Vasco da Gama vs Bahia
Competition: Copa do Brasil
Date: 17 July 2018
Kick-off: 01:00 CET
Vasco da Gama’s mission in this Copa do Brasil round of 16 return leg looks almost impossible, given that they have lost 3-0 in Salvador da Bahia over two months ago. Even so, Vasco’s fans didn’t get deterred, and made sure to snap up all tickets available, forming endless lines the first day they became available (for those who are not members of the club. The members had/have priority, and could buy their tickets online in advance). The São Januário side have come back from similarly tough positions in the past, in the same competition, but even so, a 3-0 is the very definition of “a mountain to climb”. Actually, Vasco have an impressive record as hosts in the Copa do Brasil, not having lost any of their last 33 matches, an undefeated run that started over 11 years ago(!). Jorginho, Vasco’s coach, took over early June, before the World Cup finals break, but it’s now that we can expect to see “his” team, now that he has had the chance to work with the players for some weeks. On another note, the Rio de Janeiro side signed 34-year-old Argentinian striker Maxi López, who was expected to arrive in Rio a few hours before this game, for his official presentation.
While the rest of the Série A teams in Brazil were focused on training these last weeks, during the World Cup finals break, Bahia played four big matches; two Copa do Nordeste semifinals against Ceará, and then two finals against Sampaio Corrêa. They lost 1-0 in the first leg, but were still expected to lift the trophy at home in the return leg. It didn’t happen. They got stuck to a goalless draw, making their president attend a Press conference and “officially” apologize to the fans for the team’s failure. The only positive that came out of that goalless draw against Sampaio Corrêa was that Edigar Junio returned to action. The 27-year-old center-forward missed no less than 18(!) matches due to injury, but is finally back. It was obvious he wasn’t in good form, he was the first one to admit it, but there is no doubt that with him (healthy and fit) in the lineup, Bahia are a very different team. Detail: in the four games the Salvador side played these last weeks in the Copa do Nordeste, they scored only one goal, and conceded just one goal as well.
Previous five matches:
Internacional vs Vasco da Gama 3-1
Vasco da Gama vs Sport Recife 3-2
Cruzeiro vs Vasco da Gama 1-1
Vasco da Gama vs Botafogo 1-2
Vasco da Gama vs Parana 1-0
Bahia vs Sampaio Corrêa 0-0
Sampaio Corrêa vs Bahia 1-0
Bahia vs Ceara 0-0
Ceara vs Bahia 0-1
Bahia vs Corinthians 1-0
Vasco’s next game is on Thursday, again at home, versus Fluminense. Same day, Bahia will be visiting Chapecoense (both Brazil Série A matches).
Vasco da Gama vs Bahia: Head to head Stats
Vasco have won the last two games as hosts to Bahia, 2-1 last season in the Série A, and 4-3 two years ago (Série B). Before that, the visitors had managed a victory and two draws at São Januário.
Vasco da Gama vs Bahia: Prediction
Remember, the away-goal rule doesn’t apply this season in the Copa do Brasil, if the game ends… 4-1, we’ll have penalties (no extra-time). Actually, Vasco’s players took several penalties in their last two training sessions, just in case… The stadium will be full, and I expect the hosts to look super enthusiastic. I will be very surprised if they don’t score and win, but I seriously-seriously doubt they will go all the way and eliminate Bahia.
Vasco da Gama vs Bahia: Betting Tips
Vasco’s win pays 1.90. I’m staying with that, considering it decent enough to avoid risking further with special bets, in what is a… “particular” game, a return leg of a 3-0.