Palmeiras v Botafogo
This will be the first time Palmeiras host Botafogo for the first time since January 2021. On that occasion, goals from Emerson Santos and Rafael Navarro meant the game finished all square.
On Tuesday evening, Corinthians suffered a 1-0 defeat to Cuiaba meaning Verdão can return to the top of the league with a victory here.
Palmeiras are expected to have the return of Danilo and Weverton, who have recently been on international duty with Brazil. They will still, however, be without defenders Gustavo Gomez and Benjamin Kusevic who both still have national team commitments with Paraguay and Chile. Another blow for the hosts’ is that Raphael Veiga will also miss out after picking up an injury last time out.
On Sunday evening, Palmeiras and Atletico Mineiro went head-to-head in a top of the table clash at Allianz Parque. With both sides not wanting to lose, a subdued affair followed as no one could find a breakthrough, meaning the points were shared. Palmeiras created the better chances throughout the 90 minutes, racking up an XG of 1.27 compared to Galo’s 0.48. Abel Ferreira’s men are unbeaten in their last fifteen matches, which has seen them win eleven during this period.
Botafogo had a bright start to life back in the topflight, but their form has stagnated in recent weeks. After a 1-1 draw with America Mineiro and a 1-0 loss to Coritiba, the side from Rio took on Goias on Monday evening. Botafogo took the lead in the first half thanks to a header from Victor Cuesta just before half-time. Despite dominating in the second half, Fogo failed to double their lead, instead, a brace from Pedro Raul saw Goias steal the points, leaving Luis Castro’s boys stunned.
With Palmeiras being at home and Botafogo not being at their best of late, they will feel confident about extending their unbeaten run further with a victory here.
Fortaleza v Goias
Fortaleza take on Goias in the magnificent Estádio Castelão in North-eastern Brazil on Thursday evening. Both clubs come into the game on the back of impressive wins, which will give both sides the confidence that they can pick up the points here.
Despite missing several key players, Fortaleza finally picked up their first league win of 2022 with a 2-1 victory away from home against giants Flamengo, thanks to a late winner from 21-year-old midfielder Hercules. Fortaleza had been performing well enough to win games, but failure to take their numerous goalscoring opportunities cost them. The victory relieves some of the pressure on their shoulders, which should give them a boost in this game. They even bettered Flamengo’s XG of 1.70 with a 2.18 XG, showing they were worthy winners.
Fortaleza will have the return of Felipe, Lucas Lima and Ceballos who all missed the victory over Flamengo due to suspension. They do have some injury doubts however in; Matheus Vargas, Tinga, Depietri and Renato Kayzer.
Goias come into this game in great form, they are unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions, which has seen them win two out of three in this period. Last time out, they enjoyed a 2-1 victory over Botafogo away from home. Despite Botafogo having the majority of the ball, Goias limited them to an XG of 0.63 compared to their impressive 2.73. They will come into this game confident that they can make it four unbeaten and rise up the table. With an average possession of 44.98%, Goias will look to soak up pressure and hit Fortaleza on the counter.
Goias were dealt a major blow in midweek when news confirmed striker Matheusinho will no longer play in 2022 after suffering a knee injury. For the short term, Elvis and Caio Vinicius are ruled out here, with Nicolas and Apodi injury doubts and unlikely to feature.
With the Goias squad depleted, Fortaleza will look to punish Goias as they attempt to win a second league game in a row, the crowd will be pumped up which should give them the edge in this game.
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