Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 6/4
Sao Paulo are set to welcome Palmeiras to the Estadio Cicero Pompeu de Toledo, more commonly referred to as Estadio do Morumbi, on Tuesday, in the final match of the 13th round of the season in the Brazilian Serie A. It is one of the fiercer rivalries in the Brazilian Campeonato, and passions will surely be running high despite the notable difference in the current standings.
Interestingly enough, these teams will face each other again three days later in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Copa do Brasil.
It’s lucky for Rogerio Ceni’s team that they play this match at home at this point, simply due to the fact that they’re yet to win anywhere else this season. Such a poor away record is the main reason why they are so very far from the top at the moment, sitting ninth in the table with 18 points. It should, however, be said that five teams have the same tally – Fluminense in sixth, Botafogo in seventh, Santos in eighth, and Bragantino in 10th. Therefore, any points won in this match would take Sao Paulo to sixth; a win could get them even higher with three more teams on 21 points.
Sao Paulo’s last-six run when it comes to all competitions begins with a 1-0 home win over Peruvian side Ayacucho in the final round of the group stage of the Copa Sudamericana, where they’ve finished top of Group D. After that, they drew 2-2 at home against Ceara, drew 1-1 away to Avai, drew 1-1 away to Coritiba, beat America-MG at home by 1-0, and eventually lost 1-0 away to Botafogo.
Attacking midfielders Gabriel Sara and Nikao are both out with ankle problems. Winger Alisson is injured too, having sprained a knee, while defensive midfielder Andres Colorado ruptured his thigh muscle.
Forward Jonathan Calleri is the top scorer in the league with nine strikes and he’s surely to start in the attacking line for Sao Paulo, despite failing to get his name on the scoresheet in the last two matches.
Meanwhile, Palmeiras are the team that have so far taken full advantage of Sao Paulo’s struggles, topping the table with 25 points, followed closely by Corinthians with the same tally. Athletico Paranense, Atletico Mineiro and Internacional are the three teams already mentioned, sitting directly below on 21.
Unlike Sao Paulo, Palmeiras unsurprisingly boast great form at the moment, having won five of their last six matches in all competitions. The string begins with a 4-1 home triumph over Venezuelan side Deportivo Tachira in the final round of the Copa Libertadores group stages, where they’ve smashed their way through Group A to win it with a perfect record. Then they beat Santos away by 0-1, played a goalless draw at home aganst Atletico Mineiro, smashed Botafogo at home by 4-0, beat Coritiba away by 0-2, and triumphed 4-2 at home over Atletico Goianiense.
Right-back Marcos Rocha and attacking midfielder Raphael Veiga have reportedly been ruled out with thigh injuries. Defensive midfielder Jailson will not play again this season having torn his ACL. Left-back Jorge also has a knee problem though not as severe as Jailson, and he will probably be back in action some time in July.
Brazil international Weverton leads the Campeonato with six clean sheets and the Palmeiras back line will be relying on his vast quality between the posts again. Rony is the likeliest man to lead the line upfront.
This is perhaps the best opportunity for Palmeiras to put another nail into Sao Paulo’s coffin and increase the distance between them, and they’re likely to take it.
Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 6/4
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