Fluminense vs Atletico Paranaense
Competition: Copa Sudamericana
Date: 29 November 2018
Kick-off: 00:45 CET
Fluminense are with their back against the wall, and I’m not referring that much to this return leg of their Copa Sudamericana semifinal. Sure, losing 2-0 in Curitiba in the first leg has left them with a mountain to climb, but it gets worse; last weekend they lost 2-0 at Internacional, and got stuck to 42 points in their championship, in Brazil. The coming weekend they are hosting América Mineiro, who are on 40 points, the first team below the relegation line. If Fluminense lose on Sunday, if Vasco earn a point at Ceará (who have already avoided relegation, mathematically), and Chapecoense beat Sao Paulo at home, Flu will get relegated(!). It’s three “if”, not one, not two, but all three have real chances of happening. What makes Fluminense’s situation even more critical, is that they haven’t scored in seven matches! It feels… surreal, but it’s true, they have completed seven games in a row without scoring a single goal. It’s this team that needs at least two goals (and a clean sheet) to have any chance of reaching the Sudamericana final… When they returned to Rio de Janeiro from Porto Alegre last weekend, police made sure the team disembarked on the airport runway, and put on a bus that left the airport under strong escort, to avoid potential problems with… angry fans. The only good news is that goalkeeper Júlio César and center-back (and captain) Gum trained properly on Monday, leaving behind them some injury problems. Both are expected to start.
Anything can happen in a football game, but really, if Atlético Paranaense “manage” to get eliminated by this Fluminense, it will be a failure of… monumental proportions. Atlético have the advantage of their 2-0 win at home, in the first leg. Plus, they haven’t lost in their last six matches, and have lost just twice in their last 14. One of those two defeats actually, didn’t hurt them, as they still qualified (over Bahia, in the Copa Sudamericana. They have all their key players available, another plus. The only thing they have going against them right now, is that they know they shot their own foot last weekend, getting equalized by Ceará in the 83rd minute, at home (2-2). If they had protected their 2-1 lead, now they would be 6th in the Serie A table, earning the last Copa Libertadores ticket, something though they can still do the coming weekend, on the last day of the season, as well as through the Copa Sudamericana (if they win it). As previously mentioned, Tiago Nunes has all his key players at his disposal.
Previous five matches:
Internacional vs Fluminense 2-0
Bahia vs Fluminense 2-0
Fluminense vs Ceara 0-0
Palmeiras vs Fluminense 3-0
Fluminense vs Sport Recife 0-0
Atletico Paranaense vs Ceara 2-2
Atletico Paranaense vs Corinthians 1-0
Vitoria vs Atletico Paranaense 1-2
Vasco da Gama vs Atletico Paranaense 1-1
Atletico Paranaense vs Cruzeiro 2-0
Fluminense’s next game is on Sunday, again at home, versus América Mineiro. Same day, Atlético will be visiting Flamengo (both Brazil Serie A matches).
Fluminense vs Atletico Paranaense: Head to head Stats
Two wins for Fluminense, one for Atlético, and two draws, in the last five games between these two in Rio de Janeiro.
Fluminense vs Atletico Paranaense: Prediction
Flu are considered slight favorites to win the game, but I don’t believe in them. I’m backing Atlético not to lose the game, and deep down I expect them to win, no matter if they don’t need to.
Fluminense vs Atletico Paranaense: Betting Tips
Atlético’s win in “draw no bet” is at 2.20, and their double chance at 1.57.