Campeonato Brasileiro round 30 preview
Our Saturday match has us in the estádio Engenhão for the Botafogo vs Santos clash.
Botafogo start the day in 6th – six points adrift of the Libertadores places. Earlier this week, coach Ney Franco thought he was going to be without Jorge Henrique and Carlos Alberto for most of the season. Henrique picked up a 120 day ban for a scuffle with Grêmio’s Léo and Carlos Alberto was handed an 8-match suspension for ‘unsportsmanlike behaviour’ in the same match. Botafogo, however, won their appeal on Thursday and for now both players are available for the Santos game.
The Rio side are pretty solid at home picking up 9 wins, 3 draws, and 2 losses (Portuguesa, Internacional) and have the edge against the strugglers from São Paulo.
Since Santos won the Brasileiro in 2002, they have only finished outside the top four on one occasion (10th in 2005). Last year, they ended the season in 2nd and were turning out in the Libertadores just a few months ago. Right now though, the Vila Belmiro team would be more than happy to settle for a top ten finish. With only five points more than bottom four side Atlético Paranaense, Santos are far from safe. And a loss against Botafogo could put Márcio Fernandes’ team back in a very uncomfortable position come the end of the round.
Santos’ away record makes for some grim reading: 9 defeats, 4 draws and just 1 win (vs Internacional).
For Botafogo, Zé Carlos is suspended. Rightback Alessandro and regular keeper, Castillo are injured. After a three-month layoff, Santos’ first choice keeper, Fábio Costa, makes a much-welcome return. But Fabiano Eller and Kléber Pereira – the league’s top scorer with 20 goals – are missing. Adaílton and Lima are expected to come in.
Kick off: Saturday 18th October – 18:20 (Brasília)
Goal average: 2.4
Ones to watch: the ever controversial, Carlos Alberto
On Sunday, we’ll be setting up our cameras at the estádio Palestra Itália for the titanic clash between Palmeiras and archrivals São Paulo.
With Palmeiras 2nd on 54 points and São Paulo 4th on 52, this fixture could decide the fate of one or both teams.
Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s outfit are 2 points behind leaders Grêmio and the coach has promised to put out an attack-minded side. That could mean moving Martinez from his recent role in the Palmeiras defence, back into midfield alongside Evandro.
Palmeiras have been very effective in their own backyard winning 12, drawing once (Figueirense), and losing once (Sport). Though Luxemburgo has tried to play it down, Palmeiras are slight favourites especially when São Paulo’s shocking away record is taken in to consideration.
With 29 games gone, the current league champions have only won 3 games on the road (4-2 Flamengo, 3-1 Vitória, 3-1 Ipatinga). They have, however, drawn 7 but a point on Sunday will not be enough if the Morumbi outfit still have pretensions of retaining their title.
São Paulo’s brand of football may not be to everyone’s tastes but they have scored 47, which makes them the league’s most prolific outfit. Muricy Ramalho’s men are also unbeaten in 10 (5 wins, 5 draws) and have won their last 3 outings.
For Palmeiras, Jumar is suspended. Dagoberto may return for São Paulo but will probably start on the bench.
Kick off: Sunday 19th October – 16:00 (Brasília)
Goal average: 2.41
Ones to watch: the two keepers: Marcos of Palmeiras and São Paulo’s Rogério Ceni.
Elsewhere, Grêmio are away at strugglers Portuguesa and are favourites to take all three points back to Porto Alegre. Man of the moment, Douglas Costa, will play. Cruzeiro take on bitter rivals Atlético Mineiro in the Mineirão. Cruzeiro may be 3rd but Atlético will be buoyed up by last week’s deserved 3-0 win against Flamengo. 4th placed Fla face neighbours Vasco who sit just one position off the bottom. There should be an entertaining match up when Coritiba meet Goiás in the Couto Pereira. Internacional are nine points off the top four but should close that gap vs Atlético Paranaense. And in the Northeast, there’s the big derby between Sport Recife and Náutico.
See the table and all the fixtures here
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