Atletico Mineiro vs Botafogo
Competition: Brazil Serie A
Date: 1 December 2018
Kick-off: 22:00 CET
Two days before kick-off, Atlético Mineiro announced that there was not a single ticket left. This may look like a cliché, but this game is really a final for the Belo Horizonte side. They are on 56 points, 6th in the table, earning the last Copa Libertadores ticket. Atlético Paranaense are two points behind them, and are visiting Flamengo. If Atlético Mineiro win, obviously, they finish 6th, they… save their season, as earning a Libertadores ticket was the minimum of their targets. If they draw and Atlético Paranaense beat Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro, the BH side will get left 7th, because they’ll have 16 wins each, but the Curitiba team will have a better overall goal difference in the championship. Atlético Mineiro will finish 6th even if they lose, as long as Atlético Paranaense don’t win at Maracana. To all these, it’s necessary to add an asterisk; Atlético Paranaense have qualified for the Copa Sudamericana final, where they will face Junior, from Barranquilla, Colombia. Even if Atlético Mineiro finish 7th, they will still play in the Libertadores – qualifiers – next season, as long as Atlético Paranaense win the Sudamericana.
Last weekend, 24-year-old center-forward Erik, on loan at Botafogo from Palmeiras until the end of the year, scored twice to give the Rio de Janeiro side all three points in their home game versus Paraná (2-1). Next day, he… left on vacation(!), he and five more players. Chilean attacking midfielder Leonardo Valencia is out due to cards, one of the six who are already on official vacation. The other five, Luis Ricardo, Dudu Cearense, Renatinho, Brenner and Erik, are about to run out of contract at Botafogo, and are not expected to renew them. Carli, Gilson, Aguirre, Jean, João Pedro, Rickson and Marcelo are unavailable because of injury problems, and defensive midfielder Rodrigo Lindoso is also out, having felt unwell these last days. Botafogo are 9th in the table, they can finish up to 8th, and no lower than 10th. No matter which one of the three positions they’ll occupy by the end of this weekend, next season they will play Copa Sudamericana football. They are expected to start with Gatito Fernández, Marcinho, Marcelo Benevenuto, Igor Rabello, Moisés, Matheus Fernandes, Gustavo Bochecha, Marcos Vinícius (he missed most of the season due to a serious injury), Luiz Fernando, Pimpão and Kieza.
Previous five matches:
Santos vs Atletico Mineiro 3-2
Internacional vs Atletico Mineiro 1-2
Atletico Mineiro vs Bahia 1-0
Parana vs Atletico Mineiro 0-1
Atletico Mineiro vs Palmeiras 1-1
Botafogo vs Parana 2-1
Santos vs Botafogo 1-1
Botafogo vs Internacional 1-0
Chapecoense vs Botafogo 0-1
Botafogo vs Flamengo 2-1
Both teams’ next official match will be around January 20.
Atletico Mineiro vs Botafogo: Head to head Stats
Three Atlético wins and two draws in the last five games between these two in Belo Horizonte.
Atletico Mineiro vs Botafogo: Prediction
If Atlético fail to win this game, especially if Atlético Paranaense, same time, beat Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro, it will be a… monumental “own-goal”.
Atletico Mineiro vs Botafogo: Betting Tips
Atlético’s win pays just 1.36. Botafogo traveled to BH without… more than 10 players, the stadium will be full-full-full, so I can see Atlético not just win, but… celebrate with the fans, scoring enough to push the game “over 2.5”. Their win combined with “over 2.5” pays 2.25.