It was a different Atlético-MG. The ones that fans haven’t seen for a long time. A Rooster, as the hymn is proud to say, strong and vengeful. Strong, to show that, despite recent failures, it is still one of the best teams in the country. And vindictive, to give an answer worthy of the barrage of criticism to those who remain as its commander.
In the rhythm of more than 50 thousand voices, the best performance of the season in the blunt 2-0 over Flamengo.
In fact, everything looked different in the Pampulha region, in Belo Horizonte, that Sunday. From hours before the game, in the intense movement around Mineirão, to the refusal to leave the Gigante’s stands long minutes after the final whistle.
With each closed expression that was looked at, with each deafening and interminable scream that was heard, the signal was clear: it could even be a game of the 13th round of the Brazilian, but for the athletican, it was the final. And there is nothing more symbolic of this than the energetic, precise and constant rocking of the Giant dressed in black and white.
Much because of the historic rivalry with the opponent, of course, but above all because of the white-and-white moment. I would say it is very likely that the turn from Sunday to Monday was Turco Mohamed’s first good night’s sleep in several days. As the coach suffered in the preview of this match. From the criticisms, previously only external, to the clearly troubled atmosphere in the upper echelon of Cidade do Galo. Everything seemed to indicate his fall this Sunday.
Nacho celebrates Atlético-MG’s goal at Mineirão – Photo: Pedro Souza/Atlético
A scenario of such pressure that it was not enough just to win one of the best squads in the country to remain employed. It was necessary to convince, to play like never before, to enchant again like in 2021. Ninety minutes for all or nothing. And everything came, thanks to the only bond that perhaps has even strengthened at Atlético in the face of everything that has happened recently.
The squad never hid that they like Mohamed, and it was on the field that the clear answer of true support for the coach came.
“He deserved this victory. It’s the least he deserved. He’s a very good guy, and when the person is good, we do everything to help. You can be sure we’ll give our lives for him” (Hulk)
Mosaic of Atlético-MG fans at Mineirão — Photo: Pedro Souza/Atlético
“Let’s go Brasileirão! The biggest offer of games for a price that gives game. Sign the Premiere!”
The opening whistle and the first few minutes of the game were enough to realize that it would not be just any Sunday. The athletican mass always pushes, but it was different. The cry from the stands was almost despairing: “Go at them, Rooster!”, and Rooster was. He crushed Flamengo in the defense field, in an avalanche that had a few minutes of rest.
Perhaps in a short space of time in the initial stage, when the rival managed to advance and create two good chances in a row, with Andreas Pereira. Perhaps at the beginning of the second half, when Galo tried to lower the lines to protect themselves in defense and exploit counterattacks. He tried, because the retreat was not allowed by the crowd.
It wasn’t a day to be cautious, it was a day for “Crazy Rooster”. At every slightest sign of a red-black response, the response came in an extra dose of will. Sometimes from the outside in, sometimes from the inside out. If the crowd asked for the Rooster on top, the Rooster would go. If the grandstand turned down the volume, some player would make the traditional gesture to raise the crowd again, and the crowd would go.
Second mosaic of Atlético-MG fans at Mineirão — Photo: Pedro Souza/Atlético
Atmosphere under which Mariano taught a lesson in playing football on the right side. In between, Allan recalled the great moments of 2021 by delivering one of his best performances both on and off the ball. Up front, if not as inspired as at other times, Nacho, Hulk and company played at the base of the race and had defining moments.
The midfielder opened the scoring on the rebound of Keno’s header in the first half. Play built with calm, patience, quality. At the edge of the area, the ball swung from the right to the center, from the middle to the left. Arrived in Arana, who raised the head of shirt 11 – who also had a performance to be highlighted. In the rebound of Diego Alves, the first explosion of Mineirão.
Hulk, on the other hand, spent a good part of the game fighting with Flamengo’s defense duo, but when he had the least space, he showed why he is a star. Unparalleled intelligence and quality to just fix Mariano’s launch in his head. Ademir closed the score and completed the party once and for all.
Fumacinha, by the way, put an end to the goal drought and took off his shirt in the celebration in a tone of relief for the (also) strong criticism he had been receiving. He came on in the second half in place of Vargas, who returned to the starting lineup after injury and gave another face to the right side of the offensive system. The team closest to what Galo got used to playing with Zaracho, who remains in the DM and is sorely missed.
“It’s in crisis, call Flamengo!”, celebrates Carol | The Voice of the Crowd
Individual and collective working, tactics, technique and race up to date. All under the baton of a Mohamed this time not so quiet at the edge of the lawn, clearly nervous. But on Argentine Father’s Day, an afternoon of glory for him. Even the entry of Otávio in the vacancy of the injured Jair gave another consistency to the defensive system.
And that’s how Galo won and convinced at Mineirão. In the best performance of the year. In the biggest answer there could be for Turco. Atlético ends the uncomfortable series of four straight setbacks, the biggest since 2020, and the coach gains the relief of a few more days of work. It remains to be seen how long. Wednesday has more Flamengo. And Mohamed knows that for him, from now on, everything will be final.
Antonio “El Turco” Mohamed, Atlético-MG coach — Photo: Pedro Souza/Atlético
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Galo na Veia – Atlético-MG Membership Program — Photo: Disclosure