Saturday, 6 August 2011

Campeonato Brasileiro 2011 preview: Round 15 (part two)

Continuing on with the preview of this weekend's Brasileirão, let's turn our attention to Sunday's afternoon matches.

Santos x Ceará (Sunday 7th - 16h00 Pacaembu)

Both Santos and Ceará have been struggling of late, so a win for either side would be vital. Ceará are coming into this game off the back of an extremely disappointing defeat at home to Avaí, where they were completely outplayed and beaten 3x0. Santos, the 2011 Copa Libertadores champions, are also in a poor phase, losing their last three matches and gaining heavy criticism from their supporters.

Against Ceará, Santos should not really have many problems and will more than likely win comfortably. They will be without wonderkid Neymar, who is suspended, but they will still be able to field a strong lineup capable of seeing off the Vozão.

Internacional x Cruzeiro (Sunday 7th - 16h00 Beira-Rio)

Internacional and Cruzeiro face off against one another in Porto Alegre in what could certainly turn out to be the game of the round. Both teams have slumped a little over the past month, but they possess strong squads and we should see in exciting yet even match. Inter and Cruzeiro are both poised to go on a good run of form, and a win in this match could be perfect to kick that off.

Inter remain with several selection issues, Guiñazu, Zé Roberto, Bolatti and Gilberto are all injured, Oscar and Juan are away with the Brazilian U-20 squad, and Kleber and Wilson Matias are suspended. Coach Osmar Loss has been using a 4-5-1 formation recently, but with so many injuries in the midfield, it is expected that he will have to change his shape. 

Cruzeiro aren't without their own problems either, Thiago Ribeiro and Roger remain on the sidelines injured, but coach Joel Santana can still count on Montillo and Wallyson going forward. This will be an intriguing match, where we should see some goals and excitement. In my opinion, Cruzeiro will come through as narrow winners, but in truth this game could go either way.

Atlético-PR x Corinthians (Sunday 7th - 16h00 Arena da Baixada)

Leaders Corinthians continue on their run of favourable fixtures, in the past week they have faced 17th placed Avaí, 20th placed América and now they take on Atlético Paranaense in 19th place. This game could be dangerous though, as o Furacão have hit some decent form of late and look tough to beat at home in Curitiba. 

Corinthians have had their leader credentials well tested over the past few weeks, and some cracks are beginning to appear. Their defence does not look as assured as it was earlier in the season, and some particularly poor performances from young goalkeeper Renan has now made coach Tite axe him in favour of their terribly inexperienced third goalkeeper Danilo Fernandes. With their opponents visibly rattled by recent results, Atlético will be going all out for the upset.

América-MG x Fluminense (Sunday 7th - 16h00 Arena do Jacaré)

InternaciIn the last of Sunday's afternoon matches América Mineiro host last year's champions Fluminense in Sete Lagoas. América, currently in 20th position in the league standings, have been in some real trouble of late and team morale appears to be at an all-time low. Fan's favourite Givanildo has came in as their new manager to try and steady the ship, but they will find it extremely hard against this Fluminense side.

Fluminense coach Abel Braga looks to have finally settled into the job and Fluminense are on their best run of form of this season so far. This week the club has been rocked with speculation surrounding the possible exit of national team striker Fred, with the 27 year old claiming he has recieved death threats from certain sections of the Fluminense support. They will continue without him this weekend, with Rafael Moura and Rafael Sobis playing up front. 

In Brasil, scandals like this often seem to affect on-field performance, but Fluminense are looking too good at this moment and should win this match comfortably.

There you have it, Sunday's afternoon games all previewed. The final part of the preview is coming soon, a look at the three matches on Sunday evening, which includes an interesting clássico.


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