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It’s ‘Freguesia’ That You Call It?

Botafogo’s 3-0 victory over Atlético Mineiro was marked by goals from Luiz Henrique, Cuiabano, and Savarino. The win not only solidifies their position near the top of the table but also demonstrates their historical dominance over Atlético.

Freguês (noun) – A Portuguese term used to describe a regular customer or client who frequently purchases goods or services from a particular establishment. 

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

In Brazilian sports slang, “freguês” also refers to a team that consistently loses to a specific opponent, similar to a “regular customer” of defeats. 

The term “freguês” is used to describe a one-sided rivalry where one team habitually dominates the other. 

Examples of “freguesia” can be found all throughout sports: the 49ers are “fregueses” to the Seahawks, Shasta are “clients” to Butte, and Willie the Wildcat to Dash.

San Francisco 49ers, User:Stepshep, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 However, it’s in the context of Brazilian soccer where the term “freguês” really gains its colors. 

Having another team be your “client” means not only bragging rights to the fans but also highlights the psychological and competitive advantage that one team has over another.

A perfect example of “freguesia” in Brazil is that which Atlético Mineiro, commonly known as “Galo” (which translates to “cock”), has to Botafogo.

 Out of the 83 matches played between the two teams, Botafogo has won 36, while Galo only 27. 

With a 43% win rate against the team from Minas Gerais, Botafogo has earned the right to call Galo their “freguês.” 

The latest chapter in this interstate rivalry between “server” and “guest” occurred today on July 7, 2024, where Botafogo once again demonstrated their superiority by beating Atlético Mineiro 3-0. 

The match, played at Botafogo’s stadium, the Nilton Santos, was valid for the fifteenth round of the Brazilian league and held great importance for both teams.

Galo went in needing a win, as the 3 points would help them finally break into the top ten in the league standings. 

Clube Atlético Mineiro, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Botafogo, on the other hand, also wanted the three points, but in contrast to Galo, 3 points would help them climb to second place in the league table and leave them only 1 point behind Flamengo, who currently hold the pole position. 

From the off, it was clear that Botafogo would come out on top. The “Glorious” went in strong and didn’t let up on pressuring Galo for one second.

The result of the early intensity was an early goal. And what a goal it was!

 With a beautiful strike from outside the box, Luiz Henrique placed the ball in the upper right corner of the goal, leaving no chance for Galo’s goalkeeper, Mateus Mendes.

If an early goal wasn’t bad enough for Atlético, what would come to happen after would only make things worse. 

At the 24-minute mark, Atlético Mineiro’s defender Igor Rabello did the unimaginable and got a red card after fouling Luiz Henrique in an attempt to stop him from going straight on goal after a counter-attack.

 Losing 1-0 and with only 10 men, it was clear that Galo was in for a difficult night in Rio de Janeiro. 

As the match went on, both teams settled in, and a sort of offensive vs. defensive battle began to take place, with Botafogo looking for a second goal and Galo holding on with everything they could.

Atlético’s best chance at fighting back came late into the game when, at the 72-minute mark, former Brazilian international Hulk hit the crossbar from a very far out position after a powerful free kick.

 Soon after Hulk’s fantastic shot, Botafogo would go on and score again, in hopes of making sure Atlético wouldn’t be able to fight back anymore. 

The second goal came at 79 minutes when left-back Cuiabano placed a beautiful left-footed shot into the bottom corner. 

Cuiabano’s goal hit Galo like a truck. 

The team, which had already conceded early and got a red card, was now left to fight an almost impossible uphill battle. 

A battle which would prove to be too much for the team from Minas Gerais, as they would go on to concede again before the match was over.

The final nail in the coffin came in the game’s dying embers; when in the final seconds of the game, Savarino sealed Botafogo’s dominant victory with a banger from outside the box. 

The Venezuelan sent the ball into the upper left corner and left Mateus Mendes with no chance to stop his unstoppable strike. 

Botafogo’s performance today, dominating Atlético in such a way that Galo couldn’t at any moment get a foothold in the game, only reinforces the narrative of the team from Minas Gerais being Botafogo’s “Freguês.” 

Moving on from today’s dominant display, the Glorious will now gear up to play against Vitória on July 11. 

Mineiro, on the other hand, will try and regroup from today’s beating and hope to do better in their next match, which will be at home against São Paulo, also on the 11th.

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Nathan Azevedo Espindula
Nathan Azevedo Espindula, Editor and Chief
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