Palmeiras opens this Wednesday the dispute with Atlético-MG for a spot in the semifinals of Libertadores. At least in coincidences and in recent history, fans can cheer up: after all, on the other side is a coach who has been beaten by Verdão in the continental tournament.
Back at Galo, Cuca was on the path of Palmeiras in the last two editions of Libertadores. Before being eliminated in the 2021 semifinal, precisely by Atlético-MG, the coach was defeated by Abel Ferreira’s team in the decision of the 2020 competition, by Santos.
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Palmeiras wins Santos and is Libertadores champion
At the time of Peixe, Cuca was sent off in the final minutes of the final played at Maracanã, after delaying a free kick by Marcos Rocha. From the stands, he saw Breno Lopes score the goal of the Palmeiras title shortly after receiving the red card.
Abel Ferreira and Cuca in the 2020 Libertadores final, at Maracanã — Photo: Cesar Greco/Palmeiras
Last season, Cuca dueled with Abel Ferreira once again, this time qualifying for the Libertadores final. There were two draws: 0 to 0 at Allianz Parque and 1 to 1 at Mineirão, which guaranteed the classification to Verdão by the tiebreaker criterion. Afterwards, the Palmeiras confirmed another title with a victory against Flamengo, in Uruguay.
During the current group stage, Palmeiras used their experience in the 2021 Libertadores to reinforce the objective of finishing with the best overall campaign and having the possibility of deciding at home against any opponent.
Palmeiras starts a draw with Atlético-MG and advances to the Libertadores final
In the view of the coaching staff, the fact that Galo decided last year’s semi at Mineirão was an advantage for the opponent in a confrontation marked by balance and decided in the details. It will be different this time.
In Group A, Verdão advanced with 100% of success, record of goals scored and the best performance in the history of the tournament. Galo added 11 points, had an unbeaten streak interrupted, but ended up as the leader of its group.
Abel Ferreira in Atlético-MG x Palmeiras — Photo: Staff Images/Conmebol
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In the round of 16, the Palmeiras passed Cerro Porteño with two victories: 3-0 in Paraguay and 5-0 in São Paulo. Galo eliminated Emelec with a 1-1 draw in Ecuador and a 1-0 victory in Belo Horizonte.
Because of the fall in the Copa do Brasil and the campaign in the Brasileirão, the athletican board opted for the dismissal of Antonio Mohamed and agreed to the return of Cuca last week.
In 2016, he lived a similar moment to the current one, when he left Verdão citing family problems, shortly after the Brazilian title, and returned after five months, after the resignation of Eduardo Baptista.
The game against Palmeiras, this Wednesday, will be Cuca’s second in his current spell at the Minas Gerais club. Abel Ferreira has been in charge of Verdão since November 2020, which makes him the second longest-lived coach in Brazilian football, behind Maurício Barbieri, from Red Bull Bragantino.
The Libertadores quarter-final games will be played on August 3 (at Mineirão) and 10 (at Allianz Parque), both at 9:30 pm. There is no away goal as a tiebreaker.
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Atlético-MG vs Palmeiras in the 2021 Libertadores – Photo: Staff Images / CONMEBOL
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