Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Campeonato Brasileiro 2011 preview: Round 14 (part two)

We are back with the preview for Round 14 of the 2011 Brasileirão, we still have two move games tonight to cover, and then tomorrow's match-ups.

Cruzeiro x Flamengo (Wednesday 3rd - 21h50 Arena do Jacaré)

Cruzeiro host Flamengo in Sete Lagoas in what is certainly this week’s headline match. The home side have had some difficulties of late and after some good performances in the past month or so, they have now suffered two straight defeats against lesser opponents. Sitting in mid-table, they will be desperate to claw their way back up into a Copa Libertadores place. Cruzeiro are still without Thiago Ribeiro and Roger, but will have a strong line-up to call upon.

Flamengo are the league's form team at the moment and they remain as the only unbeaten side in the Brasileirão. Craque Ronaldinho Gaúcho is hitting form and sits at the top of the goalscoring charts, while Thiago Neves is putting in some excellent performances in the midfield. On paper, this one looks like a nailed-on Flamengo win, but Cruzeiro have an uncanny knack of beating Flamengo, in fact they have been victorious in the last six league meetings between the sides. Expect an even game without many goals.

Coritiba x Palmeiras (Wednesday 3rd - 21h50 Couto Pereira)

The last time that Coritiba and Palmeiras met at the Couto Pereira, the home side recorded a historic win, defeating Palmeiras 6x0 in the Copa do Brasil. Times have changed now, Palmeiras are a much stronger side who are secure in defence and Coritiba's momentum seems to have slowed down.

Palmeiras welcome back ídolos Marcos and Kleber to the starting 11, and new signing Henrique makes in the squad, although he will most likely start on the bench. Coritiba are the favourites for this one, despite Palmeiras' high league position. This should be an interesting match, with Coritiba investing their hopes in their attack and Palmeiras doing the same only in defence. Expect a tight scoreline, perhaps even a 0x0 draw with plently of missed chances.

São Paulo x Bahia (Thursday 4th - 21h00 Morumbi)

Moving on to Thursday's games, we start at the Morumbi as São Paulo take on Bahia. New São Paulo boss Adílson Batista has had a pretty unconvincing start to his reign, especially at home. His only two home games in charge have ended in disappointment, with a defeat to Vasco and a draw against Atlético-GO. On Thursday they will be looking to bounce back against a Bahia side struggling in defence.

Bahia are a side that have been suffering from similar problems, they have managed good results against big sides away from home, but their home form is lamentable. O tricolor baiano should make it very difficult for São Paulo, and if their defence can manage to stop São Paulo's wonderkid Lucas, they might just be able to sneak a result.

Fluminense x Internacional (Thursday 4th - 21h00 Engenhão)

Internacional travel to Rio de Janeiro to take on a rejuvenated Fluminense side at the Engenhão, and with the return of some key players for the away side, we could be in for a cracking match. Since Abel Braga took over as Fluminense boss, the morale amongst the squad has beed good, but results have been poor. Last weekend though, Flu managed a 4x0 win over Ceará in what was certainly their best performance of the season so far. Forwards Fred, Souza and Marquinho all seem to be in good form, and they will certainly be very hard to beat at the moment.

Their opponents Internacional are trying to pull themselves out of a disappointing phase, littered with injury problems and unconvincing results. However striker Leandro Damião will make his return against Flu and when he is in the side the whole team seem to function better. Zé Roberto is still injured and Oscar and Juan are with the Brazilian under-20 squad, but Inter are starting to get their big men back. This promises to be an excellent game, both sides are needing the points and there should be goals.

Atlético-GO x Atlético-PR (Thursday 4th - 21h00 Serra Dourada)

The last game of the weekend sees a battle of the atléticos as Atlético Goianiense take on Atlético Paranaense in Goiânia. This match may be forgotten amongst the other more high profile encounters, but it promises to be an intriguing game with both sides making big improvements over the past few weeks. The home side are unbeaten in their last three games, and when you consider those games were against São Paulo, Cruzeiro and then Internacional, that is even more impressive. 

Atlético Paranaense, o Furacão, had a terrible start to this year's campaign, only picking up two points in their first ten matches. However, wins against Botafogo and Santos (a thrilling 3x2) in the past ten days has breathed new life into the players and lifted them up off the bottom of the league. The signing of Uruguayan striker Santiágo 'Morro' García has given their attack some much-needed firepower and who knows how far this resurgence can take them.



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