Who is the ‘goal man’? Options for Marcelo Moreno’s job at Cruzeiro

(Photo: AFP/POOL/Alberto Valdes)

O cruise seeks a new “goal man” for the next three games in Serie B of the Brazilian Championship. Without Marcelo Moreno, which will represent Bolivia in the South American Qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, the team faces CRB on Sunday, at 4 pm, at the Rei Pel stadium, in Macei-AL, for the 21st round. Afterwards, they will face Gois, in Goinia, on September 4th (Saturday), and Ponte Preta, at home, on the 7th (Tuesday).

The one chosen by Vanderlei Luxemburgo will have the responsibility of replacing the celestial top scorer in Serie B, with five goals, and the foreigner who most rocked the net for the club – 54 in 139 games. Another relevant statistic from Moreno is the proximity to the 200th goal in his career: he also scored for Oriente Petrolero-BOL (2), Vitria (18), Shakhtar Donetsk-UCR (11), Werder Bremen-ALE (3), Grmio (25), Flemish (4), Changchun Yatai-CHN (22), Wuhan Zall-CHN (25), Shijiazhuang Ever Bright-CHN (8) and Bolivia National Team (25).

The main candidate vacates Marcelo Moreno the veteran Rafael Sobis, 36 years old, author of 179 goals as a professional, 37 for Cruzeiro. In the 2021 season, the number 10 shirt played several times as a midfielder and scored three goals in 33 matches (29 as a starter). The second alternative is the young Thiago, 20, who is just taking his first steps in the main group, to which he was promoted in January 2020. In a year and seven months, the 1.90m athlete has scored four goals in 40 games.

Thiago received praise from Vanderlei Luxemburgo after being the hero of the 1-0 victory over Nutico, on August 17, at the Aflitos stadium, in Recife, for the 19th round. On the occasion, the coach highlighted the player’s opportunism to catch the rebound of Eduardo Brock’s free kick and also his personality in “holding the ball” in the attack amid pressure from the opponent in the search for a draw. Regarding Sobis, Luxa praised her movement in several spaces in the field in the 2-2 draw with Vitria, at Independencia, on the 11th, for the 17th round.

The defensive midfielder Rmulo, who should again be improvised on the right side due to the absence of Norberto (muscle injury in the right thigh), lamented the absence of Marcelo Moreno, but emphasized the confidence in those selected by Luxemburgo – either Thiago or Rafael Sobis.

“Moreno will be sorely missed, as he intimidates his opponents, positions himself well and has scored important goals for us,” he said. “But we have very high level players. Thiago himself, who scored the goal against Nutico, is a sensational guy, young, who will do very well in his career. Rafael Sobis can also play as 9. We are well supplied with Moreno or in his absence”, added Rmulo.

Considering the entire 2021 season, Cruzeiro’s offensive performance is modest – 45 goals in 43 games (average of 1.04). In Serie B, the team scored 25 goals in 20 rounds (average of 1.25) and shares the position of fourth best attack alongside Nutico and Coritiba. The team occupies the 14th place, with 24 points – four more than Londrina, first in the relegation zone (17th), and nine behind Guarani, which closes the G4 (4th).