The first round came with a statistical oddity – 10 victories, no draw, 30 points spread across the classification table, let’s have a look at how things happened.
The first round of Serie A 2019 confirmed the expectation of problems regarding the use of VAR. Many referees involved in the 1st round have little experience using the tool, and the facts that happened illustrate this very well.
There was a statistical oddity in the 1st round – no draws were registered, ten teams won and ten teams lost, something that never happened in the tournament’s history since this format was adopted in 2003.
Let’s have a look at all the matches, in chronological order;
São Paulo 2×0 Botafogo The result was kind of expected, Botafogo is in a big crisis and although SPFC has had a recent coach change they had a better team and the home ground on their side. Botafogo needs to react as their recent past is full of season involved in the fight not to relegate, sometimes unsuccessfully.
Atlético MG 2×1 Avaí
Atlético managed to win a match which seemed very hard to predict in terms of result. Avaí was coming from a regional title but counting on a rather weak squad whilst Atlético is in crisis, without a coach and using an interim but counting on a better squad. These factors, squad, home ground and tradition seemed to have made the difference.
Chapecoense 2×0 Internacional
Inter surprisingly used a sub team here. They don’t have any Libertadores match in the coming days and they are very well in the competition, to kick off Brasileiro 2019 a regular team was expected. Inter paid the price of a polemic choice made by their still very inexperienced coach.
Flamengo 3×1 Cruzeiro
The most prestigious match of the round ended well for the hosts, Bruno Henrique had a fantastic day and Flamengo starts the season in great style. Cruzeiro however is still a strong side in spite of this result. Both sides are favorites this year alongside with Palmeiras, Grêmio, São Paulo, Corinthians e Internacional.
Grêmio 1×2 Santos
Grêmio is usually strong at home and any loss at their domains is a mild surprise. The hosts usually do well against teams of offensive tactics but that didn’t happen here. A result like this is great for Santos as they look mildly worse than the top 4 of last season. Unfortunately for the visitors their most valuable player, Rodrygo, is already sold to Real Madrid for 45m EUR and will leave in the coming months.
Ceará 4×0 CSA
The visitors were back at Série A after many decades and a boosted motivation was expected however that didn’t mean anything in terms of result. Ceará is definitely a team of lower intermediate quality and losing so hard to a team like that is a major alert that the season is going to be hard for them. Ceará starts well against a potential rival in the fight not to relegate.
Athlético-PR 4×1 Vasco
The result has more to do with Vasco’s crisis than with strength of the hosts. A home victory was expected but 4×1 is a mild surprise. Vasco is still with an interim and they need to react fast, recent past suggests they are in another season where they are likely to relegate.
Bahia 3×2 Corinthians
A mild surprise ocurred here, like at Grêmio’s match. Bahia was winning 3×1 until stoppage time and collected important 3 points. Corinthians has indeed won the most relevant state tournament however they weren’t that superior comparing to their semifinalist peers. Carille has a lot in common with his mentor Tite, and an unsteady record on the road is one of them. Corinthians looks like a strong squad at the begin of the tournament but not as good as squads like Palmeiras, Flamengo, Cruzeiro, Grêmio and Inter.
Palmeiras 4×0 Fortaleza
No major surprise here, the team won last season’s trophy and they faced a recently promoted team. Palmeiras has major squad depth and they are usually strong at home. In spite of a recent victory at their regional tournament, Fortaleza was pretty much the underdog here.
Fluminense 0x1 Goiás
The match was the most complicated of the round. A blackout hit the Stadium when a PK was to be shot, VAR was used in a polemic way and now the directors of Fluminense are the most upset about it’s use in the 1st round. Although Flu isn’t in great form they were the favorites here and losing to a recently promoted side is never good.
Round Review: The current title holders Palmeiras started as expected but other teams that did well last year had different luck. Inter chose to field subs and paid for that choice, Grêmio surprisingly lost at their domains and Flamengo won the most prestigious match of the round against the Brazil Cup title holders Cruzeiro.
CSA needs to react as some already believe the “victim of the season” is already clear like Paraná was in 2018. Vasco and Botafogo confirmed the status of crisis installed at 2 out of 4 of the Série A Cariocas. Only some mild surprises happened in the first round, no major one, and one thing happened as expected – a poor performance of the VAR.