Botafogo vs Ponte Preta
Competition: Brazilian Serie A
Date: 21 May 2017
Kick-off: 23:00 CET
Botafogo lost 2-0 at Gremio last weekend, but what matters the most is that on Thursday they beat Atletico Nacional 1-0 at home, and qualified for the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores. Attacking midfielder Walter Montillo was about to return to action last week, but he didn’t feel well during a training match against a smaller team, and it looks like Botafogo will not rush his return. At the Rio de Janeiro club they say that the reason he got injured twice in just a few months (he has missed most games since the start of the season, in January), is that last year he played in China, and football in Brazil is very different, much more physically demanding, something the Argentine couldn’t cope with, after spending time in China. Center-back Emerson Silva is another player whose return will not be hurried at Botafogo, fearing that if they do so, they may risk losing him again for a much longer time.
Ponte Preta were great last weekend at home against Sport Recife, I expected them to win and keep a clean sheet, 2-0 was the maximum I thought they would reach, but actually they… outdid themselves, scoring twice in the last 15 minutes to finish the game with a resounding 4-0 win. A huge difference between that game and this one, is that Clayson is gone. The 22-year-old striker signed for Corinthians a couple of days ago. His two goals in the last 15 minutes against Sport Recife were his last ones for Ponte Preta. The team are left with just three strikers who are fit to play, Lucca, who will be in the starting lineup, Lins and Yuri, one of whom is going to join Lucca in the first eleven. Ponte Preta signed two players this last week, but they definitely need to do something to strengthen their attack, now that Clayson is gone, as well as William Pottker, who moved to Internacional (sadly in the Serie B this season, the wrong category for a historic and huge club like Porto Alegre’s Inter).
Botafogo vs Ponte Preta: Head-to-head Stats
Botafogo and Ponte Preta drew 1-1 last season. Before that, Ponte Preta spent two years in Serie B. Interestingly, before being relegated, they had two wins in a row at Botafogo.
Botafogo vs Ponte Preta: Prediction
Botafogo played a huge game on Thursday, something that could play its role. Ponte Preta had a full week to prepare for this match, but they lost Clayson, their young striker on whom they could count on for goals. Combining Botafogo’s fatigue and Ponte Preta’s loss of Clayson, I’m leaning towards a draw.
Botafogo vs Ponte Preta: Tips
‘Draw or Ponte Preta’ is at 1.83, and is my main tip on this match. Botafogo are considered clear favorites to win, but after playing a huge game less than 72 hours earlier, I have my doubts they will look combat-ready for the full 90 minutes. Between draw and Ponte Preta, I feel draw is more probable, at 3.20. For maximum potential earnings I would bet on draw and under 2.5 goals, tempted by the 3.75 it comes with.