Did you miss me? I hope you didn’t, even though I missed you all. Anyways, let’s get to business! There’s another Brazilian League round ahead that will have some key games that might matter at the end of the season.
All games on GMT -3, don’t forget that!
19:30 – Wednesday 25 July, 2012 – Ponte Preta x Sport
Ponte Preta faced Fluminense at home last Sunday, and had a pretty good game. They managed to threat the Rio side throughout the match, eventually scored a goal to tie their game, but due to a mistake by one of their defender Fluminense grabbed the win. They didn’t set high expectations for their season and have been playing accordingly; so far, 15 points after 11 games, standing at 9th place. As for Sport, they’ve done the same about expectations, but are behind Macaca. Ponte Preta has been doing very well at their stadium and had a pretty good game against Fluminense, so that’s an easy edge.
Edge: Ponte Preta
19:30 – Wednesday 25 July, 2012 – Figueirense x Internacional
Internacional fired their coach, Dorival Júnior, after less than impressive cameos since Oscar and Leandro Damião left the team to join Brazil’s Olympics squad. Fernandão, former player and football director, is now running the team and already managed to win against the weakest team in the Brazilian League so far: Atlético Goianiense. That vibe might help Internacional, but Figueirense aren’t slouches. They might pull a surprise but given the circumstances, I’d say Internacional’s form will improve.
20:30 – Wednesday 25 July, 2012 – Náutico x Coritiba
Náutico was sort of struggling when the season started, dividing last place with Atlético-GO, but now they managed to recover somehow and stands at 11th place in the league. Coritiba seems to be a bit hangover from their Brazilian Cup failure a few weeks ago, but they’re looking to shake it off, as they managed to pull a draw after going 2 goals behind Bahia away last round. But Náutico has been impressive in their home ground, so in the end of it, Coritiba won’t be recovering their mood right now.
20:30 – Wednesday 25 July, 2012 – Vasco x Botafogo
Here in Brazil, we have funny thing like derbies that don’t get to be played in primetime. That’s an example, as title contenders Vasco will be facing Botafogo, who’s been looking to erase their last performance against Grêmio which also marked Seedorf’s first game for Glorioso. Anything but a win would be a bad result for Vasco, as Atlético-MG has been in a very good start lately and don’t look to be tearing off. But this is a derby, and that’s why it is difficult to predict anything. Vasco might have an advantage, but Botafogo has motivation as well.
21:50 – Wednesday 25 July, 2012 – Corinthians x Cruzeiro
Copa Libertadores winners Corinthians have been looking to recover in the Brazilian League. They were in relegation zone a few rounds ago, but some wins and draws made they go up some positions. Still, they’re 16 points behind leaders Atlético-MG, so it’d be very difficult to challenge for the title if this wasn’t the Brazilian League we’re talking about. Meanwhile, Cruzeiro is coming from a win against Flamengo that also brought relief to Rubro-Negro fans as this result made Joel Santana take a boot at Mengão. They also want to maintain their form, as they’ve been rated to challenge for a Copa Libertadores spot; something pretty difficult when you’re not among the top 4 in the table. Corinthians wants to find their mood, Cruzeiro wants to keep it.
21:50 – Wednesday 25 July, 2012 – Grêmio x Fluminense
Grêmio had a good win last Sunday against a Botafogo team that was motivated by Seedorf’s presence on the pitch. Zé Roberto took all the praise by playing superbly, getting an assist for the only goal in the game. Fluminense, well… They were lucky enough to get a win against Ponte Preta after a very poor showing, and they’re minus Deco. When Deco isn’t on the pitch, Fluminense gets much easier to beat as his direct substitute, Wagner, hasn’t shown yet his value. Fluzão is also the only unbeaten team in the Brazilian League so far, but this must end, and I think that will end tomorrow.
21:50 – Wednesday 25 July, 2012 – Atlético-GO x São Paulo
An Atlético-GO win here would be a major upset, even though São Paulo doesn’t have Lucas Moura available – he’s with the Brazil’s Olympics squad – and Ney Franco was brought to coach the team a couple of weeks ago. That might happen; surprises have happened before with São Paulo this season, as the team hasn’t shown a performance to prove they’re the contenders everyone expected when the season began.
Edge: São Paulo
21:00 – Thursday 26 July, 2012 – Atlético-MG x Santos
Santos without Ganso and Neymar is an average team to say the least. It’s amazing how poor they look once their superstars aren’t on the field. Muricy Ramalho, Santos’s coach, already gave up on this season. I’d give up as well, as Neymar is projected to lose more than 10 games due to Brazil’s call-ups. Unfortunately for Santos, Atlético-MG don’t give a damn about it, and this might end badly for Peixe as Galo will look to maintain their 1st place at the table.
21:00 – Thursday 26 July, 2012 – Palmeiras x Bahia
Palmeiras was pretty good last game, beating Náutico 3-0 at Arena Barueri, which is slowly turning into their home ground. Bahia hasn’t looked so great after leading their game against Coritiba 2-0 before half-time, eventually letting Coxa draw the match. Also, Bahia fired Falcão from the coach position and haven’t found a true replacement so far. That might be pretty good for Palmeiras, even though rumors about Valdívia receiving proposals from Middle East teams are giving the team a bad vibe.
21:00 – Thursday 26 July, 2012 – Flamengo x Portuguesa
After Joel Santana got fired, Flamengo board was quick to look for a replacement in former Internacional coach Dorival Junior. Reports say that Dorival will be talking with the team tomorrow, and if everything is set he’d be announced at the same day. Portuguesa hasn’t been good so far, only winning 2 games after 11 goals and standing at relegation zone. Whether or not Flamengo goes to the game with or without a true head coach, it won’t matter; the edge wouldn’t change.