Goias v Palmeiras
Palmeiras had an opening day to forget at the weekend, as they suffered a shock defeat to Ceará in front of their home faithful. In truth, the result was a fair one, Palmeiras were still mentally in the changing room when the game kicked off and some counter-attacking brilliance from the away side caught the current South American champions cold. All the optimism built up in the State Championships and Libertadores had been zapped from them in just 13 minutes. A beautiful finish from Ze Rafael clawed Palmeiras back into the game. In the second half, Palmeiras dominated the ball and had the majority of the chances but after wasting a few glorious chances, Ceara’s resilient attack punished Palmeiras once again. Their poor opening day performance will have taught them several lessons, which will only benefit Palmeiras coming into the game here, they need to start the game with the correct attitude and if they do that, they should have no problems against a poor Goias side. A positive for Verdão from the weekend is that although they suffered defeat, they had the highest XG (2.94) of the weekend in the Brazilian Serie A. In midweek, Palmeiras put their demons behind them in an 8-1 thrashing of Independiente Petrolero, which saw forward Rafael Navarro find the net four times.
Goias started the season in horrendous fashion, a 3-0 battering at the hands of Coritiba, but the most worrying issue for Goias is not only did they leak several chances at goal, but they failed to register a single effort on target. If it wasn’t for Goalkeeper Tadeu, the scoreline could have been far worse. The defeat means it’s now four losses in a row for Goias in all competitions and even despite their loss on Sunday, Palmeiras should enjoy a comfortable afternoon away in Goiânia to get their first three points on the board.
Corinthians v Avai
Heading into the 2022 Brazilian Serie A campaign, Corinthians fans were in protest following disappointing performances in the Paulista State Championship and Vitor Pereira’s men went into their opening game against Botafogo under pressure. Goals from Paulinho, Gustavo Mantuan and Lucas Piton in the first half saw Corinthians lift the weight off their shoulders as they went in three goals to the good at the break. Taking their foot off the gas, Timão sat back in the second half and bar a late consolation penalty goal from Botafogo’s Diego Goncalves, it was a perfect away day for the side from São Paulo. Former Arsenal and Chelsea man, Willian put in a wonderful display, providing two assists for his teammates. He will be eager to do something similar here.
In order to keep the fans at bay, Corinthians must continue to perform. They are without a league title in five years and have seen their greatest rivals become champions of South America twice since. Their XG was the third highest in the Brazilian top-flight this weekend at (2.40). Taking on a newly promoted side again, they will expect to dominate in the shots department once again.
Avai took advantage of an ill-disciplined America Mineiro, at the weekend as they ran out 1-0 winners in front of their home fans, thanks to Raniele’s strike from the edge of the box. The task against Corinthians is going to be much tougher for Avai and it will take a monumental effort for them to get something out of the game.
The home side will hope not only to win but will also be eager to rack up a few goals in the process. Corinthians are unbeaten since 2011 against Avai. In the last meeting between the sides, back in 2019 Timão enjoyed a 3-0 win, something which could be on the cards here.
Cuiaba v Fluminense
Cuiaba upset the odds at the weekend to defeat last season’s surprise package Fortaleza at the Arena Castelão. A wonderful strike from Gremio loanee, Everton Cardoso da Silva was enough to give the side from Mato Grosso all three points. The early goal from Cuiaba saw them drop off and soak up pressure. This benefited them as centre-backs Marllon and Alan Empereur put in a solid defensive display to keep Fortaleza at bay. The North-eastern side could only manage five of their 22 shots on target and the chances they did have at goal were well matched by Walter between the sticks.
Their opponents this weekend, Fluminense, were left frustrated by a weak Santos side on the opening day and will be hoping for a better display in front of the goal. Flu had an XG of (2.08), and their two biggest chances fell to German Cano, who was unable to capitalize on his State Championship goal scoring form. On the defensive side of things, their back three of Nino, Manoel and David Braz limited Santos to just three attempts on goal.
Both Cuiaba and Fluminense are defensive-minded, and they try to play a cautious game rather than going all-out attack. The first goal of this game will be important because whichever way it goes will see them try to protect the lead rather than go for a second goal.
In the meetings last year, Fluminense enjoyed a 1-0 victory on home soil and in the match in Cuiaba, the two sides played out a 2-2 draw, where both sides were at their clinical best in front of goal.
This time around with defensive-minded coach Abel Braga in charge of Fluminense and the game being so early in the season, there will be a more cautious approach to the game, which will lead to limited chances and fewer goals.
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