Athletico has the chance to get another international title this Saturday (20). The team faces Bragantino in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, in a single match, in Montevideo (Uruguay), at 17:00 this Saturday. The duel confronts a team that is playing its third continental final against one that appears for the first time in an international decision.
The only channel that will broadcast the match is Conmebol TV, a subscription channel. However, it is possible to make a subscription just for this game, for a price of R$ 39.90.
It is the third time that Athletico has appeared in a continental decision. In 2005, the team was defeated by São Paulo in the Libertadores decision – there was a 1-1 draw at Beira-Rio, where the team from Paraná sent the match, and a 4-0 victory in São Paulo at Morumbi.
In 2018, Hurricane won the Copa Sudamericana by drawing twice with Junior (Colombia): 1-1 in Barranquilla and another 1-1 in Arena da Baixada. The title was secured with a victory on penalties over the Colombian team. Five of the players from the 2018 final are still at the club: goalkeeper Santos, defenders Zé Ivaldo and Thiago Heleno, full-back Márcio Azevedo and attacking midfielder Nikão.
In addition, Athletico has several remnants of the 2019 Brazil Cup title, won over Internacional.
Bragantino, in turn, had never reached a continental decision. Its only statewide final was in 1991, when the team decided – and lost – the Brasileirão to São Paulo.
Athletico trains on the stage of the South American final. See photos
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Even for that reason, the item “experience” became the theme of the press conference by coach Alberto Valentim this Friday (19th). “Experience is important, but we are not getting attached to it. We don’t talk about it at the club,” he said. “Even if it’s a more experienced team than Bragantino, we don’t want to put this as an extra point to win.”
Another point highlighted by Valentim is the growth of Athletico in the last 25 years. He was a full-back for the club when the team returned to the first national division, in 1996. “I arrived in 1996, in the time of the old Baixada. The club had gone up in 1995. We’ve already had a very good campaign”, he said. “Athletico began to take a leap in 1997. I remember in 1999, when the Arena was inaugurated, that president Petraglia said that in five years Athletico would be Brazilian champion. It was a very big leap in quality. In two years, he was champion. In five, he was vice (from Brasileirão), then he was deputy at Libertadores”, he continued. “Athletico was a pioneer in several factors, reaping the results of a very serious management. Few clubs have the mindset of Athletico, of President Petraglia, who only thinks about growing”.
For this Saturday, Athletico has doubts only in midfield. Christian, Erick and Léo Cittadini compete for two spots, with more chances for the last two. In addition, the trend is to maintain the base team from the last games. The team must take the field in the 3-4-3 scheme, which drifts to a 5-2-3 scheme when the team does not have the ball.
“We have our way of playing, we will do everything with balance. When we have possession of the ball, making plays end in goal opportunities. There is the defensive part, which I charge, the fittings”, stated the coach. “We are not going to win the game at any time, in a disorganized way. We are doing a great job, a very good reorganization, we are not going to change”.
Bragantino’s coach, Maurício Barbieri, has two curious characteristics. He is one of the youngest among the 20 clubs in Brasileirão, but at the same time he is the one who has been on the same team for the longest time – since September 2020.
For this Saturday, the team from São Paulo has some shortages. On the side, Edimar and Luan Cândido compete for the spot. Midfielder Raul, who injured his knee, will be replaced by Jadsom. Lucas Evangelista should return to the team, replacing Eric Ramires. In attack, Cuello and Helinho compete for a spot on the left wing. The team plays in a 4-3-3 scheme and has two outstanding characteristics: pressure marking in the attacking field and the ball leaving the defense.
ATHLETIC x BRAGANTINE
Athletic: Saints; Pedro Henrique, Thiago Heleno and Nicolás Hernández; Marcinho, Erick (Christian), Léo Cittadini and Abner; Nikão, Renato Kayzer and David Terans. Technician: Alberto Valentim
Bragantino: Cleiton; Aderlan, Fabrício Bruno, Léo Ortiz and Edimar (Luan Cândido); Jadsom, Lucas Evangelista and Praxedes; Artur, Ytalo and Cuello (Helinho). Technician: Mauricio Barbieri
Referee: Andrés Matonte (Uruguay)
Location: Centenário Stadium, in Montevideo (Uruguay), Saturday, at 5 pm