Palmeiras and Atlético-MG reached the first leg of the Libertadores 2021 semifinal separated by seven points in that year’s Brasileirão. Galo was already the leader, while Verdão was in second. The balance tonic given by the Serie A table was proven with balanced games in the playoffs of the continental tournament. There were two draws, and Palmeiras only passed because of the away goal. Now, on the eve of the Libertadores reunion, only for the quarterfinals, the signs coming from the Brasileirão indicate a disparity between the two teams.
Palmeiras is the leader and, even without being brilliant, has achieved the necessary results to create the “fat” in relation to the pursuers – the closest remains Corinthians, four points behind. Atlético-MG, however, dropped to seventh after the results of the 20th round and is 10 points less than the Palmeiras.
More than the cold numbers, the performance on the field and the moment of the two teams in the national tournament may indicate that the balance in the Libertadores crossing weighs in favor of Palmeiras — although knockout competitions are the ideal stage to deconstruct analyzes based on points. racing. The first game is Wednesday, at Mineirão.
Despite claiming to be concerned with the refereeing of Serie A, Abel Ferreira’s Palmeiras are the ones who lost the least in the Brasileirão (two games) and come from a sequence of four victories. The most recent was against Ceará, away from home and with suffocation at the end. In addition, the team already had a lesson in this year’s Copa do Brasil playoff, when it was eliminated by São Paulo — and, yes, with an arbitration error admitted by the CBF in the capital bid that led the confrontation to the penalty shootout. .
In the construction of the game, Gustavo Scarpa assumed a leading role in a period that Raphael Veiga was half-off. The team is also in the process of adapting to the arrival of new strikers, López and Merentiel. Both are registered in Libertadores and the first scored one of the goals against Ceará.
Atlético-MG, in turn, changed coaches in the last round. In Cuca’s debut, yesterday (31), a defeat that drew attention: it took Internacional 3-0, conceding all the goals in the first half. The indication is that the effects of Turco Mohamed’s lackluster work still surround Galo.
In addition, Hulk, the main player of the team, is not in the best phase. The forward has not scored in the last five games in which he has participated. In the Brasileirão, defender Gustavo Gómez, from Palmeiras, has the same seven goals as the Atletico hero. Ron is another of Abel’s team that has reached that number.
Atlético-MG is also already out of the Copa do Brasil, sees the chance of a Brazilian title moving away even at the turn of the first to the second round and has in Libertadores the possibility of compensating for frustrations in national competitions. To make it more difficult, left-back Guilherme Arana left the game at Beira-Rio with a muscle problem and became another headache.
It’s starting over a job that we knew we were going to have. So it’s in the price. I know how to do it, how to do it. Things will get better. You have the opportunity in two days to erase a defeat, a bad result. That’s the big advantage in a great game.”
Cuca, Atlético-MG coach
The question is whether the short time until the confrontation will be enough for Galo to resurrect the memory of last year’s game, under the command of the same Cuca, considering the complexity of fighting face to face with a Palmeiras coached by a mature Abel.
What about Corinthians and Flamengo?
Another Brazilian clash in the Libertadores quarterfinals is between Corinthians, vice-leader of the Brasileirão, and Flamengo, which is in fifth. In this case, pointing out favoritism to those in front can be a trap.
In the weekend round, both spared players. Corinthians defeated Botafogo 1-0, while Flamengo thrashed Atlético-GO 4-1. The indicative that can be taken from this is that Dorival Júnior has a wider range of alternatives at his disposal than Vitor Pereira . Fla begins to give rhythm to players of the size of Vidal and sees young people like Victor Hugo showing service. At Corinthians, the blanket is shorter and less popular, despite the number of players who arrived at the last window, such as Balbuena and Yuri Alberto.
The round’s complaints
The meeting between clubs and the CBF arbitration commission, a week ago, did not serve as an antidote to complaints directed at the Brasileirão referees. In this round, another wave of criticism of decisions, in fact, questionable by the whistle group.
Palmeiras complained about the penalty scored in favor of Ceará, understanding that there was no fault in the dispute between Danilo and Vina. Anderson Daronco scored on the field and the VAR booth checked and endorsed the decision. Ceará, on the other hand, complained about an unmarked penalty against Palmeiras, after a push by Gustavo Gómez in Mendoza. Daronco interpreted that he “has no arm movement”. Video referee Rodrigo Nunes de Sá agreed: “Ok, bid checked. Normal dispute.”
I said that I would like this championship to be decided within the four lines by two teams, but I start to have some doubts”
Abel Ferreira, coach of Palmeiras
Also on Saturday, even though Flamengo won 4-1, there was criticism over the confirmation of Atlético-GO’s goal, although the VAR called on the field referee, Caio Max Vieira, to mark a foul at the origin of the play. In the same game, the Goiás team contested the penalty in Marinho, which generated Flame’s third goal and was also confirmed after checking the monitor.
Rodrigo Dunshee de Abranches, vice president of Flamengo, took to social media to complain, repeating what Adson Batista, president of Atlético-GO, had already done. It is worth remembering that today (1) begins the interseason of national arbitration, which will bring together 95 referees, according to CBF. They will do theoretical and practical activities in Rio de Janeiro.
Another accusation of racism in the stands
The Arena da Baixada, in Curitiba, was the scene of two more accusations of racism coming from the stands in Brazilian football. According to São Paulo, a club employee was the target of racist attacks after the penalty saved by goalkeeper Felipe Alves in the match against Athletico. Subsequently, images of a supporter of the home team imitating monkey towards the São Paulo fans were released on social networks.
The Superior Court of Sports Justice (STJD) has already dealt with some cases this year. São Paulo itself had a fan who imitated a monkey during the game against Fluminense, in Morumbi. Last week, the court, for example, took away Atlético-GO’s field command because a fan called the midfielder Fellipe Bastos, from Goiás, a “monkey”.