It’s time for another super classic from Minas Gerais! This Saturday (3/2), starting at 7:30 pm, Atlético and Cruzeiro will face each other again at Arena MRV, in Belo Horizonte – this time, for the third round of the first phase of the Campeonato Mineiro. O On Attack brings all the information about the match: where to watch, lineups, athlete statements, refereeing and much more.
Atlético is coming off an easy 4-0 victory over Democrat-GV at Arena MRV. The result placed the team led by Felipão at the top of Group B, with three points – tied with Villa Nova, but with two more goals to spare.
Cruzeiro drew 1-1 with Athletic in the last round, at Arena do Jacaré, in Sete Lagoas. The team led by Argentine Nicolás Larcamón occupies second place in Group A, with four points – tied with Tombense, but with one goal less (4 to 3).
At the last meeting…
The last clash between the rivals went down in classic history. On October 22, 2023, in the 28th round of Série A of the Brazilian Championship, Atlético and Cruzeiro met for the first time at Arena MRV, Galo’s new stadium in Belo Horizonte.
Better for Raposa, who had an own goal from defender Jemerson to win 1-0 and, at that point, breathe in the fight against relegation to Series B. Outside the four lines, the match was marked by controversy: Cruzeiro fans made several complaints about the treatment given by Atlético at Arena MRV, and part of the Celeste fans vandalized the stadium, causing losses to their rival.
Agreement by single fans
The episodes of the last classic were driving forces for the most recent agreement signed between Atlético and Cruzeiro. The rivals’ boards reached a consensus so that clashes between the teams will be played with a single crowd until the end of 2025.
On social media, fans of both teams lamented the decision. In any case, with the entire ticket load possible at Arena MRV available (44,892), Atlético should break the new stadium’s attendance record.
The current one was recorded precisely in the October classic, when 42,058 fans watched the celestial victory in loco. Last Thursday night (1/2), Galo had already surpassed the mark of 40 thousand tickets sold.
Atlético wants to break the bad impression left in the first classic in the history of Arena MRV and “get back” at their biggest rival. Overcoming Cruzeiro this Saturday, for Galo, also means extending the undefeated streak in the new stadium, reaching their sixth consecutive victory.
Raposa, in turn, has the opportunity to score its second consecutive victory at Arena MRV. If this happens, Cruzeiro will repeat a feat it hasn’t achieved since 2017: beating its biggest rival in two consecutive matches.
Atlético x Cruzeiro: where to watch live
The classic for the third round of the Campeonato Mineiro will only be broadcast via subscription service on closed TV.
Atlético x Cruzeiro: probable lineups
O On Attack Below, we present the likely lineups for the Minas Gerais superclassic. See also the absences of Galo and Fox.
The tendency is for coach Felipão to repeat the lineup that defeated Democrat-GV last Sunday (28/1). The news on the list of related players could be due to the presence of defender Bruno Fuchs and midfielder Rodrigo Battaglia, who had been improving their physical condition in the first weeks of 2024.
There are two doubts in Atlético’s lineup. Right-backs Mariano and Renzo Saravia compete for position in the sector, while, on the left midfield, Igor Gomes could give way to Gustavo Scarpa – Galo’s popular reinforcement for 2024.
Finally, the tendency is for Guilherme Arana to be kept in the starting team. The left-back was left out of the first two training sessions of the week in Cidade do Galo, with pain in his lower back, but has already recovered.
- Atlético lineup: Everson; Mariano (Saravia), Mauricio Lemos, Jemerson and Guilherme Arana; Otávio, Edenilson, Zaracho and Igor Gomes (Gustavo Scarpa); Paulinho and Hulk
- Atlético’s Hanging: There is not
- Atlético absences: There is not
The Fox will have an important absence. Neris was sent off in the draw with Athletic, in the second round, and will not be able to take the field in the classic. The defender’s replacement will be João Marcelo.
João Marcelo became the first option in the position after Lucas Oliveira left for Real Valladolid, in Spain, on loan. He will form a defensive trio with Zé Ivaldo and Marlon, who has been improvised on the left side of the defense.
Another player who will not be available to coach Nicolás Larcamón is Wesley Gasolina. The right-back, who has already played two direct roles in Raposa’s goals in this Mineiro, was also sent off against Esquadrão de Aço.
The good news for Celeste fans is the re-debut of Lucas Romero. After recovering from physical problems, the midfielder returned to training normally at the beginning of this week and is tipped to start the classic among the starters. He will replace Ian Luccas in midfield and will partner with Lucas Silva.
News among related
The news among those involved is the return of midfielders Filipe Machado and Ramiro. The first recovered from an injury to his left thigh, while the second overcame the physical transition stage after surgery on his right knee. Both will be options on the reserve bench.
Cruzeiro’s highlights in the 2024 Copinha runner-up campaign, midfielder Vitinho and striker Fernando complete the list. They were promoted to the first team last week.
- Cruzeiro lineup: Rafael Cabral; Zé Ivaldo, João Marcelo and Marlon; William, Lucas Romero, Lucas Silva, Matheus Pereira and Arthur Gomes; Robert and Juan Dinenno
- Hanging from Cruzeiro: Matheus Pereira
- Cruzeiro absences: Neris (suspended), Wesley Gasolina (suspended), Kaiki (right thigh injury), Mateus Vital (physical transition), Wesley (left shoulder injury), Rafael Bilu (right Achilles tendon injury), Rafael Elias (injury right shoulder) and Gabriel Veron (right foot injury)
Atlético x Cruzeiro: the characters
“A normal classic never is. Talking about a game against Cruzeiro, our main rival, at our home, if I say it’s a normal game, I’ll be joking. We know how important it is for the athletes, for the club’s history, the second game at our home ground. All the episodes that passed in the first confrontation, we know how important this second game is. We have to pay attention from the first to the last minute, so that we are not surprised again. And win. Atlético has an obligation to win, especially playing at home. We worked very well this week, I hope to play a great game in all aspects together with our group, so that we can come away with the victory, which is the most important thing.”
Otávio, Atlético midfielder
“We were fortunate at their new stadium to win our first classic. Now it will be no different. Classic for me, I see it as a particularity. I’ve faced the classic countless times at the base and as a professional. This week started differently, everyone was very busy in the locker room and in training too. We are going very strong and confident for this classic.”
Lucas Silva, Cruzeiro midfielder
Atlético x Cruzeiro: arbitration
- Referee: Paulo César Zanovelli (FIFA-MG)
- Assistants: Felipe Alan Costa de Oliveira and Celso Luiz da Silva
- VAR: Marco Aurélio Augusto Fazekas Ferreira
*Samuel Resende and João Victor Pena collaborated in the production of this content.