Campeonato Paulista: round 18 preview
This is the penultimate round of the competition and there’s still all to play for. None of the playoff places or relegation slots has been decided but the situation should be a little clearer by the end of Sunday evening.
Wins for Guaratinguetá (home to Sertãozinho), and Palmeiras (home to São Caetano), will guarantee the top two their places in the semis.
If you want to work out your own permutations of who will qualify and who will go down, take a look at this rather nifty site dynamic table
On Saturday, we head to the city of Rio Claro and the Estádio Municipal Dr Augusto Schmidt Filho for Rio Claro Futebol Clube against Santos Futebol Clube. Sunday, it’s Sport Clube Corinthians Paulista vs. Marília Atlético Clube in the estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo (Morumbi).
This is our first visit to Rio Claro and it could well be the last as Edu Marangon’s team might already be down by the time they kick off against Santos. That will depend on what happens in the game between Juventus and Guarani, which gets underway 3 hours earlier. If Juventus win, it’s curtains for Rio Claro. A Guarani win also spells trouble. So, Rio Claro are praying that the two draw.
Rio Claro have been in the relegation zone since round 7 and haven’t won a match since round 13 when they beat Juventus 1×0.
Remaining fixture: Marília (A)
Six wins out of seven has lifted Santos into seventh – just five points behind leaders Guaratinguetá. Wednesday’s controversial win over Corinthians was vital and Emerson Leão’s team have found momentum at just the right time. A month ago, the current champions were well out it but now a semi-final place is a real possibility. In fact, Santos were in the bottom four for six out of the first ten rounds. However, the boys from the Vila will have to win both their remaining games and hope at least two of the teams above them slip up. Santos do have an appalling away record but they have won their last two matches on the road at São Caetano and Guaratinguetá.
Remaining fixture: Ponte Preta (H)
Kick off: 29/3/08 – 18:10 (Brasilia) GMT – 3 hours
Home team record: won 3, drawn 3, lost 2 (Guaratinguetá, Noroeste)
Away team record: won 2, drawn 1, lost 5 (Portuguesa, Juventus, São Paulo, Rio Preto, Sertãozinho)
Home team news: Edu Marangon is expected to start with the same team that drew 1×1 with Ponte Preta midweek
Away team news: Betão is suspended after being sent off against Corinthians. Fabão or Marcelo will be the replacement. Marcinho Guerreiro picked up a third yellow and is out. Rodrigo Souto will come back into midfield.
Fixture goal average: only one meeting = Santos 2×1 Rio Claro – 25/03/07
Ones to watch: Santos’ Molina, Kléber Pereira and Sebastián Pinto are all looking good
My prediction: Santos to win
Corinthians’ playoff hopes took a real knock after their defeat to Santos. Mano Meneze’s team have now failed to beat any of the big sides in the competition. Corinthians must bounce back against Marília or they can kiss their semi-final hopes goodbye. The Parque São Jorge side have only clocked up eight wins and that will count against them should they finish level on points with one of the other challengers.
Remaining fixture: Rio Claro (H)
Marília have a dreadful away record having lost eight of their nine outings. The good news is that Marilia have won their previous two games and a win on Sunday would guarantee their Série A survival. A point against Corinthians and another vs. Noroeste may also be enough. This though would be a risky strategy as Noroeste are still in with a shout at making the next phase. Marília came very close to going down last season. This year they may not be so lucky.
Remaining fixture: Noroeste (A)
Kick off: 30/3/08 – 16:00 (Brasilia) GMT – 3 hours
Home team record: won 5, drawn 3, lost 1 (Palmeiras)
Away team record: won 1 (Bragantino), lost 8
Home team news: Chicão and Lulinha are suspended. Corinthians will launch their new (though rather uninspiring) purple shirt (photo), which will make them look a little like Fiorentina. Unfortunately, for their fans, Corinthians probably won’t be anywhere near as good as the Italians.
Away team news: Rafael Fefo is on loan from Corinthians and won’t play. João Marcus is expected to come in.
Fixture goal average: 2.37
Ones to watch: Corinthians’ Carlão doesn’t get much press but he has been pretty solid this season.
My prediction: Corinthians struggled against bottom side Rio Claro last weekend and were very fortunate to win. Marília may cause more problems but Corinthians should be able to manage another narrow victory.
Entry filed under: Campeonato Paulista 2008. Tags: Brazilian football, Campeonato Paulista 2008, Corinthians, esporte, estadual, football, Futebol, futebol negócio, internacional football, marilia, Paulista, rio claro, Santos, soccer, Sport, sports, World Football.