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Vítor Pereira says that the judge was a ‘conditioner’ for the elimination of Flamengo


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Criticized for his choices in the fall of Flamengo in the Club World Cup, Vítor Pereira pointed to arbitration as a determining factor in the 3-2 defeat by Al Hilal, on Tuesday night (7), in Morocco. According to the coach, the Romanian referee István Kovács undermined the Red-Black team’s efforts in the semifinal duel.

“I’ll give my opinion. But my opinion is mine, isn’t it? It’s mine. We prepared for this opponent, we studied, we realized the characteristics. Now, what we didn’t prepare for was an arbitration that, in my opinion, view, it was an arbitration not adjusted to this level of competition”, he said.

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“The refereeing from the first minute was conditioning in the showing of yellows, with a great lack of criteria. It was a provocative referee, which unnerved the team. If it weren’t for the personality and character of the players, I am convinced that we would have ended the game with least, with two other expulsions,” he added.

Gabigol, David Luiz, Pulgar, Thiago Maia and Pedro were carded. Gerson took one for simulating a penalty and another for committing a penalty, being expelled at the end of the first half. On the Saudi side, there were three warnings. According to the coach, the Romanian still had “permissiveness with the stops, one after the other”.

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Vítor Pereira acknowledged that the Romanian’s performance “doesn’t explain everything”, but repeated that “it was a very conditioned game”. In the Portuguese’s view, Flamengo was superior until the moment of the expulsion, in the move that left the score at 2-1 for Al Hilal, at the very end of the first half. Reacting with one athlete less in the second was difficult.

“In the first half, as far as I remember, they arrived twice, on the penalty at the beginning and on the penalty at the end. Therefore, 11 against 11, we were much more of a team, proposing the game. We were unable to translate what we did into goals”, he said. “I am convinced that today, 11 against 11, we would come out of here winners. I don’t have many doubts about that.”

Arbitration aside, the coach was asked about some of his choices, especially the replacement of talented midfielder Arrascaeta, who gave way to midfielder Pulgar at halftime. With one player less, in the commander’s view, it was necessary to seek some balance in the midfield to have the chance to seek the draw.

“I would never take Arrascaeta out at halftime if it was 11 against 11. We have a team with a very great offensive propensity, which is defensively unbalanced at times. The players who balance the team are Gerson and Thiago [Maia]because they recover balls, with physical capacity, pressure”, he said.

Without Gerson, the Portuguese decided to remove one of his front men, Everton Ribeiro, Arrascaeta, Gabigol or Pedro. “If I had removed Gabigol, what would they be saying to me right now. If I had removed Pedro, what would they be saying to me right now. I had to make a decision, a decision that cost me a lot to make, but I’m here for that.”

Midfielder Everton Ribeiro would be replaced later, in the 23rd minute of the final stage, giving way to striker Everton Cebolinha. It was another choice criticized by the coach, who saw Al Hilal go 3-1 in a row. Pedro decreased in the additions, but Flamengo fell and will have to dispute the third place in Morocco, against the loser of Real Madrid x Al Ahly.

“It’s hard to find words. We dreamed of this moment and we couldn’t reach our goal. Congratulations to them, they managed to neutralize our game. In two bids in the area, we ended up conceding two goals and suffering the expulsion. Then, it really got very difficult. Now, it’s time to raise your head. Criticism will come, another challenge for us to overcome “, said Ribeiro.

David Luiz, another who complained a lot about the refereeing, lamented yet another defeat at the World Cup. In 2012, at Chelsea, he lost the final to Corinthians. “It’s very sad, frustrating. We dream a lifetime to be here and, suddenly, with a referee who is not at the level of the competition, we are undermined in countless aspects of our game”, declared the defender.

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