Campeonato Brasileiro preview round 26
This weekend, we’re off to Belo Horizonte for the clash between strugglers Atlético Mineiro and Náutico.
Last week, Atlético went down 3-2 away at neighbours Ipatinga and now Marcelo Oliveira’s boys are really feeling the heat at the wrong end of the table.
Things came to a head in the last few days when club president Ziza Valadares resigned after he and his family receiving death threats.
Atlético now have another must-win game on their hands against Náutico. The Belo Horizonte outfit start the day in 12th with 30 points – just one above their opponents. If Atlético lose, they’ll remain outside the relegation zone but could end the round perilously close to the bottom four.
Náutico have been in trouble for some time but are now showing signs of recovery.
Last Sunday, they picked up a valuable away win at Vasco but they remain just three points above the teams in real trouble. Coach Roberto Fernandes and his team are well aware of the importance of getting a result as a defeat could see them back in the drop zone.
Marcelo Oliveira welcomes back the veteran forward, Marques, after injury. But Petkovic is still out.
Kick off: Saturday 20th September – 18:20 Brasilia
On Sunday we’re in the north of Brazil as Sport Recife take on current champions São Paulo.
After a dodgy period, Sport have suddenly gone on a bit of a run and in the last round thumped Figueirense 5×0 in the estádio Ilha do Retiro.
Nelsinho Baptista’s team are unbeaten in five and have a good record at home winning 8, drawing twice, and losing 2 (1-2 Flamengo, 0-1 Botafogo).
Although Sport have already qualified for next year’s Libertadores via the Copa do Brasil, a top four finish in the league is not beyond them if they remain motivated.
Muricy Ramalho and São Paulo’s dream of winning the league a record three wins in a row is still alive.
The Morumbi side could end the round just 4 points behind the leaders if luck is with them this weekend. But São Paulo’s away form is appalling and despite this late stage of the season they still have only two road wins to their name (4-2 Flamengo, 3-1 Vitória). São Paulo have now gone two months since their last away victory (16/07 – 3-1 Vitória) drawing 3 and losing 3 in this period.
Sport will be without their in-form front man, Roger, who is suspended. Enílton is expected to start with Carlinhos Bala on the wing. For São Paulo, midfielder Jean is out. Borges has not travelled.
Goal average: 2.8 – four 0x0s
Kick off: Sunday 21st September – 16:00 Brasilia
Elsewhere, Grêmio are away at Atlético Paranaense knowing that a defeat could see them lose the leadership. Atlético are suffering in the league but have a reasonable track record at home and this will be tricky for Grêmio. Palmeiras take on Vasco in the Palestra Itália at 18:10 on Sunday. By that time, Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s team will know whether a win will take them top or not. Renato Gaúcho is back in charge at Vasco and will want at least a point from the game. Cruzeiro are at a troubled Figueirense who have Mário Sergio in control for the first time. In the estádio Canindé, Botafogo should be confident in inflicting more pain on bottom club Portuguesa.
See the table and all the fixtures here