Atlético Mineiro and Palmeiras drew goalless this Tuesday in the first leg of the CONMEBOL Libertadores semifinals, in which Hulk missed a penalty made by Diego Costa, who later left injured, and let the reigning champion escape alive.
In the Brazilian ‘semis’ duel, fear of losing reigned, hard play and defenses prevailed against two of the best attacks on the continent.
It was a rough match, full of interruptions, which leaves everything open for the second leg, to be played on the 28th at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte.
The first minutes already anticipated the future of this first round of the tie. The two best teams in the group stage started the ‘semis’ erratic, imprecise and excessively nervous. They rarely finished a dangerous play.
What did abound at Allianz Parque were fouls. Felipe Melo, a master in the art of provocation, was the first to mark the territory and show his teeth to those of Cuca.
Mineiro avoided confrontations and focused on dominating the center of the field. He soon took control of the ball. The champions did not mind giving up the initiative, despite playing at home.
Arana, former player of Spanish Sevilla, was the first to try with a cross shot, after taking advantage of a hesitation from the Verdiblanca defense.
Diego Costa and the Hulk of the pair of fashionable strikers in Brazil, little thing. Always away from the area, they were unable to put Weverton to the test during the first half.
The Palmeiras attackers, more of the same. Only Dudu gave a brushstroke of his infinite class.
No one risked for fear of suffering a fatal blow.
In that passivity, Jair received a pumped pass from the three-quarter line, went into the area and crossed. Gustavo Gómez tried to clear, but on the way he took Diego Costa ahead and the referee whistled a penalty.
Cuca celebrated the decision effusively, what she did not expect was that the Hulk smashed his shot on the stick. A gift wasted on the edge of rest.
On the second half, more of the same. Few opportunities and no inspiration from creation players. The Mineiro put a little more desire, despite playing away from home.
However, in the first minutes of the second half he lost Diego Costa, who felt a puncture in the back of his thigh. For his part, Hulk tried to make up for the missed penalty with a blow that went wide.
In the end, he was a nil fight in Sao Paulo. Belo Horizonte will dictate sentence on the first finalist of this Libertadores.
– Data sheet:
0. Palmeiras: Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Luan, Gustavo Gómez, Joaquín Piquerez; Zé Rafael (m.86, Patrick de Paula), Felipe Melo (m.69, Danilo), Raphael Veiga, Dudu (m.65, Wesley); Rony (m.86, Gabriel Veron) and Luiz Adriano (m.64 Deyverson).
Coach: Abel Ferreira.
0. Atlético Mineiro: Éverson; Mariano, Nathan Silva, Júnior Alonso, Guilherme Arana; Allan, Jair, Matías Zaracho (m.75, Eduardo Vargas), Nacho Fernández (m.86, Nathan); Hulk (m.87, Eduardo Sasha) and Diego Costa (m.55, Keno).
Coach: Alexis Stival ‘Cuca’.
Referee: Argentine Patricio Loustau admonished Zaracho and Zé Rafael.
Incidents: first leg of the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores, played at the Allianz Parque stadium in Sao Paulo. There was a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the covid-19. EFE