Atlético-MG vs Palmeiras roles reversed after semifinal

Atlético-MG and Palmeiras meet for the second consecutive year in the Copa Libertadores. Opponents in the semifinals of last edition, two of the main clubs in the country will face each other this time for the quarterfinals, tonight (3), at 9:30 pm (GMT), at Mineirão. But the clubs’ roles were reversed compared to last year, when Alvinegro arrived as leader of the Brasileirão and Alviverde depended on success in the continental tournament to save the season.

Then leader of the Brasileirão, Galo tried what would be a perfect season, with the titles of Mineiro, Nacional, Copa do Brasil and Libertadores. All that was missing was the continental competition, which was justly won by Palmeiras. After the 0-0 draws at Allianz Parque and 1-1 at Mineirão, the São Paulo club advanced to the decision against Flamengo, in Montevideo (URU).

In the clashes that took place at the end of September 2021, Palmeiras arrived with coach Abel Ferreira pressed for office. Eliminated early in the Copa do Brasil by CRB, from Alagoas, and already distant from Galo in the dispute for the Brasileirão title — he was eight points behind —, the Portuguese coach was highly demanded by the fans. But everything changed after the night of September 29.

Alviverde advanced in Libertadores and won the tri, being the second championship in sequence, at the end of November. The fact of not fighting for the titles of the Copa do Brasil and the Brazilian Championship was in the background, after all, America was once again green, putting Abel Ferreira on the list of the greatest in the history of the club from São Paulo.

In 2022, the scenario has completely changed. Atlético arrived as a favorite for the main titles, but the poor performance on the field did not justify the expectation created around the Minas Gerais club. So much so that Galo has already been eliminated in the Copa do Brasil, allowed Palmeiras to open ten points of advantage in the Brazilian, and fired coach Turco Mohamed.

Unlike Abel Ferreira, the Argentine coach did not resist enormous pressure and fell, despite having a 69% record in the season and only five defeats. Cuca was called back to try to save the alvinegra season and win the cup he missed in 2021.

“We have an obligation to fight with them and move on to the next phase of Libertadores. It’s our dream, the fans, the board, the players and especially mine. I haven’t won the Libertadores yet. Everyone knows the responsibility of this game. It matters that we are away from the Brasileirão. We know that our responsibility is to pass”, commented defender Junior Alonso, who, last year, was the captain of Atlético, but who in 2022 lost his armband to Hulk.

Decisive in 2021, the criterion of the goal scored away from home is not valid in this edition of the Copa Libertadores. Atlético and Palmeiras face each other this Wednesday in Belo Horizonte and in São Paulo next week. In case of a new tie, the decision will be in the penalty shootout.

DATASHEET:

ATLÉTICO-MG x PALMEIRAS

Reason: Libertadores quarter-final first leg
Place: Mineirão, in Belo Horizonte (MG)
Date and time: August 3, 2022 (Wednesday), at 21:30 (Brasília time)
Referee: Facundo Tello (ARG)
Assistants: Diego Bonfa (ARG) and Gabriel Chade (ARG)
VAR: Thiago Juan Lara (CHI)

ATLETIC-MG: Everson; Mariano, Nathan Silva, Alonso and Dodô (Rubens); Otávio, Jair and Nacho Fernández; Vargas (Zaracho), Keno and Hulk. Technician: cuca

PALM TREES: Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Gustavo Gómez, Murillo and Piquerez; Danilo, Zé Rafael, Gustavo Scarpa and Raphael Veiga; Dudu and Flaco Lopez. Technician: Abel Ferreira

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