Libertadores triumph causes fixture pile-up for Palmeiras

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Copa Libertadores - Final - Palmeiras v Santos

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Palmeiras’ Copa Libertadores final victory over Santos has led to a fixture pile-up with the Sao Paulo club facing at least eight games in 27 days before the end of February in a season that may not end before the next one begins.

Their last-gasp 1-0 win in Saturday's showpiece game at the Maracana stadium qualifies Palmeiras for the Club World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar this week.

They must first cross the globe to get to the Middle East where they enter at the semi-final stage on Feb. 7 and if they win that game they could face European champions Bayern Munich.

Palmeiras were scheduled to play the two-legged Copa do Brasil final against Gremio on Feb. 11 and 17 but the Brazilian Football Confederation have now moved those games to Feb. 28 and March 7.

The 2021 season is due to kick off on Feb. 28 but Palmeiras’ initial games in the Sao Paulo state championship are expected to be pushed back.

Palmeiras, who have played 55 matches since football restarted after the novel coronavirus hiatus on July 23 last year, also have six outstanding league fixtures to play before the 2020 season ends.

The congestion comes as the club seek to complete an unprecedented haul of trophies.

In addition to the Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of Europe's Champions League, they won the Sao Paulo state championship in August.

They are two games away from winning the Copa do Brasil and the Club World Cup and have an outside chance of claiming Brazil’s Serie A title.

Palmeiras are in fifth place, 10 points behind leaders Internacional rounds of matches left.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Ken Ferris)