Flamengo vs Fortaleza, Saturday’s match for the seventh round of the Brazilian Series A Championship.
Rubro-negro had a number of advantages for this confrontation. In addition to the technical superiority and home factor, the schedule gave them a free week for training against a clearly more worn opponent. But they minimized this benefit by their own administrative inefficiency.
Shortly after the 3-2 win over the last seconds of the previous day, in Maracanã, against Atlético-PR, Flamengo coach Abel Braga announced that he would put a reserve squad to face Fortaleza on Saturday.
Although the club has ten points and occupy a modest sixth place in the Brasileirão, six points away from Palmeiras, leader, their priority would be the game against Corinthians for the Brazil Cup. The rubro-negro won the first leg in São Paulo, 1-0, and only needs a draw to secure the place in the quarterfinals.
The board did not like it. They tried to interfere, having the coach choose the main team against the tricolor from Ceará. But it wasn’t just that. The management also acted in an attempt to hire the Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus, which would be effective during the stoppage of the Brazilian Championship for the Copa America 2019.
It was the last drop for Abel Braga, who had been undergoing a frying process for some time and in the face of this information he decided to resign. In this way, the week that should be free for training became a week of crisis.
Without a coach, Marcelo Salles was promoted to interim status and will be in charge of running the team on Saturday. He should do the will of the board and put the main team to play this Saturday and also in the match on June 4 against Corinthians.
Fortaleza, on the contrary, will not have its maximum force in the field. It was foreseen to be this way. The tricolor established as their priority, in the first semester, the Copa do Nordeste dispute.
They reached the unprecedented achievement by scoring on Wednesday, May 29, 1 to 0 at Botafogo-PB in João Pessoa. Completing the task that they started in the first game, at home, they had also won by the same score.
It established, in this way, an unbeaten sequence of five encounters. It was the third achievement in the period when coach Rogerio Ceni is in the club. The first two were Serie B last year and the Ceará Championship earlier this season.
Fortaleza is also qualified in the Copa do Brasil, where they will play next week the game of the round of 16 against Athletico Paranaense in Curitiba, after the goalless draw in their domains.
For the match they must reserve their maximum strength. They know that their chances of success are greater in this type of competition.
In theory this would be a quiet and easy match for Flamengo, before an opponent who is technically inferior and limited by their circumstances. The rubro-negro, however, created a complicated situation with the internal problem.
Although Abel Braga did not do a good job, he had the support of the players. Thus, his exit is likely to have some impact on the athletes’ moods. This, however, is difficult to measure. At least at first the prognostic in the success of the owners of the house remains the best guess for the meeting that opens on Saturday the seventh round of the Brazilian Championship Series A.