Atletico Mineiro v America Mineiro
This will be the second time this week that Atletico Mineiro and America Mineiro will battle it out, in what promises to be another exciting inner-city battle. On Tuesday evening, the pair met in the Copa Libertadores, the first match between the sides in the competition was a 0-0 draw on the second match week. This time around, it was a vastly different story. Some wonderful play by Hulk to play in Guilherme Arana saw Galo take the lead inside 15 minutes. Then, Arana would turn provider for Ignacio Fernández who fired home to give the away side a 2-0 lead. America pulled one back just before half-time through centre-back German Conti. In the second half, it was Atletico who were the most likely to score, Ademir, Zaracho and Keno all had chances to extend Atletico’s lead but failed to do so. Galo didn’t mind though as they came away victorious in a 2-1 victory.
Atletico’s league form has been patchy of late… after a 2-2 draw against Coritiba, the Champions took on Goias last week and despite being away from home, they were expected to pick up the three points against an out of form side. After some resilient defending by the Goias backline, Hulk finally managed to find a way past Tadeu with a lovely finish to put Atletico in front just before the halftime break. Moments later, Elvis whipped in a beautiful cross for Apodi who headed home to put the sides back on level terms. They were only level for three minutes as Eduardo Vargas put Galo back in front with a header of his own. It looked like Galo were going to claim the three points but after a VAR review Goias were awarded a penalty, which Elvis slotted home confidently to ensure they picked up a point. Atletico will be eager to bounce back here, in a fixture they love playing in, they are unbeaten in their last 21 games against America and will be confident of extending that run further here.
America’s last league outing saw them enjoy a 1-0 victory at home against Athletico Paranaense. America had an XG of (0.69) compared to Atletico’s (1.44), in this game, with the quality Atletico have upfront, America are more likely to be punished if they allow similar chances in this game.
Flamengo v Botafogo
The Maracanã is currently undergoing some maintenance work at the moment, meaning the battle between Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo and Botafogo will be played in the Brazilian capital, at the Estádio Mané Garrincha at the request of Flamengo.
Flamengo were not in league action last weekend, instead, they took on AE Altos in the Copa do Brasil, running out 2-1 winners away from home. After a goalless first half, Manoel put the home side 1-0 up, which woke a mixed Flamengo side up as they managed to turn the game around, thanks to goals from Pedro and Joao Gomes. Then, in midweek, Flamengo travelled to Argentina to take on Talleres Cordoba in the Copa Libertadores. Wilian Arão opened the scoring, but not how he would have wanted as his own goal saw the Argentine side take the lead. The Brazilians hit back straight after the restart when Giorgian De Arrascaeta rifled home from distance with a stunning effort… Moments later, Talleres were back in front thanks to Michael Santos. Pedro was brought on and made an instant impact, a lovely touch and dink over the rushing Guido Herrera ensured Flamengo didn’t leave Córdoba empty-handed.
Hoping to cause an upset at the weekend are bitter rivals Botafogo who will be aiming to take advantage of any fatigue Flamengo may have following their battle in midweek. Their last league outing saw them host Juventude and some clever play by Paraguayan Isidro Pitta put Juve a goal up. With seven minutes of normal time remaining, Matheus Nascimento shot hit the hand of Paulo Miranda which saw the referee point to the spot and offered Botafogo a way back into the game. Diego Goncalves calmly slotted the ball into the net and the points were shared.
Flamengo are unbeaten in their last eight matches against Botafogo and have won their last three, they will be fully confident of extending that run further here.
Atletico Goianiense v Goias
One of several inner-state encounters in the Brazilian Serie A this week sees the battle of Goiânia as Atlético Goianiense host Goias.
Atletico GO have had a relatively poor start to their league campaign, they are yet to win, but have only lost once and drawn three times, all of them coming by a 1-1 scoreline. Last time out in the league, they took on Cuiaba away from home. Jorginho put Atletico ahead just before halftime. In the second half, Cuiaba had the better chances, Marllon wasted a huge opportunity for Cuiaba before Rodriguinho’s headed goal meant Atletico had to settle for a point. Umberto Louzer’s men didn’t play as well as they would have wanted and couldn’t have any complaints about the result. On Wednesday evening, in the Copa Sudamericana against Argentine side, Defensa y Justicia, Atletico GO were much more like themselves, goals from Marlon Freiras, Shaylon and an own goal from Defensa keeper Ezequiel Unsain, saw Atletico race into a three-goal lead. Despite a late onslaught from Defensa, Dragão hung on for an important 3-2 victory, which will give them a huge confidence boost coming into this game.
Unlike their opponents, Goias have had extra time to prepare for this one due to not having a fixture midweek. Their last league outing saw them put in a resilient display to earn a 2-2 draw with Champions Atletico Mineiro. Despite falling behind twice, Apodi and Elvis stepped up to ensure they earned what could turn out to be an important point.
When the sides met back in April in a two-legged affair in the Campeonato Goiano final, it was Atletico who came out triumphant. At home, they won 1-0 and a week later they enjoyed a 3-1 rout of their rivals in their own backyard. Dragão are unbeaten in their last five games against Goias and with Esmeraldino conceding more goals than anyone else in the league away from home, the hosts will be confident of extending their unbeaten run against their bitter rivals.
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