Flamengo thrashed

Moises Caicedo celebrates his goal against Flamengo (pic: Getty)

It’s the morning after the night before and the Flamenguistas are not happy.

Things are a little bit unusual these days thanks to the pandemic – fans don’t go to stadiums, people don’t watch football in bars, Cariocas don’t congregate at the newsstand or padaria and argue about football and Flamengo fans don’t go to the airport to intimidate their players after a Libertadores loss. The social distancing between fans and their team has helped Flamengo’s coach Domènec Torrent adapt to life at Flamengo and get through some dodgy results without coming under serious pressure. But that is all set to change after last night’s calamity.

Things have not been going so well. They lost against Ceará in the Brasileirão at the weekend, their third defeat in ten games in the competition, and they slipped to 5th place as a result. But things went from bad to awful on Thursday night, very quickly, as Flamengo were thrashed 5-0 by Independiente del Valle. It was their worst defeat in the Copa Libertadores, ever. Social distancing will help, but I don’t think Domènec will get through this.

Flamengo can consider themselves lucky that they are geographically distanced from their supporters at the moment. And the team will stay in Ecuador until they play Barcelona (from Guayaquil) next week. This geographical distancing will help Flamengo heads to cool by the team get back to Rio next week. But even if Flamengo win next week’s game, this will not be forgotten. Social distancing or no social distancing, the players will hear and feel the reaction from their fans to this result.

Your author is currently on holiday in the Tuscan hills, a long way from Rio. He didn’t watch the game, but the match reports are scathing and Flamengo were well and truly battered. The reaction on Twitter was not much better. One Flamenguista suggested that fans stop watching after second goal. Let’s hope they followed his advice. Domènec, inexplicably, after the game admitted that he threw in the towel after the third goal went in. His explanation was that since he knew they would not get anything from the game (and that they were unlucky) that he made substitutions thinking about match next week.

This is not acceptable for a club the size of Flamengo. And it is not the sort of thing that someone who has to prove himself should be doing. It might be the sort of thing that someone with massive credibility can do, if he has the sympathy and support of his players, the board, the fans, the media. But Domènec’s situation going into last night’s game was precarious. He might have seen Pep Guardiola do something like this at City. But Domènec is not Guardiola. Flamengo are not Manchester City. He has completely misread the anger that this will cause Flamengo fans. The writing is on the wall.

I doubt he will survive this, even if they win next week. I don’t wish him badly, but this is not the right job for Domènec. He has managed a collection of small clubs (Farners, Roses, Palanos, Girona, etc) and had a short stint as manager at New York City. But he is best known for his work as Pep Guardiola’s assitant at Manchester City. But being an assistant is not the same as coach. Going from that to managing one of the biggest clubs in the world and in one of the most difficult leagues in the world is a huge step. A step too big. I’m not sure what the Flamengo board were thinking. Oh, how they miss Jorge Jesus.

For more on Flamengo’s chances in the Brasileirão follow the link to check out Brazilfooty’s 2020 Brasileirão preview/update.

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