On January 27, 1991, a Sunday, Corinthians had two good reasons to leave home. At the Morumbi stadium, the alvinegra team would play in the final of the Brazilian Supercup against Flamengo. In Parque São Jorge, club members would vote to choose their 29th president. Interestingly, the second event attracted more audience.
That year, the CBF (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol) was only organizing for the second time the clash between the champion of the Brazilian Championship, Corinthians at the time, against the winner of the Copa do Brasil, Flamengo. Without a good publicity work, the duel did not arouse as much interest as it could when opposing the two biggest fans in the country.
Only 2,706 paying fans witnessed the goal scored by Neto, in the 25th minute of the initial stage, which gave Corinthians the title in the only decision played between alvinegros and rubro-negros to date – not even the number 10 himself remembered of this goal.
Parque São Jorge had a busier day, at least in terms of audience. In the election that took Marlene Matheus (1936-2019) to the position of president of the club, 5,318 members went to vote, almost twice as many people who attended Morumbi, where the Supercup was played.
At the age of 54, she received 2,119 votes, against 1,250 for Antoine Gebran, 1,073 for Damião Garcia, 918 for José Borbolla and 311 for Edgard Soares. Three blank votes and seven null votes were also computed.
This time, a political fact in both clubs would hardly overshadow the final of the 2022 Copa do Brasil. For the first leg, for example, Corinthians announced that tickets for the Neo Química Arena, in Itaquera, are sold out. 45,000 fans are expected this Wednesday (12), at 21:45. In the return match, on the 19th, Maracanã is also expected to have a full house.
It has been like this in recent meetings between the two clubs, as it was in August, in two duels valid for the quarterfinals of Libertadores. At the time, 45,159 paying visitors were in Itaquera in the first leg, when the Cariocas won 2-0. And 68,418 went to Maracanã, where the home team won again, this time, 1-0.
The dispute for the continental tournament extended the advantage of the flamenguistas in knockout duels against the Corinthians. In all, there were eight knockout matches between the clubs (seven in a round trip, plus one in a single match). Flamengo won five, against three triumphs for Corinthians.
The team from Rio de Janeiro is also experiencing a more favorable current moment than the ones from São Paulo. In addition to competing for the national knockout trophy, the squad led by Dorival Júnior is in the Copa Libertadores final. The final, in a single game against Athletico Paranaense, will be on October 29, in Ecuador.
Interestingly, it was precisely after Flamengo eliminated Corinthians from the continental competition that the coaches of coach Vitor Pereira began to play the football that took the team to the final of the Copa do Brasil. Without the dispute of three championships simultaneously, the Portuguese coach started to have more time to impose his style.
In the quarterfinals and semifinals, for example, this was evident. First, the team managed to reverse the advantage that Atlético-GO had built in the first leg of the quarterfinals, when they won 2-0. In Itaquera, the hosts won 4-1. In the semi-final, after a 2-0 tie to 2 with Fluminense in Rio, the Corinthians won on the return by 3 to 0.
Flamengo had an easier time reaching the final. In the quarterfinals, they had a win and a draw against Athletico Paranaense. Already in the semifinal eliminated São Paulo with two victories.
For Vitor Pereira, the alvinegro team needs to enforce the home factor in the first leg to have more chances of winning the title. “We have to play at the best level at home. Playing in Itaquera in front of our fans is not easy. Budget, squad… They will probably have some favoritism, but the end is the end.”
On the other hand, Dorival Júnior refuses to recognize his team as a favorite. “Not at all,” he said. “It’s a new moment and a new situation.”