Friday’s Brazilian Serie A derby action sees Fluminense doing battle with arch enemy Flamengo. Although Fluminense are listed as the home team, it’s Flamengo who will have more of the support, with the match having being moved from Rio de Janeiro to the Estádio Nacional de Brasília.
That’s a big blow for Fluminense, who have essentially resigned home advantage for commercial gain. Abel Braga’s troops had made a decent start to the new campaign but with a thin squad, are expected to struggle in their current packed schedule, something that became apparent when they lost at newly promoted Parana earlier on in the week; representing their opponent’s first win of the campaign.
Still standing 9th after taking 14 points from the opening 9 games, all is not lost for Fluminense and they’re still in a decent enough position, but it’s not going to get any easier for the tired squad with three more games to come prior to the World Cup beginning.
Add that to the fact it’s Flamengo they’re up against, and you do start to fear for the side. Flamengo arrive in sublime condition under Maurício Barbieri. He has brought some rare stability to the club since coming in and after a 1-0 win over Corinthians at the weekend, has now lost just 1 of his 15 games in charge.
That win has left Mengao top of the pile with a 4 point lead and even more impressively means they’ve now kept 11 clean sheets in their last 13 matches. Flamengo have been by far the most consistent side in the league so far this season and have a huge amount of momentum behind them coming into this derby clash, winning 7 of their last 11 outings.
Flamengo have always had talented players in their ranks but Barbieri has helped them gel as a cohesive unit and they are really flying at the moment. Such strong defensive foundations has them looking unbeatable going into almost every fixture and it’s certainly no different this time around.
We expect Fluminense to struggle, with little room for rotation and arriving off the back of their worst showing of the season. The venue change has essentially made this a home game for Flamengo and we’re more than happy to back them to claim the 3 points as a result, with a 1-0 margin of victory on the cards.
Fluminense possible starting XI: Cesar; Gilberto, Chaves, Gum, Peres, Marlon; Richard, Jadson, Sornoza; Dyego, Junior
Flamengo possible starting XI: Alves; Rodinei, Rhodolfo, Duarte, Rene; Cuellar, Everton, Paqueta, Diego, Vinicius Jnr; Vizeu.
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The sides have already met twice earlier on in the year, with Fluminense winning once and one game ending in a draw. In November, Flamengo knocked Fluminense out of the Copa Sudamerica whilst both of last season’s league games ended in draws.
Key forward Pedro remains sidelined alongside Ayrton Lucas and Marquinhos Calazans.
Centre backs Rever and Juan join right back Para and forwards Orlando Berrio and Geuvanio on the sidelines.