It’s derby day in the Brazilian Serie A on Thursday evening, as rivals Flamengo and Fluminense clash in the famous Maracanã stadium.
Flamengo arrive with morale very low, both on the field and in the stands. It’s been a disastrous campaign for Mengão, who came into the season as one of the title favourites having spent huge amounts, but the side simply haven’t lived up to expectations.
The side lost the Brazilian Cup final at the end of last month on penalties, and followed said disappointment up with a league defeat at Ponte Preta, leaving them at real risk of missing out on the Copa Libertadores next season. Reinaldo Rueda’s men currently lie outside of the top 6 spots, and could really do with picking up the three points as they look to salvage something from what is left to play for.
Fluminense, meanwhile, find themselves in even greater trouble, with just 1 point collected from the last 5 league games seeing them dragged into a relegation dogfight. Abel Braga’s men currently sit just 1 point, and one place above the drop zone, and if things don’t improve swiftly, the side could well find themselves playing Serie B football next year.
Flu have, rather uncharacteristically, failed to score in their last two outings, with attacking output otherwise strong, having plunged in an average of 1.30 goals a game, making them the league’s joint 4th most potent outfit. It’s at the other end where the team typically tend to struggle, with their goals conceded average an even bigger 1.38 and having failed to keep a clean sheet in 6 league games.
The two sides need to improve and fast, with pressure mounting on both managers and both seasons beginning to shape up as monumental failures. Neither team arrives in good form, and confidence is very low in both camps, but given the magnitude present in such a derby, we should see performance levels rise in each team.
This is a fixture that typically only means one thing; goals. 6 of the last 7 meetings between the two have seen goals at both ends, with an average of 3.14 scored in the process, and given the desperate need each outfit has for 3 points, great value looks to be found in backing both nets to be hit.
As for the result itself, Flamengo look the more likely winners, with their malaise far less concerning than that of Fluminense, and taking into account that Mengão are 6 matches unbeaten against their rivals, backing a 2-1 Flamengo win also doesn’t look a bad idea.
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