The road for Corinthians to their Campeonato Paulista quarter-final clash with Oeste can be divided into two distinct phases.
In the first, the Musketeers lined up with the likes of legendary Brazil duo Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos and midfield schemer Jucilei.
Since then, Ronaldo has retired and Roberto Carlos and Jucilei were sold off to ambitious Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.
The second phase saw a new-look Corinthians, led by striker Liedson.
The Brazilian-born Portugal forward – a January arrival after eight prolific seasons with Sporting Lisbon – has had an immediate impact, striking 10 goals in his first eight games and taking Corinthians to the top of the table.
Following the 2-1 loss to Sao Paulo on February 26, however, Tite’s men seemed to lose their way and fell to third.
But the man who led Internacional to Copa Sudamericana glory in 2008 believes his side can prevail at home on Saturday.
“Corinthians will be ready for the playoffs. We don’t have a lot of time to recover but we will be ready,” the manager said.
One thing is for certain, Corinthians cannot be counted out of the title race.
Wins over Santos and Palmeiras have already shown what they can do, while an easy 3-0 triumph over Oeste in Round 15 shows just who the favourites are for this play-off clash.
Itapolis minnows Oeste are in the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time.
It is a huge accomplishment for a club who joined the first division back in 2004.
Success has come from partnership of strikers Fabio Santos and Anselmo Ramon, who together have netted 16 goals.
Oeste made certain of their place in the next phase after a 2-1 win against Ponte Preta, and now believe they can surprise the big boys.
Corinthians or Oeste will meet the winners of the Palmeiras-Mirassol battle in the semi-finals.
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