De Futebol

Germany got by Australia 3-2 in the Confederations Cup. The Daily Mail:” Germany’s inexperienced side was given a fright by Australia at the Confederations Cup on Monday, holding on to win its Group B opener 3-2 after goalkeeper Bernd Leno gifted the Asian champions both goals.

Only two members of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning squad started the game in Sochi and, while the team was dynamic going forward, it was vulnerable at the back.

Lars Stindl marked his tournament debut with a goal after five minutes that was canceled out by Tommy Rogic when the Australia forward put the ball under Leno.

Julian Draxler, an unused substitute in the 2014 World Cup final win over Argentina, restored Germany’s lead from the penalty spot before halftime.

Although Leon Goretzka extended the German lead three minutes into the second half, another blunder by Leno ensured it was a nervy conclusion to the game in the Black Sea resort. A shot from Rogic through a crowded penalty area was spilled by the Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper and Tomi Juric stabbed the rebound into the net.

The Australian threat persisted but Germany clung on to collect three points in the Fisht Stadium, where around 20,000 seats were empty.

De Futebol

Chile defeated Cameroon 2-0 in Confederations Cup action. The Daily Mail: “Chile endured a largely frustrating opening to their Confederations Cup campaign before finally breaking through in the final ten minutes to beat Cameroon.

The CONMEBOL champions thought they had taken the lead just before half time against the African Cup of Nations winners when Eduardo Vargas tucked home, but it was ruled offside via the VAR system.

However Arturo Vidal in the 80th minute rose to head home from six yards following a cross by Alexis Sanchez, who was introduced as a second half substitute. Chile doubled their advantage in stoppage time when Vargas finally go on the scoresheet – although it was only given after another VAR referral.

Chile were on top from the start, with former QPR player Vargas hitting the post after just 50 seconds.

However they were made to toil for long periods by determined Cameroon, unexpected participants in this tournament after surprisingly winning January’s Africa Cup of Nations.

They thought they were in front when Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui beat Chile keeper Johnny Herrera to a free kick and headed in.

However the goal was ruled out for an earlier foul and the Africans never came as close again.

Just before half time, came the first moment of real controversy. Vargas was set free by a defence-splitting pass and chipped the ball into the net.

As the Chile players piled together in a mass celebration, the decision was referred to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), which saw that Vargas was millimetres offside.

The goal was ruled out, much to the fury of the Chileans and especially Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal who harangued the officials down the tunnel as half time came.

Chile have come into this tournament as one of the favourites after winning the Copa America and bringing a strong squad to Russia, but for long periods looked to be struggling under the tag.

They were without Sanchez – as talismanic for his country as he is for Arsenal – after an ankle sprain in training saw him start on the bench.

He was introduced in the 58th minute, but for his first 20 minutes made little impact on the game as a goalless draw looked likely.

However Sanchez’s innate quality is obvious, and with 10 minutes to go he linked up with Bayern Munich midfielder Vidal – a combination Gunners fans will be praying we do not see more of next season.

Sanchez chipped in a cross from the left to the far post, directly onto Vidal’s well-sculpted hair, and he headed home from six yards.

Chile got a second in stoppage time, Sanchez breaking clear and looking set to get his name on the score sheet, only to do too much and get crowded out. The ball broke fortunately for Vargas, who slammed home, but the goal was initially ruled out for offside. VAR intervened again and this time in favour of Chile, showing there were two Cameroon defenders between Vargas and the goal line.

He celebrated with his bench, knowing three points is crucial if Chile are to finish above world champions Germany – who they play next in Kazan – in Group B.

De Futebol

The Federations Cup is underway. Mexico scored a late goal to tie Portugal two all. The Daily Mail:” Hector Moreno rescued a Confederations Cup point for Mexico with a stoppage-time header against Portugal.

It had seemed as though Cedric had handed all three points to the European champions when he fired Portugal in front in the 85th minute but Mexico and Moreno had other ideas.

Earlier, Javier Hernandez stooped low to nod home with four minutes of the first half remaining to cancel out Ricardo Quaresma’s opener.

An entertaining encounter also saw an adjudication from the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), who chalked off a Pepe goal for offside.

The game began with controversy, the video-assistant referee again playing its part in creating a storm.

Portugal’s advance in the early stages was soon rewarded by Pepe latching onto a long distance effort from winger Nani, only to be retrospectively ruled offside.

Undeterred, Portugal officially opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark via a move which started with mercurial forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo burst forward, putting the Mexico defence on the back foot, before tracking back and picking out partner in crime Ricardo Quaresma with a deft through-ball in the area.

Dropping his shoulder to send goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to ground, Quaresma rounded the stopper and slotted the ball into an empty Mexico goal.

The Portuguese looked set to comfortably enter the half-time interval with the lead, but for a late lapse in concentration.

A deep cross was able to find former Arsenal forward Carlos Vela after lax defending from Raphael Guerreiro.

Vela pinged the ball back across goal to capitalise upon the poaching abilities of Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer Javier Hernandez.

Evoking memories of his time with Manchester United, Hernandez flung himself at the ball, connecting with a diving header and powering an effort firmly into the bottom corner of the goal.

It took until the 85th minute for the next goal of the game, when Cedric found space in the box and fired a shot beyond three diving defenders and Mexico goalkeeper Ochoa, but Moreno still had time to rise highest and meet a left-wing corner, nodding home off the inside of a post to ensure a share of the spoils.

De Futebol

The quarterfinals of the Copa do Brasil are set. Globo Esportes;” Sorteio realizado nesta segunda-feira, na sede da CBF, decidiu os confrontos das quartas de final da Copa do Brasil, que acontece entre 28 de junho e 27 de julho. Flamengo e Botafogo, os cariocas remanescentes na competição, enfrentam Santos e Atlético-MG, respectivamente.

Os outros dois confrontos sorteados nas quartas de final foram Palmeiras x Cruzeiro e Atlético-PR x Grêmio. A ordem dos mandos de campo foi sorteada mais tarde, ao meio-dia desta segunda-feira.

O Flamengo fará o primeiro jogo contra o Santos em casa, e decidirá o mata-mata longe do Rio. Já o Botafogo viaja a Belo Horizonte para o primeiro jogo contra o Atlético-MG e faz a segunda partida no Rio.

Entre os participantes da Copa do Brasil, somente Cruzeiro e Flamengo não terão simultaneamente a disputa das oitavas de final da Taça Libertadores. O time mineiro não se classificou para a competição neste ano, enquanto o rubro-negro carioca foi eliminado na fase de grupos. As oitavas da Libertadores acontecem entre 4 de julho e 10 de agosto.

Veja os confrontos das quartas de final da Copa do Brasil:

*decidem em casa

– Atlético-MG x Botafogo*

– Atlético-PR* x Grêmio

– Flamengo x Santos*

– Palmeiras x Cruzeiro*

De Futebol

Flamengo lost to Sport 2-0. Globo Esportes:” O ano do Flamengo se transformou após a queda na Libertadores. Se antes não chegara a ser brilhante, após a eliminação perdeu-se qualquer sensação de evolução e, a cada adversidade, torna-se mais comum ver o time se desorientar. Na noite desta quarta, na assustadora exibição contra o Sport, na derrota por 2 a 0, em Recife, o time foi a imagem do absoluto desencontro, em especial no segundo tempo.

Há conceitos de futebol dos quais é difícil fugir. Construir um time que pretende ter a bola, tomar a iniciativa dos jogos e trocar passes desde a defesa, exige, no mundo moderno, algumas características. O Flamengo que acrescenta qualidade na parte ofensiva de seu elenco, inicia o jogo de forma defeituosa. Isso inclui laterais, defensores, volantes e o goleiro Alex Muralha, longe de ser um especialista no jogo com os pés. Ontem, Márcio Araújo errou uma comprometedora sequência de passes. No início do segundo tempo, em dez minutos, dois lances foram a imagem do problema e encaminharam a definição do jogo.

Pará recuou uma bola traiçoeira que Muralha, com a mão, concedeu ao Sport um tiro indireto na área. Não foi gol. Mas logo em seguida, o goleiro errou um passe e deu a bola nos pés de Osvaldo, que abriu o placar.

Mas não foi apenas isso. A entrada de Diego como meia mais centralizado e a presença de Éderson pela direita tornava a escalação usada por Zé Ricardo uma espécie de molde do que se espera ver em campo após a estreia de Éverton Ribeiro. Espera-se que o novo reforço ocupe o lado direito do campo. Houve problemas.

A começar pela recomposição naquele setor. Pará se viu diante de dois adversários algumas vezes. Por ali, Osvaldo e Thallyson combinaram até que Rithely perdeu a melhor oportunidade do Sport.

Mas a construção de jogo do Flamengo era ruim também. Teve raras ocasiões, apenas uma em lance trabalhado, quando Renê e Damião tabelaram até o atacante chutar com perigo. A outra chance, também de Damião, foi em bola longa de Pará para Arão fazer o cruzamento. No mais, o Flamengo sofreu sempre que foi pressionado em sua saída de bola, recurso usado em boa parte do primeiro tempo por Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

No segundo tempo, após se ver em desvantagem, o Flamengo perdeu qualquer estrutura com uma rapidez assustadora. Diego sentia nitidamente o lado físico. Primeiro, Zé Ricardo sacou Éderson e colocou Vinícius Júnior, que errou além da conta até aparecer em duas chances de gol, já nos acréscimos e com a partida definida.

Com dois centroavantes após a entrada de Vizeu, o Flamengo foi uma sucessão de bolas longas e cruzamentos. Do outro lado do campo, Thomas, ex-rubro-negro, fez o segundo.

De Futebol

I found this little diddy in the Daily Mail. Take a look. Read and enjoy.

Messi or Maradona… the debate is destined to continue through the ages. Two football icons from the same nation but representing different generations and possessing polar opposite personalities.

Maradona won the World Cup, Messi four Champions Leagues. Maradona was idolised wherever he went in Argentina, Spain and Italy; Messi has played his entire career with Barcelona. Maradona was busted for drugs, Messi is squeaky-clean.

By rating the Argentine legends in different categories, Sportsmail hopes to shed some light on who was the greatest. But the debate will never go away.


Diego Maradona was regarded as the most gifted player of all-time when 19-year-old Lionel Messi dribbled from the halfway line to score for Barcelona against Getafe in what appeared a copycat of Diego’s immortal second goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.

Both Maradona and Messi had a magician’s left foot that would allow the ball to remain under control at all times. Gary Lineker said the most amazing thing about Maradona’s solo goal in Mexico City was the state of the Azteca Stadium pitch.

‘Nobody else could control the ball because the turf had been relaid and it moved under your feet, yet Maradona dribbled from the halfway line. Lord knows what he could do on the modern bowling greens.’

Nobody juggled like Maradona either, whether with his feet, knees, head or thighs. Check him out on YouTube.

Messi does have better surfaces to compete on but when faced with packed and organised defences, he can somehow trick two or three players in a couple of yards. The sensitivity of his feet is incredible.

Maradona: 9/10, Messi 9/10


Diego Maradona scored more than 300 goals in his career, a fantastic record for someone who played most of his career in midfield and was often the playmaker for his clubs. Yet Messi has taken goalscoring to another level, he and Cristiano Ronaldo have outscored even the great players from the 1930s and 40s.

Messi is Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer with 337, the leading scorer in European Cup/Champions League history and Argentina’s leading scorer with 57. And he doesn’t celebrate his 30th birthday until June.

Messi scores all types of goals; dribbles, shots outside the box, free-kicks, he’s even scored a Champions League Final header against Manchester United. Maradona scored equally spectactular goals but didn’t play as far up the field where the marking is often tighter.

Maradona 7/10, Messi 9/10


Maradona was short, squat and had thighs like tree trunks. In an era where defenders could kick lumps out creative players and get away with it, particularly in Serie A, he never shirked in the presence of hatchet-men during his career, even after Andoni Goikoetxea broke his leg in 1984 and kept him out for the year.

Messi is much better protected by referees and has been known to struggle when crowded out hard and organised defenders – Chelsea stopped him more than once in Champions League games – but he has a different kind of strength.

He plays week-in, week-out, every game for Barcelona, every game for Argentina. This ability to stay focussed let alone be consistently brilliant when all eyes are on him takes a rare kind of courage.

Maradona: 9/10, Messi 7/10


At club level, Messi has been fortunate to play his whole career in a great Barcelona team, and collected an unprecedented trophy haul; eight Spanish league titles, four Copa del Reys, three World Club Cups and four Champions League winners’ medals (although he never made it on the pitch in 2006) in an era when it has come to rival the World Cup as the most important tournament in the world.

‘He is the greatest of all-time. I had the privilege to train him,’ is Pep Guardiola’s view even after he’d come unstuck against the Argentine as manager of Bayern Munich.

Maradona’s club career was less glitzy, but he won two Serie A titles and two Uefa Cups with a Napoli team that was far inferior to the teams that Messi played in. His two tilts at the European Cup could be considered unfortunate, drawn against Real Madrid in the first round in 1988 and then beaten on penalties after two goalless draws with Spartak Moscow three years later, when Maradona was on the wane.


The World Cup is of course where Maradona scores big. He almost single-handedly led Argentina to the trophy in 1986, abetted by his Hand of God. Messi was handed the armband in the Brazil three years ago to try and replicate the feat but came up just short, beaten by Germany in the final.

Maradona: 9/10, Messi 9/10


‘I think he’s gone past Pele,’ said TV pundit David Pleat after watching 25-year-old Maradona dominate an entire World Cup like no player before or since. But after five years in which he burned brighter than any sportsman on the planet, he was effectively washed up and finished by 30, his off-field fondness for drink, drugs, women and gangsters eventually taking its toll.

Maradona’s career petered out after Napoli, with Sevilla and then back home in Argentina with his beloved Boca Juniors. He lost 16 kilos to get himself fit for the 1994 World Cup but after a fantastic goal against Greece, he was sent home in disgrace for failing a drugs test.

Maradona always viewed that as a conspiracy but admitted a serious drug problem had overshadowed his life. ‘I will always be an addict,’ he confessed many years later after coming close to death.

Messi’s consistency is absurd. He has scored 41 goals in 40 games this season, a typical return for him more than a decade after breaking through as a kid at the Nou Camp to leave the Brazilian great Ronaldinho to acknowledge: ‘Am I the best in the world? I’m not even the best at Barcelona.’

Maradona 7/10, Messi 9/10


For all the controversies and rebellion, Diego Maradona is revered in Argentina as an all-time national hero, arguably the most popular and famous figure from his country alongside Eva Peron (Evita).

The story of the tiny kid from the Buenos Aires slums conquering the world with his fierce sense of patriotism and fight against injustice will never be forgotten despite all his personal flaws.

When he worked as a TV pundit at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, security guards had to be posted at the end of his row in the media seats such was the interest from the rest of the world’s press corps to gawp at him, something that never happened even for Pele, Cruyff or Zidane.

‘I really loved Maradona as a player and tried to emulate him playing keepie-uppie,’ says one of his big fans, British tennis star Andy Murray. And there are millions like him.

We don’t know what Messi’s legacy will be yet because he hasn’t finished, and recent tax allegations have tarnished his image a little.

But he’s also the first modern football global superstar to reach his rarefied level of fame simply by being exceptional at this sport. If you think of George Best, Paul Gascoigne, David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, their global brand was intertwined with either bad behaviour or glam appeal.

Not so Messi; he has achieved his glory only by being glorious, and every parent whose son or daughter is into football will be gladdened by that.

Maradona 9/10, Messi 8/10

De Futebol

Flamengo is looking to help offensive disaster.

Globo Esportes;” Com falhas na defesa, o Flamengo está perto de anunciar mais dois reforços para o ataque. Após a eliminação do Al-Ahli da Liga dos Campeões da Ásia, ontem, o meia Éverton Ribeiro entrou de férias e vai acertar com o clube árabe sua vinda para o Flamengo. Enquanto aguarda o desfecho do acordo, o rubro-negro encaminhou outro reforço: o meia-atacante Geuvânio, ex-Santos, que atualmente está no Tianjin Quanjian, da China, e chega por empréstimo.

No caso de Éverton Ribeiro, o Flamengo negocia a compra de parte dos direitos econômicos por até € 7 milhões. O jogador de 28 anos ainda tem dois anos de contrato. Mesmo prazo de Geuvânio, de 25, na China. O jovem atacante, contudo, não se firmou no futebol chinês e quer retomar a carreira no Brasil. Em 2017, Geuvânio disputou cinco jogos e não fez gols.

A janela de transferência no Brasil se abre em 20 de junho, quando pode acontecer o registro dos atletas vindos do exterior. O diretor Rodrigo Caetano está em Dubai para pressionar os árabes a acelerarem a liberação de Éverton Ribeiro depois da eliminação da equipe, o que deve acontecer esta semana.

Os reforços se somariam a nove peças do ataque do atual elenco. Com Éverton Ribeiro e Geuvânio, a concorrência no meio e no ataque vai aumentar, sobretudo quando Conca estrear e Diego voltar à equipe. A dupla, que prepara o retorno aos gramados, treinou ontem e deve fazer um jogo-treino amanhã, provavelmente na Arena da Ilha. A ideia é que ambos sejam relacionados para o jogo contra o Botafogo, no domingo.

Hoje, a diretoria do Flamengo entrega o laudo do Corpo de Bombeiros à CBF, que, com o documento em mãos, poderá confirmar o clássico para o estádio Luso-Brasileiro. Se houver alguma reviravolta, a partida será em Volta Redonda. A entidade visitou o local novamente ontem e constatou que tudo está dentro dos padrões. O Flamengo instalou inclusive as redes nas traves, em modelo padrão Fifa, quadrado. A rede véu de noiva, mais antiga, será colocada nos próximos jogos. O clube queria deixar todos os preparativos para a estreia na nova casa prontos. Ontem, foi feita uma revisão geral no estádio.

O Grupamento Especial de Policiamento em Estádios, o Gepe, emitiu o laudo de segurança e aguarda a confirmação da partida pela CBF para programar o esquema para o jogo. Os acessos às arquibancadas foram ampliados para abrigar a multidão. A divisão de torcidas para o clássico prevê 90% para o Flamengo e 10% para o Botafogo, como foi feito pelo alvinegro em 2016. O rubro-negro manteve a cautela ao longo do dia e espera fazer o anúncio da venda de ingressos hoje, também com serviço sobre a chegada ao estádio. Órgãos públicos como a Subprefeitura da Ilha do Governador lideram a divulgação de informações sobre o bairro.

De Futebol

Cristiano Ronaldo’s daily double led Real Madrid to win back to back Champions League crowns.

The Guardians Daniel Taylor wrote:” It ended, as it so often does, with that familiar smile. Cristiano Ronaldo – gelled hair, dazzling teeth, magic in his boots – will never forget the night he scored the 600th goal of an almost implausible career.

It was the moment everyone knew the Champions League trophy was on its way back to the Bernabéu and, once again, that the four-times Ballon d’Or winner had left his imprint on another final.

Ronaldo had scored twice on another exultant night when he also leapfrogged Lionel Messi to announce himself as the competition’s leading scorer for the fifth season running. He will enjoy that, too, but the real prize here was to be part of a side that have now lifted European football’s most coveted silverware three times in four seasons. Cardiff 2017 will fit neatly with Milan 2016 and Lisbon 2014whereas, for Juventus, this was a familiar story of regret and hurt.

This was their seventh defeat out of nine finals, including five in a row, and the second half was a chastening experience for the Serie A champions, culminating in them sieving more goals in one match than in the rest of the competition put together. It was a full-on collapse and, by the end, the players in black and white stripes looked in need of smelling salts.

It was certainly rare to see a Juventus team lose their way so badly bearing in mind it was 1-1 at the break and, if anything, Massimiliano Allegri’s players had looked the more rounded side. Yet the second half was a dreadful ordeal for the team from Turin and all those supporters who had held up thousands of black and white cards before kick-off to spell: “The Time is Now.” Yes, Juve were unfortunate, in the extreme, with the deflected goal from Casemiro that gave Madrid a 2-1 lead just after the hour. From that point onwards, however, it was staggering to see a team renowned for defensive structure crumple this way.

Juve’s indignities in that period also featured a sending-off for Juan Cuadrado, one of their substitutes, and a late goal from Marco Asensio when the thousands of Madridistas were already going through their victory songs. Gareth Bale, deemed too short of fitness to start, had joined the party by that stage and no one from Zinedine Zidane’s team should really care that the game’s outstanding moment was conjured up by one of the losing players.

Mario Mandzukic’s goal was the paradox of the night. Indeed, has there ever been a better goal in a European final? Zidane himself is on the all-time list for his spearing volley against Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park in 2002. Yet it is a legitimate debate and Mandzukic’s 27th-minute effort here might even edge it given that it involved the ball going between four different players without touching the floor.

Leonardo Bonucci was first with a long, diagonal pass out to Alex Sandro on the left and, after that, it was a blur of exhilarating speed, colour and movement. Sandro’s cross to pick out Gonzalo Higuaín was a beauty: a cushioned, left-footed volley on the run. Higuaín controlled the ball on his chest and flicked it towards Mandzukic. And then, finally, it was the big man’s turn, teeing himself up and then twisting his body to launch himself at the ball. Volley, chest-volley, chest-volley: five touches in total, mid-air; left, right, left and right again. It was like something from a computer game and, at the end of it, Mandzukic’s improvisational shot was dipping and swerving into the top corner of Keylor Navas’s goal.

Ultimately, though, the more prosaic goals carried the greater significance in this contest. Madrid have managed only one clean sheet on their way to winning this competition. Yet there is another statistic about Zidane’s team and the player, more than anyone, who carries the team’s dreams. They arrived in Cardiff with the best goals record of any side in the competition – 32 from 12 ties – and Ronaldo, being Ronaldo, rarely lets a big game pass him by without making some kind of contribution.

To begin with, he had found it difficult to get too much of the ball in and around the Juve penalty area. But he also had periods in the other finals when he drifted to the edges. Then this one reached its 20th minute and he came alive, exchanging passes with the overlapping Dani Carvajal before pulling back his right boot to take aim. His shot was low, directed towards the bottom corner, and skimmed off Bonucci to elude Gianluigi Buffon.

If we were to be kind about the losing side, Madrid’s first two goals both came from deflections and, in Casemiro’s case, the trajectory of his shot completely changed once the ball had struck Sami Khedira. The truth, however, is that Juve, having conceded only three goals en route to this final, chose a bad night to lose their defensive organisation and never recovered from that moment.

Three minutes later, Luka Modric scampered down the right, clipped a cross to the near post and Ronaldo’s clipped finish gave the remainder of the match an air of inevitability. “The people who always criticise Cristiano are going to have put their guitar back in its case,” he said afterwards, modest as ever.

There was still time for Sergio Ramos, as devious as a bag of weasels, to help engineer Cuadrado’s second yellow card with a bout of pretend agony but Madrid’s second-half performance had a lot more good than bad. Marcelo set up Asensio to sweep in their fourth goal in the last minute and Zidane joined Brian Clough, Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho among others on the list of managers who have won the European Cup twice.”

De Futebol

Flamengo needs offensive help. The “O” is downright offensive.

Globo Esportes; “Se algo ficou claro no duelo da Arena da Baixada é que o futebol não oferece garantias. Porque de um primeiro tempo desencontrado, em que produziu muito pouco e cedeu várias oportunidades ao rival, o Flamengo saiu com a vitória parcial. E de um segundo tempo em que melhorou em alguns aspectos do jogo, saiu com o gol sofrido e o empate em 1 a 1. No balanço final, entre chances criadas e perdidas, o Atlético-PR as teve em número maior, embora Guerrero tenha tido excelente ocasião no fim.

O que faltou em quase todo o jogo foi a capacidade de agredir, ser incisivo, incomodar o goleiro adversário. É algo característico deste Flamengo em passagens da temporada. Ontem, faltou jogo no primeiro tempo para que o time pudesse produzir oportunidades reais. No segundo tempo, com mais trocas de passes e capacidade de levar a bola da defesa ao ataque, faltou penetração, profundidade. Algo que melhorou sensivelmente com as entradas de Lucas Paquetá e Vinícius Junior.

Quanto ao jovem futuro jogador do Real Madrid, ainda é impossível olhar para ele no campo e ver um atleta de R$ 164 milhões. Até porque, se fosse possível, estaríamos diante de um fenômeno único. Por enquanto, aporta ao time a tentativa de driblar, rara no Flamengo atual. Evoluiu, embora seja natural que ainda tenha índice alto de perdas de bola. Talvez lhe falte um grande acerto para aumentar a confiança.

Os desfalques também atrapalham a questão ofensiva. Alguns são menos previsíveis, como Gabriel, Diego e Berrío. Quanto a Éverton e Ederson, é possível discutir se a formação do elenco deveria levar em conta o histórico de ambos, com ausências recorrentes.

Diante do quadro, Zé Ricardo tentou neste domingo uma formação com Cuéllar, novidade na escalação, junto a Márcio Araújo na dupla de volantes. O trio de meias tinha Willian Arão pela direita, Mancuello pelo meio e Matheus Sávio na esquerda. Como Mancuello já iniciava as jogadas muito adiantado, o Flamengo colecionava minutos de posse de bola entre seus zagueiros e volantes, sem opção de passe à frente. Vaz e Réver erraram muito no combate e nas saídas de bola, assim como Márcio Araújo, que fez péssimo jogo. Mas não era fácil sair jogando nestas condições. Cuéllar mostrou melhor aproveitamento, talvez mereça mais minutos.

O único momento em que o jogo fluiu foi quando Arão tentou se colocar pelo meio, recebeu de Rafael Vaz e iniciou o lance do gol de Mancuello, aos 25 minutos. Fora isso, o primeiro tempo era do Atlético-PR. Grafite e Nikão acertaram as traves, Muralha evitou evitou duas grandes ocasiões e Pablo também andou assustando. Lucro enorme para o Flamengo ao intervalo.

Na volta, Mancuello mais próximo aos volantes e Arão se movendo para ser opção de passes davam mais fluência ao time. O Flamengo tinha a bola progredindo pelo campo. Mas chutava pouco. E seguia perdendo duelos defensivos. Vaz, que fora batido por Grafite no primeiro tempo, perdeu para Thiago Heleno pelo alto aos dez da segunda etapa no gol que decretou o 1 a 1. As chances do Flamengo vieram só depois das trocas. Por exemplo, quando Paquetá tentou o lance individual, vertical, e Guerrero falhou a dois minutos do fim.

De Futebol

Flamengo tied Atletico-PR one all. Boo Mengao dropped to ninth place in the table.

Globo Esportes: “O Flamengo até saiu na frente, mas o retrospecto ruim na Arena da Baixada — e a atuação insegura do time, especialmente no primeiro tempo — acabaram falando mais alto e o rubro-negro carioca ficou no 1 a 1 com o Atlético-PR neste domingo.

O time carioca era pressionado no primeiro tempo quando Mancuello abriu o placar aos 24 minutos, completando de cabeça um cruzamento de Pará. Mesmo com três volantes no meio-campo — o técnico Zé Ricardo lançou Cuéllar ao lado de Márcio Araújo e Willian Arão –, o Flamengo tinha dificuldades para conter o ataque do Atlético. Grafite e Nikão chegaram a acertar a trave de Alex Muralha no primeiro tempo.

O próprio Grafite teve uma chance cara a cara com o goleiro do Flamengo antes do intervalo, mas Muralha mostrou reflexo para impedir o gol de empate.

De tanto pressionar, no entanto, o Atlético-PR acabou chegando ao 1 a 1 depois do intervalo. Aos 10 do segundo tempo, em escanteio levantado na área do Flamengo, Thiago Heleno subiu mais do que Rafael Vaz na segunda trave e cabeceou sem chances para Muralha.

Por ironia do destino, o gol de empate saiu quando o Flamengo havia melhorado depois de um primeiro tempo apático. Aos nove, um minuto antes do gol de Thiago Heleno, Guerrero havia exigido um milagre do goleiro Weverton em cabeceio quase na pequena área.

Zé Ricardo lançou os jovens Vinícius Jr. e Lucas Paquetá na metade do segundo tempo, mas sem abrir mão da formação com três volantes. No fim das contas, o Atlético esteve mais perto do segundo gol do que o Flamengo, mas Alex Muralha mostrou estar em tarde inspirada e fez mais uma defesa importante aos 31, em lance cara a cara com Douglas Coutinho.

No fim, Rodinei entrou para dar uma opção perigosa ao Flamengo pelo lado direito, mas havia pouco tempo para causar grande impacto. Com o resultado, o Flamengo segue um longo jejum de vitórias na Arena da Baixada. A última — e única — vitória do rubro-negro carioca no estádio do Atlético-PR em Campeonatos Brasileiros foi em abril de 1974.