Flamengo continue their march to Doha laying waste to Palmeiras on the way

December 2 – Flamengo may have won the double, the domestic title and the Copa Libertadores, but even in the final rounds of the Brazilian league their scalps have severe ramifications. On Sunday, Palmeiras coach Mano Menezes and director of football Alexandre Mattos were dismissed following a 3-1 defeat at home against the newly crowned champions.

The Rio club have taken the Brazilian league by storm this season following the appointment of Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus. Last weekend they wrapped up the league last after they won the Copa Libertadores, the equivalent of the Champions League, in dramatic fashion, qualifying for the Club World Cup in Doha later this month. Even so, Flamengo have maintained their posture and they eased to a 3-1 win away to Sao Paulo giants Palmeiras in a game that often resembled a training match.

Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa, the hero of the Libertadores final, scored another brace to set Flamengo on their way to three more points and 87 in total with two match days left. Within hours Palmeiras fired their coach Menezes after a stretch of five games without a win. Palmeiras sit in third place behind Santos and Flamengo, but can no longer tumble out of the Libertadores spots.

Alexandre Mattos, the club’s director of football, was another victim of the Flamengo defeat. He was also shown the door. Earlier this season Luiz Felipe Scolari was also sacked at Palmeiras after losing to Flamengo. It is the fourth time this season that a coach has been fired after playing the Rio club.

And so the instability at Palmeiras continues after a disappointing season. Alongside Flamengo, Palmeiras is Brazil’s most potent club financially, but they haven’t made that count on the pitch.

In firing the coach and director of football Palmeiras president Mauricio Galiote is believed to have caved in to pressure from both fan group Mancha Verde and sponsor Leila Pereira, the president of bank Crefrisa. In 2021, the club will have new presidential elections.

The game had been mired in controversy even before kick-off after a local tribunal – the Superior Tribunal de Justiça Desportiva – had ruled that no away fans could attend the match and that this measure would also apply to the next match between Flamengo and Palmeiras in a CBF competition. Article 86 of the CBF general competition regulations states that 10% of tickets must be sold to the visiting team.

Flamengo had appealed, but without success. Since 2016 local derbies in Sao Paulo are played without away fans. It is the first time that this measure was imposed for an interstate game.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1576284271labto1576284271ofdlr1576284271owedi1576284271sni@o1576284271fni1576284271