Campeonato Brasileiro preview round 37

November 27, 2008 at 19:53 Leave a comment

Yes, it really is Muricy Ramalho

Yes, it really is Muricy Ramalho

Muricy Ramalho appointed Brazil coach

This weekend São Paulo could clinch the title against Fluminense and our cameras will be in the estádio Morumbi to capture the moment (or not).

League champions for the past two years, São Paulo could make it a record three in a row if they beat Fluminense on Sunday. In fact, Muricy Ramalho’s men could lose the game and still take the trophy if Grêmio fail to beat bottom side Ipatinga in Minas Gerias.

São Paulo will go in to this one unbeaten in 16 rounds (11 wins, 5 draws) and having won their last six.

The Morumbi side’s stats say it all: won 20 (alongside Cruzeiro), lost only 5, best attack 64 (failed to score in six games), best goal difference 29, and 2nd best defence 35 (Grêmio 34). Their home record is also very impressive: 14 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss (0-1 Grêmio on the opening day) goals for 37, goals conceded 11.

If São Paulo do take the league, Muricy Ramalho will equal the record set by Rubens Minelli who was a championship winning coach at Internacional 75 and 76, and São Paulo in 77. Ramalho’s style of football may not be everybody’s cup of tea – and I’ve certainly put the boot in over the past three years – but you have to admire the way he gets the job done. Ramalho though will still be two Brasileiro’s behind Vanderlei Luxemburgo who was successful in 93 and 94 (Palmeiras), 98 (Corinthians), 2003 (Cruzeiro) and 2004 (Santos).

There’s been 24 meetings in Morumbi between the two teams and São Paulo are well in front with 17 wins and 4 draws. Fluminense’s 3 victories came in 72 (3-0), 84 (2-0) and last year (1-0).  The 2007 win was Flu’s first in the Morumbi for 23 years. But the Rio side have a good recent record vs São Paulo winning the last three meetings and also knocking them out of the Libertadores earlier this season.

Last weekend, Flu ran out easy winners against an Internacional B team, but they are not completely safe from the drop and require at least a point to be sure.

Fluminense have only picked up 17 points away from home (4 wins, 5 draws, 9 losses – scored 24, let in 27). Under Renato Gaúcho, Flu had a torrid time in the first part of their league campaign. But since the arrival of Renê Simões (the man who led Jamaica to the World Cup finals in France 98), Flu have only lost 2 of their last 8.

Team news (will be updated over the weekend if necessary)

São Paulo midfielder, Zé Luís, will be missing through injury. Regular centreback, Rodrigo, returns from suspension.

Flu’s attacking left wingback, Júnior César, is doubtful. Youngster, João Paulo, should come in. Midfielder Wellington Monteiro was suffering from thigh pains but should be fit.

Goal average = 2.39 – two 0x0s – 84 & 90

Kick off: Sunday 30 November – 17:00 – Brasilia

Referee: Héber Roberto Lopes (3 games with us this season – usually a sensible official (by Brazilian standards) averages about 6 yellows per match but has sent off at least one man in all 3 games

Ones to watch: São Paulo centreback, André Dias, has been outstanding this season and deserves more recognition. Flu forward, Washington, has scored five goals vs São Paulo in the previous three meetings.

Elsewhere, Grêmio travel to bottom club Ipatinga knowing they have to win. Despite propping up the table, Ipatinga’s recent home record is not half bad and this may not be that easy for Grêmio. In the Libertadores, Flamengo take on Goiás in the Maracanã, Palmeiras are away at Vitória (who beat Grêmio 4-2 last week), and Cruzeiro travel to Internacional who will put out another second-string side as they have the second leg of the final of the Copa Sul-Americana (the what?) next Wednesday. Teams involved in the battle to avoid the drop include Santos away to Atlético Mineiro in what should be a packed Mineirão, a six-pointer between Náutico and Atlético Paranaense in Recife, Vasco are at Coritiba, Portuguesa host Sport, and Figueirense fly up the coast to face Botafogo in Rio.

See the table and all the fixtures here

Entry filed under: Campeonato Brasileiro 2008. Tags: , , , , .

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Jon Cotterill. Commentator/expert/eyes on South American football. São Paulo/Buenos Aires. Trying to shout more.

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