Campeonato Brasileiro round 17 preview
We start our coverage of round 17 of the Campeonato Brasileiro at the estádio Maracanã for Fluminense as they take on Internacional.
Both teams began the season amongst the title favourites but it’s been a disappointing campaign for both outfits.
Fluminense remain stuck in the relegation zone and even three points on Saturday will not lift them out of the bottom four.
On Wednesday, Flu went down 3-1 at Portuguesa, which made it the third game in a row they have conceded three goals.
With the halfway point of the Brasileiro just round the corner, and with no apparent sign of improvement, the prospect of relegation to Série B is slowly becoming more of a reality.
Renato Gaúcho has called for reinforcements. The coach has said he’s doing what he can but that even he can’t perform miracles (though I doubt he would have said that a few weeks ago when they were coasting in the Libertadores!).
A lack of consistency has dogged Internacional this year. After beating São Paulo
2-0, they were then beaten by two bottom four sides: Ipatinga and Santos.
Inter’s other problem is their atrocious away form. 19 of Inter’s 22 points have been picked up at home and Tite’s men haven’t won on the road since November 2007 when they beat Vasco 2-1.
Renato Gaúcho has selection problems. Arouca picked up an injury at Portuguesa. Washington and Tartá were sent off in the same game. Thiago Silva and Thiago Neves are on duty with Brazil. But junior César, Luíz Alberto and Sandro should be back.
Tite will also make changes. Wellington Monteiro is back from injury. Recent signings Rosinei and Bolívar should start. Sorondo is available after injury. But more importantly, Nilmar returns.
Goal average: 2.4
Kick off: 2 August – 18:20 Brasilia
Ones to watch: Inter’s Nilmar and Rosinei. Flu’s coach Renato Gaucho who may go if his side lose again.
For our second game of the weekend, we’re in the estádio Morumbi for São Paulo against Vasco de Gama.
The current league champions are hoping to make it a record three Brasileiros in a row but São Paulo have yet to break into the top four this season.
São Paulo went top at the end of round 17 last year and never relinquished the lead. Whatever happens on Sunday, the Morumbi outfit will not repeat that feat but they could be amongst the frontrunners once again.
After a reasonable start to the campaign, Vasco have once again slid down the table.
But a 6-1 thumping of Atlético Mineiro on Thursday should have lifted the spirits.
However, there is turmoil off the pitch with a large section of Vasco fans showing their dissatisfaction and player Edmundo accusing teammates of feigning injuries.
Vasco haven’t beaten São Paulo in their own backyard for 19 years. That could be extended to 20 as Antônio Lope’s side have yet to win away from home this season.
Muricy Ramalho will be without Hugo and Zé Luís who are suspended. Miranda is injured and Alex Silva and Hernanes are with Brazil. New signings André Lima, Ânderson and Rodrigo could all be in the squad.
Antônio Lopes’ team won’t have Edmundo, who is being rested (and he had the front to slag off his teammates Jean and Leandro Bomfim on Thursday!) and Byro who is injured. First choice keeper, Tiago, returns from suspension.
Goal average: 2.94
Kick off: 3 August – 16:00 Brasilia
Ones to watch: São Paulo’s new boys André Lima, Ânderson and Rodrigo if they get a chance.
Elsewhere, top of the table clashes between Flamengo and Cruzeiro, and Grêmio and Vitória catch the eye. Fla are without a win in five. Cruzeiro won in the Maracanã last weekend. Leaders Grêmio are unbeaten at home. If they beat Vitória, perhaps even the doubters will begin to believe the title is a real possibility.