RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari led Palmeiras to the Brazilian championship on Sunday only months after returning to his home nation. It was the club’s second title in three years.
Scolari, who was Brazil’s World Cup-winning coach in 2002, watched as Palmeiras beat Vasco da Gama 1-0 in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday to secure the trophy for the 10th time with one game in hand.
Former Alaves striker Deyverson scored the only goal after 72 minutes.
Sao Paulo-based Palmeiras has 77 points and is unbeaten for 22 games under former Chelsea coach Scolari. It is five points ahead of Flamengo with only one round left.
“Big Phil,” as the 70-year-old coach is often called, was also in charge of Brazil during its 7-1 humiliation against Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinals, and a third-place 3-0 defeat by the Netherlands. He went on to coach Brazilian team Gremio — where he had previously won the Brazilian championship in 1996 — before going to China.
Scolari returned to Brazil in July, when Palmeiras was sixth in the standings, after leading Guangzhou Evergrande to three straight Chinese Super League titles and an Asian Champions League crown.
The coach said it didn’t feel like redemption for him in Brazil after the 2014 debacle.
“I am not old-fashioned, I am not the best and I am not the worst. I am a good coach,” Scolari told journalists.
Scolari said, however, that the title helped to make up for Palmeiras being eliminated by Boca Juniors in the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores and by Cruzeiro at the same stage of the Brazilian Cup.
Scolari, whose contract with Palmeiras is until the end of 2020, has won a series of trophies with Brazilian clubs.
He won the Copa Libertadores with Gremio in 1995 and with Palmeiras four years later. He has four Brazilian Cup titles, including one with Criciuma, a small club from southern Brazil currently in the second division.