Campeonato Brasileiro preview round 33
On Saturday, we’re in the estádio Maracanã as title hopefuls Flamengo take on relegation-threatened, Portuguesa.
Their midweek 0-0 draw away at Vitória left Fla in 5th but they closed the gap on leaders Grêmio to just three points and are firmly in the hunt for the league title. The team from Rio even have an outside chance of finishing the round as top dogs if they win by two goals and the four sides above them all lose.
But to maintain their challenge, the Red and Blacks will have to add to their impressive tally of ten home wins. Caio Júnior’s side will be in the Maracanã for their next three games against Portuguesa, an ‘away’ match vs Botafogo, and a little matter with Palmeiras (a game we’ll be showing).
Portuguesa returned to the top flight last year. But if they are not careful, they could be making a quick return to the second division.
Estevam Soares’ side have just one road win to their name: 1-0 against Botafogo way back in June. Portuguesa have also picked up two draws (Santos, Náutico), but have managed to lose a whopping 13 away games. The Canindé team, though, do have a reasonable record in the Maracanã picking up 2 wins and 2 draws to Fla’s 2 wins.
Caio Júnior is expected to start with the same side that drew 0-0 at Vitória. For Portuguesa, rightback Patrício returns but midfielder Fellype Gabriel is on-loan from Flamengo and cannot play.
Kick off: 18:30 Brasilia
Goal average: 2.16 – three 0x0s
Ones to watch: Fla’s Léo Moura. Portuguesa’s ex Flamengo man, Gavilán.
Our Sunday match could not be much bigger as we head to the Vila Belmiro for archenemies Santos against Palmeiras.
In recent weeks, Santos have slowly edged away from danger and now have their sights on a Copa Sul Americana place. Despite their poor form for most of the season, Santos have remained reasonably solid at home winning 8, drawing 5 and losing just 3 (Goiás, Coritiba and Atlético MG). However, it’s been a couple of years since Santos beat Palmeiras in the Vila (5-1 in September 2006).
Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s boys start the day in 4th just 1 point behind front runners, Grêmio. Earlier this year, Palmeiras won the first meeting against Santos 4-2. But Palmeiras’ bane this season has been their terrible away form. Last weekend, our cameras were in the Maracanã to see Palmeiras collapse against Fluminense.
4 wins, 5 draws and 7 losses is a poor return for the club’s heavy investment in playing staff and the Big Greens just cannot afford to drop too many more points on the road in the run-in.
Márcio Fernandes should have Roberto Brum, Rodrigo Souto, Cuevas, and Fabiano Eller back in the starting line-up. Martinez and Elder Granja are expected to return for Palmeiras.
Kick off: 17:00 Brasilia – note the new time
Goal average: 2.5 – last 0-0 was 18 years ago
Ones to watch: two of the league’s top scorers: Santos’ Kléber Pereira (21 goals) and Palmeiras’ Alex Mineiro (18)
See the rests of the fixtures and the table here