The 17th round of the Brazilian Championship was marked by an act of cowardice. Pedro was assaulted with a punch to the face by Jorge Sampoli’s team’s fitness coach, Pablo Fernandéz.
Atlético Mineiro vs. Flamengo
Galo Mineiro faced Urubu in the 17th round of the Brazilian Championship. The expectation that it would be a great game was fulfilled.
Atlético, which hasn’t been performing well this season, even under the experienced guidance of Felipão, started the game with a significant advantage over Flamengo.
At the 15th minute, Hulk takes a free-kick and hits the post. Shortly after, Hulk tries a powerful shot from outside the box, narrowly missing the Flamengo goalkeeper’s post.
Just one minute later, at the 32nd minute, Paulinho receives a beautiful through pass from Saravia and takes a beautiful shot to score 1-0 for Galo. However, the goal generated a strong protest from the carioca team, claiming that Bruno Henrique had been fouled in the buildup to the play. Nevertheless, the goal was validated.
Galo had at least three good chances to increase the score at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half but couldn’t convert any of them.
The home team seemed to have control of the game, which indeed was the case for most of the match. However, Flamengo could rely on the unique quality of some players, one of them being a star.
In the 79th minute, Arrascaeta is fouled at the edge of the box. The Uruguayan himself takes the free-kick and scores a fantastic goal, equalizing the match.
Shortly after, at the 86th minute, Arrascaeta once again shows why he deserves the status of a star and provides a magnificent assist to Wesley, who shoots over Everson to turn the score in Flamengo’s favor.
Despite Atlético’s dominance in the match, they couldn’t convert their chances, while Flamengo, through their star, had produced little, but with two moments of unparalleled genius, secured the victory for the visitors, moving Flamengo to second place with 31 points.
On the other hand, Atlético suffered another defeat and is in 13th place with 21 points.
Photo: Fabio Barros/Agencia F8/Gazeta Press
The assault on Pedro
We could just talk about this great football match that took place at Arena Independência, but an extremely brutal scene made headlines this weekend.
To tell this story, it’s necessary to set the context in which it happened.
Pedro is considered one of the best, if not the best, center-forward in Brazilian football. Despite his talent and the numerous goals scored this season (22), the striker has had few opportunities in the starting lineup since Jorge Sampaoli took over as the team’s head coach.
Photo: Getty Images
The evident dissatisfaction of Pedro with this situation reached a distressing breaking point in the match we’ve just described.
In the second half, after Everton Cebolinha and Luis Araújo came on, Flamengo’s fitness coach and Jorge Sampaoli’s right-hand man, Pablo Fernandéz, noticed that Pedro left the warm-up and sat on the bench.
At the end of the match, with Flamengo’s historic comeback, the team headed to the locker room. There, according to Pedro, Pablo Fernandéz shouted, claiming that he had disrespected the coaching staff. Pedro allegedly replied, stating that there is no respect from the coaching staff towards him, so he doesn’t respect them either.
Fernandéz’s response was a series of slaps to Pedro’s face, followed by a strong punch that hit him directly.
As a result, Sampaoli’s future at Flamengo remains uncertain. On social media, the coach called for unity.
Pedro, on the other hand, expressed his discontent with the incident through his social media, stating that he had never experienced anything like this before and complaining about the scarce opportunities he has been receiving.
After the match, Pedro, Pablo Fernandéz, and other Flamengo players went to the police station, where Pedro filed a report against the fitness coach.
Pablo Fernandéz could be charged with bodily injury, with a penalty of up to one year of imprisonment.
In a medical report, injuries to Pedro’s face and mouth were confirmed.
The Flamengo board seeks to alleviate the crisis and will announce the outcome regarding Sampaoli’s stay or departure later this week, as the team faces Olímpia in the Copa Libertadores round of 16 on Wednesday.
Pablo Fernandéz issued an apology to Pedro, stating that he would have liked to react differently in that moment.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first violent episode involving Fernandéz. In 2021, while working for Olympique Marseille, he was involved in a confrontation with Nice supporters. The images clearly show Fernandéz landing a direct punch to the Nice supporter’s face, who becomes unconscious instantly.
Pablo Fernandéz was, unsurprisingly, dismissed by Flamengo.
Now, we await the outcome of the complaint made by Pedro.
As for Sampaoli’s situation at Flamengo, what are your thoughts?
Written by Vitor F L Miller