in their past five outings, and boasting Brazil international attackers Neco and Amilcar. By contrast, Palestra Italia, as Palmeiras were then known, had finished joint-bottom of the state championship (APEA version).
The club with English roots were expected to overwhelm the one founded for Italian immigrants in Sao Paulo in Round 3 of what had now evolved into one single tournament, but despite Corinthians dominating possession and territory in the first half, the teams went in at the break goalless.
And though deadlock continued until the first hour had produced zero goals, the last 30 minutes - and the boot of one man - produced three in front of a large crowd at the Parque Antarctica.
Surprisingly, the scorer was caped in the green jersey with the white hoop across it and was only 19 years old. Indeed, Caetano’s long-range rocket put Palestra Italia ahead, before he doubled the lead on 70 minutes and completed a hat-trick and stunning 3-0 victory late on.
Caetano instantly became a fans' favourite and a Brazil international, though his star quickly faded thereafter. Corinthians-Palestra Italia instantly became a fierce rivalry – one that has never, and will never, fade.