Campeonato Brasileiro round 31 preview
With more local elections in Brazil on Sunday, we’re covering just one game this weekend and that’s in the Maracanã as relegation-threatened Fluminense take on title-hopefuls Palmeiras.
2008 really has been a roller-coaster ride for Flu. Back in July, they came within a hair’s breath of winning the Libertadores. Now they have eight matches to save themselves from the drop to Série B.
Last weekend, the Rio side travelled north to Vitória and came away with a point thanks to Thiago Silva, and their in-form striker, Washington, who is now the league’s second top scorer with 18 goals.
Flu though remain in a precarious position in the bottom four. And with a run-in that includes away games at Figueirense, Cruzeiro, Internacional and São Paulo, René Simões’ boys have got to go for the three points on Saturday.
5 wins, 5 draws and 5 defeats says all you need to know about Fluminense’s home record this season. To make matters worse, Flu haven’t beaten Palmeiras for 7 years (12 games in all competitions) and their last win against them in the Maracanã in the Brasileiro was way back in 1994.
Palmeiras arrive in Rio after a bruising battle with neighbours São Paulo. After conceding two goals against the run of play in the first-half, Palmeiras were out manoeuvred by São Paulo in the second, but somehow came back to scramble a point. The draw, though, was a huge morale boaster and though there are three games to go, it sets things up very nicely for what could be the title decider on the 9th November when Palmeiras face Grêmio in round 34 (a match you can see with us by the way!).
With most of their title competitors winning their midweek games, Palmeiras will start the day in 5th but could go 2nd if they take the three points and Cruzeiro fail to win. The Palestra Itália side’s away form remains worrying: 4 wins (2-0 Vasco, 2-1 Ipatinga, 2-1 Atlético PR, 1-0 Cruzeiro), 5 draws, 6 losses. But with trips to Santos, Flamengo and Vitória coming up, Luxemburgo’s team should be able to avoid defeat and maybe sneak at least one win.
Flu are without the injured Romeu. Wellington Monteiro should come in. Luiz Alberto is back from suspension. Ciel has picked up a third yellow and is out.
For Palmeiras, Diego Souza and Roque Júnior were red-carded in the 2-2 draw with São Paulo and are missing. Léo Lima is also suspended. Elder Granja is injured but Martinez should be back.
Kick off: Saturday 25th October – 16:00 – Brasilia
Goal average: 3
Ones to watch: the two goal machines: Flu’s Washington and Palmeiras’ Alex Mineiro.
Elsewhere, Grêmio squeezed past Sport 1-0 on Thursday so are assured of finishing the round at the top. São Paulo had to come from behind to beat Vitória in the Morumbi but Flamengo had no problems in the Maracanã sweeping aside Coritiba
5-0. Vasco pulled off a surprise win beating an in-form Goiás 4-2 in Goiânia. On Saturday, Cruzeiro travel to bottom four side Atlético Paranaense. Internacional will need to beat Atlético Mineiro in Belo Horizonte if they are to keep their slim hopes of qualifying for the Libertadores alive. And in Recife, there’s a relegation six-pointer as Náutico face Portuguesa.