Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 8/15
In the 14th round of the Brazilian Serie A, Sao Paulo will have a chance of catching up with the teams placed above in the table by piling on the misery for Juventude. The match is set to take place at the Cicero Pompeu de Toledo Stadium on Sunday.
Sao Paulo finished the 2021 season in 13th place, just missing out on a place in the group stages of the Copa Sudamericana. With that in mind, the fact that they now sit in ninth will have come as an improvement, but with the middle part of the table extremely tight at the moment, they will also feel that there is real opportunity to improve on that further. After all, Fluminense in sixth, Botafogo in seventh, Santos in eighth, and Bragantino, all have the same tally as them – 18 points – going into this round.
But in order to hope for anything better, they will have to work hard on improving their run of results, having lost the previous two outings in the league. They wouldn’t want to face the prospect of going any lower.
Sao Paulo’s last six league matches saw them draw 2-2 at home against Ceara, draw 1-1 away to Avai as well as away to Coritiba, beat America Mineiro 1-0 at home, lose 1-0 away to Botafogo, and lose 1-2 to Palmeiras. They did, however, make amends to an extent later by beating the league leaders 1-0 at home in the first leg of the Copa do Brasil round of 16.
Head coach Rogerio Ceni won’t be able to call upon midfielders Luan Santos and Andres Colorado for this match as they both suffer from thigh injuries. Alisson has been added to the list of injured midfielders recently, as have the more attack-minded duo of Nikao and Gabriel Sara (both with ankle issue). It’s obviously a problematic situation.
Patrick was the man who scored the only goal in the cup win over Palmeiras, and though he usually plays in midfield, he could start upfront alongside Jonathan Calleri again.
Juventude have now practically reached that unwanted stage where every match is a do-or-die situation. They’re at the bottom of the table with 10 points, and they have some serious work to do if they have any plans of staying in the Serie A.
They share that spot with Fortaleza, who have the same number of points (10) but are slightly ahead on goal-difference. Further up Cuiaba have 13 and Goias 14, but the last teams above the red zone are currently Coritiba, America Mineiro and Flamengo, all on 15. It promises to be quite a struggle for survival.
It’s therefore hardly a surprise that Juventude have booked only four points in the last six matches, and that in the first two of the run, when they drew 1-1 away to Fortaleza and beat Fluminense at home by 1-0. Since then, they’ve lost 1-3 at home to Athletico Paranaense, 2-0 away to Corinthians, 1-2 at home against Santos, and 3-1 away to Atletico Goianense.
Having been sent off in that last match, captain William Matheus is suspended and won’t be covering the left defensive flank as usual on Sunday.
There have been no reports on fresh injury problems, but those from earlier make quite a long list, which probably goes some way to explain that woeful run of form. Centre-back Vitor Mendes (thigh), striker Isidro Pitta (muscle) and goalkeeper Felipe Alves (calf), are on it,as is midfielder Marlon Adriano who missed the last two games through a muscle problem.
Further more, striker Vitor Gabriel is a doubt after a knock kept him out against Atletico Goianense.
In such circumstances, Ricardo Bueno and Capixaba could be joined by midfielder Oscar Ruiz in attack again.
Both teams are obviously severely hit by injuries at the moment, and Sao Paulo no doubt remain the favourites two emerge triumphant from the clash and condemn Juventude to scramble for points elsewhere.
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 8/15
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