Fortaleza hosts Athletico Paranaense in the first leg of Copa do Brasil 1/8 finals. The match will be played on Friday, May 17th at Castelao (Fortaleza)
Fortaleza is the last year's champion of Serie B. In the elite start, Palmeiras hammered the debutant, smashing it with a landslide score (4: 0). However, this did not prevent the team from bracing itself and earning the first 3 points in the next round: Fortaleza beat Atletico Paranaense (2: 1). Of course, the best team of the lower division will find it hard to play in Serie A, but still, Fortaleza won the state championship, leaving no chance for Ceara, which gained a foothold in Serie A. Juninho did not help Fortaleza in the quarterfinals of Nordestao, but the team beat Santa Cruz (1: 0) and advanced to the semifinals. After that, Fortaleza did not win in the top division, and it annoys the coach Ceni. His team starts a 10-day marathon with 4 matches. After losing to Botafogo (1: 0) and Sao Paulo (0: 1), the manager is afraid to fall into the relegation zone if he loses to Chapeco in 3 days. After the voyage to Santa Catarina, Fortaleza will take Pernambuco's Botafogo on the hosts in the Nordestao semifinal, and the chances of a final are high. This segment is crowned by the home match in Serie A, where Fortaleza is obliged to beat the problematic Vasco.
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All 3 directions are important for the team, but will it cope with the distribution of forces? Juninho, who is registered in the other team for the cup, will not help Fortaleza. The Lion managed to beat Curitibans without him, but now the coach will remain without the striker Paulista and his substitute Kieza. Obviously, trying to kill three birds with one stone can be disastrous for Fortaleza. I think that the priority of the team is to reach the final of Nordestao and to save a place in the elite. They'll have to sacrifice the cup. Talented Nunes won the Paranaense Championship with a reserve squad, preparing the first eleven for the group stage of Copa Libertadores and for Serie A. The start of Athletico can be considered good, despite the lost away matches. However, Athlético is second to none at home - for was it was worth the 3:0 victory over the Argentinean Boca Juniors. In Serie A's debut home match, Furacao simply smashed poor Vasco (4: 1).
The away lost of Athletico to Fortaleza can be explained by a bit of bad luck, but the last year's trend of failure in away matches remained relevant. On the eve of the second leg with Boca, the coach used the reserve in the away game with Chapecoence and did not lose (1: 1). The fact that the Red and Blacks broke the ice at Bombonera is above all praise, but the pouring rain in the second half tarnished the Brazilians' reputation. And though Tevez's goal in the 96th minute blessed the hosts (2: 1), Nunes is not ashamed of his players, who responded with a victory in the local championship over Bahia (1:0). The calendar of upcoming visitors is easier than that of Fortaleza. They will have a longer break before the cup match, so Nunes will sacrifice a Sunday game with Corinthians. The regular squad of Athletico is ready to take revenge for the first loss at Castelao. Nunes promised to field the strongest squad, and fans of the home team compared Athletico with a tropical downpour that could collapse and wipe their idols off the path. Rotations of Seni imply the appearance of Nathan and Tinga in the defense, and Felipe and Araruna will play in the midfield instead of Juninho. This squad reminds that one that lost the meeting with Palmeiras. Of course, the field factor will help Fortaleza. Insisting on ball possession, Athletico will take the initiative, and the diminished attack of the hosts will have chances to score. Athletico conceded goals in each of the 6 last away matches, but the quality of the squad should bring results.
Prediction for the match: Athletico-PR to win with +0.5 handicap and Both teams to score – yes