Campeonato Brasileiro preview round 23
We kick off this weekend’s matches with a visit to the estádio Engenhão for Botafogo as they take on Náutico.
Coach Ney Franco has done a fantastic job with the Rio team, lifting the one-time strugglers to 4th in the table.
Botafogo are the in-form team in the Brasileiro – unbeaten in 9, Ney Franco’s men have taken 23 points from a possible 27 and conceded just two goals in this period.
Last weekend, Botafogo were on the verge of making it a record seven wins in a row in the league and would have succeeded had it not been for a late equalizer from Vasco’s Rodrigo Antonio.
Botafogo’s home record is impressive: 8 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss, (0-1 Portuguesa) and they’ll be more than confident of taking maximum points on Saturday.
The last time these two side met was back in June when Náutico won 3-0. But the game is more famous for the expulsion of Botafogo’s André Luís and the incident has already become a U-tube favourite. See the incident here.
Náutico led the Brasileiro after two rounds but since then it’s been all down hill and the Recife outfit are now in the bottom four.
Coach Roberto Fernandes was in charge when Náutico topped the league back in May. Fernandes was then lured south by Atlético Paranaense. But after an ill-fated time in Curitiba, Fernandes returned to Recife earlier this month.
Náutico’s away record is appalling: just 1 win (Fluminense (2-0), 1 draw, Ipatinga (0-0), and 8 losses. If the club fail to improve on the road, they’ll be turning out in Série B this time next year.
Ney Franco has rightback Alessandro available once again but Wellington Paulista, Leandro Guerreiro and Fábio are all injured. Roberto Fernandes’ side are expected to throw up a defensive wall with three centrebacks and three defensive midfielders. Centreback Vagner is doubtful. Eduardo returns in goal.
Goal average = 3.2 – only one draw = 1×1 – 1989 – Maracanã.
Kick off: Saturday 30 August 18:20 Brasilia.
Ones to watch: who else but Botafogo’s André Luís.
For our second game of the round, we move south for Atlético Paranaense as they come up against Palmeiras.
After a couple of decent results, Atlético have drifted into trouble once again.
In the last round, the Coritiba side were on the wrong end of a 4-0 thrashing at Atlético Mineiro and now sit just a point above the bottom four.
The experienced Mário Sergio is now in his fourth spell with the club. The coach arrived in mid August and has won one, but lost two (both away). Surprisingly, in a career that goes back more than 20 years, Sergio has never won a game vs Vanderlei Luxemburgo.
Atlético have always been strong in the Arena de Baixada but this season their home form has been average with 5 wins, 5 draws, 1 defeat (0-3 Botafogo).
At the opposite end of the table are Palmeiras. Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s men moved into second place after a 4-2 win over Portuguesa in the last round and are now just five points behind leaders Grêmio.
With Cruzeiro seemingly losing the plot just as they did this time last year, Palmeiras may be Grêmio’s main challengers for the title.
Palmeiras though are poor travellers and have only one of their last seven away games. To date, the Palestra Itália outfit have won just twice on the road (2-0 Vasco, 2-1 Ipatinga). They’ve also drawn 3 but clocked up 6 losses. Perhaps more worrying for Palmeiras is that they have lost all 6 games in the Arena da Baixada and have yet to score in the stadium.
Julio dos Santos should return for Atlético Paranaense. Palmeiras are without Leandro who is suspended. Midfielder Pierre is injured. Rightback Elder Granja should be available after injury. Centreback Gustavo is a doubt.
Goal average = 2.3 – two 0x0s = Arena da Baixada 2000 & 2004
Ones to watch: Palmeiras’ Alex Mineiro
Elsewhere, leaders Grêmio are at home to Vasco on Sunday. Grêmio have taken just one point from the last six (both matches on the road) but they’ve been fortunate that Cruzeiro’s form has been even worse. The Belo Horizonte club have picked up just three points from the last twelve and have a tricky home fixture against Coritiba. 5th placed São Paulo meet local rivals Santos in the Morumbi. A win for Santos (albeit unlikely) could lift the Vila Belmiro club out of the bottom four for the first time since round 4. There’s also a big derby in the Maracanã on Sunday where Flamengo and Fluminense clash. Three points could put Fla back into the top four but even a win for Flu may not help them climb the table.
For the table and the rest of the Campeonato Round 23 fixtures click here