Internacional fans surrender to Coudet’s surprising choice: « I’m sorry! »

Eduardo Coudet promoted a surprise in Internacional’s lineup in the 2-0 victory over Bolívar. Without Vitão, injured, Hugo Mallo was chosen to be Gabriel Mercado’s defense partner in the match that guaranteed Colorado in the semifinals of Libertadores 2023.

A right-back by origin, the Spaniard had already worked with Coudet at Celta de Vigo. It was the coach, including, who indicated the signing of the player in the middle of the year.

Internacional’s line-up had a bad effect

Before the ball rolled in Beira-Rio, the improvisation generated criticism from the fans and part of the press. The concern was mainly due to the aerial game. Mallo is only 1.73m tall, and in the match in La Paz, Bolívar had crossed 55 times into the colorada area.

The controversial choice even generated a comparison between Mallo and Musto. Another player of Coudet’s confidence, who passed through Inter in 2020, the Argentine midfielder was frequently cast, but did not perform well with the red shirt.

Choice works and Colorado surrenders

But this time, Coudet’s choice proved to be the right one. With a confident performance, Mallo helped Inter to have defensive solidity. The only real chance created by Bolívar was Nico Hernández’s handball penalty, saved by Rochet.

The Spaniard’s performance earned praise. Ultimately, the Colorados surrendered to Coudet’s decision. There are even those who have compared him to Mauro Galvão, a defender who made history at Inter with just 1.78m.

Position is nothing new for Mallo

Even if the choice was surprising, even more so because it was a decisive game, Mallo had already played as a defender at Celta de Vigo, including with Coudet himself. When the defender was hired, the coach warned about the possibility.

— A full-back who can also play as a defender. Despite not being that tall, he has good aerial game. He already played with me as a defender.

At his introductory press conference, Mallo himself spoke about acting in this position.

“No problem. I feel comfortable, tactically I know the position. I know the moments that exist in this position. I’ve played it, it wouldn’t be a surprise if I need to play it. After all, I am available to the group, to the coach, and wherever I can contribute and help the team achieve results and objectives, I will be delighted.

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