Ponte Preta vs Cruzeiro
Competition: Brazilian Serie A
Date: 23 June 2017
Kick-off: 00:30 CET
Ponte Preta failed to score at Santos, as predicted here, but amazingly they managed to keep a clean sheet, despite conceding at least two goals in all their previous away games, and got away with a point. Coach Gilson Kleina ‘promised’ the team’s fans to see a much more consistent Ponte Preta now that the injured players, as well as those who were unfit to play due to poor physical condition, are coming back. Actually, this is the first time he is expected to field the same starting lineup in a second consecutive game. There will be one change, right-back Nino Paraiba served his one-game suspension and is back, but this change is not obligatory, and is only making Ponte Preta even stronger. Keep in mind, the Campinas side has three wins at home so far, in as many games, keeping two clean sheets as well, and scoring a total of eight goals.
Cruzeiro were considered by betting companies clear favorites to beat Gremio at home, but I backed the visitors to earn at least a point, and the game ended 3-3 indeed. Center-back Leo received his third yellow card of the season against Gremio, and is unavailable. The other… ‘unavailable’ at Cruzeiro, is actually their coach, Mano Menezes, who won’t be on the bench, or walking up and down in front of it. The former Brazil coach got sent off for complaining to the referee of the game versus Gremio, and will have to watch this match from the stands, or a booth specially reserved for him. Newly-signed striker Sassa could make a surprising debut in this game, despite the fact that a few days ago Menezes said he expected him to be fit in about two weeks. According to reports, Sassa has impressed in training, and could be given the chance to make his debut way sooner.
Ponte Preta vs Cruzeiro: Head-to-head Stats
Cruzeiro have three consecutive wins at Ponte Preta. Last time the hosts won was in 2012, and even before that, Cruzeiro had two more back-to-back wins in Campinas.
Ponte Preta vs Cruzeiro: Prediction
Ponte Preta have been impressive at home for several games now, while Cruzeiro have failed to score in their last three games on the road, have lost the last two matches, and generally have just one win in their last eight matches away from home. No wonder betting companies consider Ponte Preta have a slight advantage to pick up all three points. It should be noted though, Cruzeiro have conceded just three goals in their last five away games, and only up to one in any of those five, meaning that even when they lose, they still keep the game close until the end.
Ponte Preta vs Cruzeiro: Tips
‘Ponte Preta or draw’ is at just 1.42. Taking a leap of faith, I’m backing the hosts to win, at 2.50, and most probably keep a clean sheet as well, a combination that pays 4.33.