Tite had his representative at Mineirão this Wednesday. He sent assistant Cleber Xavier to Gigante for the second Atlético-MG x Flamengo in a three-day interval. Perhaps with the main mission of analyzing Arana, but on the spot, the assistant really saw it was Givanildo. Hulk in Hulk Night. Decisive in the 2-1 victory, in the first half of the round of 16 of the Copa do Brasil. Cup worthy? Only Tite knows.
In top scorer land, three games without scoring seems like an eternity. Hulk lived his biggest goal “fast” since November 2021. He explained after the game one of the reasons for the anomaly. For two weeks, he is not 100% and has been living with foot pain. Mistakes of every hero. Nothing close to taking him out of battle.
And Hulk has been at Rooster long enough to understand the athleticism. No matter the competition, the moment or occasion. For his fans, facing Flamengo will always be a battle. There are indelible hurts in this classic. To fight them, it is necessary to “fight” – no wonder this was the word chosen for the mosaic that lit up and set fire to Mineirão at the entrance of rivals to the field.
For this reason, perhaps almost as much as the goal that opened the scoring, the Atletico went wild with a cart from his great hero on the side of the defensive field, in the middle of the second half. A taste of the whole, in one night of everything. Goal, assist, dribbles, sprints, will. Intensity.
Hulk was the highlight of Atlético-MG’s victory over Flamengo — Photo: Pedro Souza/Atlético
Intensity that, like Sunday, must have risen like adrenaline in the athletes’ veins at the first step on the grass at Gigante da Pampulha. This time, the impression and feel were even higher decibels. Maybe for the night, maybe for the party. More than 50 thousand voices in absolutely deafening tone. Unison. For almost 90 minutes, relentless.
Even – and maybe especially – in the moments when Flamengo was superior in the game. And they weren’t rare. Compared to the last presentation, another team. More willing, smarter, better posted tactically. Much more interested in spoiling the alvinegra party.
Like Fernando Diniz in the most negative result of the season (5-3 for Fluminense, at Maracanã), Dorival tried to surprise Galo’s departure. High lines, intense pressure on defenders and white midfielders. That’s how Flamengo bothered for a good part of the game, but that’s how they took the first hit.
Hulk at the moment he kicks the ball towards Atlético-MG’s goal at Flamengo – Photo: Atlético-MG
Those who score high give space below. And in exactly 10 seconds, the ball left Everson’s hands to find Diego Alves’ nets. In the fast transition, the goalkeeper found Mariano, who turned on Hulk in an exquisite way. In the speed dispute with Pablo, Rodrigo Caio and Diego Alves, better for the hero.
A touch on top that yielded one of the rare sighs of silence in Mineirão. Eyes of Givanildo, rivals and 53 thousand people fixed on the ball. From the parabola to the ground. The net. Explosion.
Here, it is worth pausing to offer worthy condolences to Mariano. In the midst of the victory party, the side discovered the death of his mother in the locker room. Welcomed by teammates and coach, who chose not to give a press conference. Mourning.
>> Collective de Turco is canceled after news of the death of Mariano’s mother
Aside from the goal, an unassuming shot by Hulk from midfield was the only other Atletico first-half finish. In addition, Flamengo’s dominance, on its own merits and acceptance of the hosts. The rival lacked more force in the definitions of the moves – and also a Nathan Silva in a less inspired night. Atlético lacked the hunger needed for the second goal.
“Let’s go Brasileirão! The biggest offer of games for a price that gives game. Sign the Premiere!”
Similar strategies in the second half, but this time with a more conscious Rooster. More “sharp”. Flamengo continued with the ball (closed the game with 58%), but fell again into Mohamed’s trap in the 9th minute.
Manual counterattack, successful thanks to Hulk’s inspired night. In speed and body dispute, he made Arrascaeta and João Gomes look like juniors. With his head held high, perfect dug for Ademir to enlarge. Fumacinha had entered in the first half after Keno’s muscle injury. For the second time in a row, he left his signature at Mineirão.
“In a big game, the Hulk crushes!”, celebrates Carol | The Voice of the Crowd
If they didn’t feel the first goal, the 2 to 0 made Flamengo go to the ropes. It was time for Atlético’s fatal knockout, but he lacked aim for the last blow. Nacho and Allan missed good chances. On the other hand, Lázaro took advantage. The goal that gave survival to Rubro-Negro. The only downside to an almost perfect night (on the pitch, it’s worth noting) for Atlético.
The 2-1 was not a bad result, but of course it could have been better. A minimum advantage is also an advantage, but it does not give Galo the right to tranquility at Maracanã. The return promises tension. And by the way, who knows, maybe this isn’t positive. Turco and the squad have already shown that they react better under pressure than in comfort. Write down on your calendar: July 13th; another final is coming.
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Galo na Veia – Atlético-MG Membership Program — Photo: Disclosure