On the afternoon of Wednesday, September 27, 2023, the Corinthians’ board opted to dismiss Vanderlei Luxemburgo after the team’s 1-1 draw against Fortaleza in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana semifinals.
Image: Eduardo Carmim/Photo Premium/Gazeta Press
Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s Final Moments at Corinthians
Last night’s match between Corinthians and Fortaleza marked Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s final game as the team’s head coach.
In recent matches, and especially in the mentioned confrontation, the coach was booed when his name was announced on the Neo Química Arena’s screen even before the start of the match.
After the game, which ended in a 1-1 draw, not only Luxa but the entire Corinthians team received loud boos from their Fiel Torcida (faithful fans).
Indeed, there are reasons for the team to be booed. The Timão (Corinthians) has won only 1 of the last 7 games, and the team’s performance has been demotivating, with little hope of improvement under the coach’s leadership.
In the match against Fortaleza, Corinthians was largely dominated for most of the game. Fortaleza showed a significantly superior tactical organization, controlling the proceedings from the start and outplaying their opponents.
Leão do Pici (Fortaleza) scored their goal from a corner kick, ending with Zé Welison’s header. The match referee initially disallowed the goal, citing a push on Fabio Santos from behind.
After a lengthy review, VAR summoned the referee to the monitor and indicated that there was no foul in the play. Thus, the goal was validated.
Corinthians couldn’t even respond to the conceded goal, but they managed to equalize, largely thanks to the technical quality of their star player, Renato Augusto.
In a midfield tussle, Fagner executed a beautiful nutmeg and passed the ball to Renato Augusto, who delivered a superb vertical pass behind Fortaleza’s defense. Yuri Alberto made a run and finished with precision to level the score at 1-1, in the 40th minute.
In the second half, Fortaleza had opportunities, especially with long-range shots, but Cássio was well-positioned to make the saves.
The match ended in a draw, setting the stage for the decisive second leg at Castelão, which will surely be packed and pulsating, with the possibility of Fortaleza’s first international final.
Image: Notícias do Timão
Luxemburgo’s Performance at Corinthians
The legendary Brazilian coach, Vanderlei Luxemburgo, concluded his third tenure at Corinthians.
The first stint was in 1998, when he won the Brasileirão (Brazilian League).
The second was in 2001, when he won the Campeonato Paulista (Paulista Championship) and reached the Copa do Brasil final.
This latest stint began on May 1, 2023, and the context in which it unfolded is very different from the previous two.
When Luxemburgo took over the club in the past, he was considered one of Brazil’s best coaches. This was also reflected in the teams he managed at Corinthians, which were filled with stars and led by a great coach. As a result, he collected titles and had successful campaigns.
This time, Vanderlei Luxemburgo was the last resort, as the previous coach, Cuca, faced a controversy involving accusations of sexual assault during his time as a player at Grêmio, which made it impossible for him to stay at the club after significant pressure from the active and politically engaged Corinthians fans.
Moreover, the coach had been out of the football market for some time, with his last job being at Cruzeiro in 2021, where he saved the team from potential relegation to Serie C, a mission he accomplished.
Therefore, Luxemburgo leaves the coaching position after 38 games, with 15 wins, 12 draws, and 11 losses.
He did manage to put together a streak of 11 games without defeat, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in the job.
In the Brazilian Championship, Corinthians currently sits in 10th place, 5 points clear of the relegation zone, with Bahia in 17th place.
Who Should Take Over Corinthians?
Nostalgia is a powerful weapon in the world of football.
Following Luxemburgo’s dismissal, names that could take over Corinthians are being discussed.
Among them, the most mentioned are Tite and Mano Menezes.
Tite’s name has been strongly linked to Flamengo, which still has Jorge Sampaoli as their coach. However, his departure is considered certain. The reason it hasn’t happened yet may be the Flamengo board’s desire to secure a good replacement before firing him, with Tite being the intended choice.
It’s also believed that, due to his history with Corinthians, Tite is likely to opt to return home. He was responsible for delivering the club’s first and long-awaited Copa Libertadores title, as well as winning the Club World Cup and Brazilian Championship.
Image: Daniel Augusto Jr./Agência C
Mano Menezes is another strong contender. The coach is currently available after leaving Internacional.
He has a storied history with Timão, participating in the club’s rebuilding process after their relegation to Serie B in 2007, winning the Campeonato Paulista and Copa do Brasil in 2009, which earned him the role of Brazil’s national team coach from 2010 to 2012.
Despite all these points, both coaches see the opportunity to take on a job at this stage, nearing the end of the Brazilian Championship, as risky. Therefore, they will carefully consider any offers from Corinthians.
Who do you think should be the coach of Corinthians?
Image: Daniel Augusto Jr. / Ag. C
Written by Vitor F L Miller