Dorival Júnior exaggerated in the care for the duel with Atlético Mineiro for the Copa do Brasil at Maracanã. He risked two talented boys, however very green for a big game, like Victor Hugo and Matheus França, the latter in the role of Arrascaeta, the most important of the 4-3-1-2 that seems to be the tactical idea of the red-black coach to most games.
Then, with another injury to Rodrigo Caio, the option for Gustavo Henrique, preserving David Luiz and Léo Pereira for fourth, increased the insecurity of the rearguard, exposed by having only seven athletes defending and with a Fabrício Bruno coming back from a long recovery.
The biggest risk, however, was Rodinei on the right side. If against Tolima he even excelled in defensive work in Ibagué and had a wide-open corridor in the Maracanã massacre, this time he showed all the defensive fragility that makes it mandatory to search the market for a name to reach and assume the position.
The goal that decided the match at Neo Química Arena is a combo of Rodinei’s shortcomings: he gave the free runner to the left-handed Adson, moved to the left with Mosquito’s entry in the second half, reaching the bottom and crossing. The ball passed, changed sides, and in the center of the right, even with the mitigating deflection of Fabrício Bruno, the touch to the own nets, alone, without being harassed by an opponent, was grotesque.
It’s the first big warning that Flamengo brings from Itaquera: weak link delivers game. The team finished 12 times, made Cássio work, especially in Vitinho’s kick, the only highlight of the winger who played as a striker with Gabigol, who still hit the left post, and could have added another victory.
They lost to a team that hasn’t lost at home for 19 matches. Full of embezzlement and problems, with results better than performance most of the time. But he is in the quarterfinals of Libertadores, he has everything to confirm the classification for the same stage in the Copa do Brasil against Santos in Vila and, with the three points at home, he reached the same 29 of the leader Palmeiras at the beginning of the round.
All this because they have a great coach, for the level of football played in Brazil. Vitor Pereira didn’t have a pre-season, he needs to “adjust the car going”, but, regardless of the lineup, the team always knows what to do on the field. He may not perform as well and depend on an own goal to win, but the importance of the Portuguese’s work is very clear.
It’s another alert for Fla, thinking about Libertadores in early August. With full team or not, Corinthians will be competitive. In Itaquera and Maracanã. Even if it’s to defend themselves, alternating a line of four or five behind. Organized and intense, with experienced heads or “fresh” legs. Ready to take advantage of the opponent’s hesitations.
Rodinei failed and Flamengo’s mission in the Brazilian got complicated. It was clear from Dorival’s actions that the hearts are the priority. It’s difficult to know if it’s the coach’s choice, as it was with Renato Gaúcho, or the management, afraid of spending another year in white and seeing the case of Palmeiras, which went from a disappointing season to the apotheosis of the Libertadores bi, consecrating Abel Ferreira, for the most important achievement.
Renato Gaúcho’s “whoever wants everything has nothing” looks like it will become a mantra in 2022. Even with reinforcements. The problem is that Rodinei misses at a decisive moment, as Andreas did in Montevideo. This is the great risk of putting all your chips in the knockout stage. Choice issue.