Mineiro firepower should decide Brazilian showdown
Brazilian Cup, 11.45pm
Free-scoring Atletico Mineiro have turned Estadio Independencia into a fortress this season – winning 14 of their last 16 matches in all competitions – and they are taken to build on their 2-1 Copa do Brazil lead in Wednesday night’s semi-final second-leg encounter with Internacional.
Goals from Romulo Otero and Lucas Pratto have placed Mineiro in the driving seat and manager Marcelo Oliveira will be hoping they can regain the trophy they won so brilliantly two years ago.
The hosts have been in blistering form in Belo Horizonte this season too, with their last defeat coming at the hands of Cruzeiro – who travel to Gremio in tonight’s other semi-final – back in June.
Their run of 16 matches unbeaten includes a 3-1 Serie A victory over Internacional in September and if in the same mood it’s difficult to see roles being reversed this evening.
Mineiro possess the most powerful attack in the Brazilian top flight having registered 56 goals this term and they should get plenty of chances to bolster that number against an Internacional side short on confidence.
Former Manchester City and Real Madrid frontman Robinho, who has scored 12 goals from 25 appearances, brings a touch of class to the their ranks.
However, the hosts’ attacking approach often leaves them vulnerable defensively and the 42 goals they have shipped this term is more than any other side in the top half.
Internacional – who are only two points clear of the Serie A relegation zone – have struggled to make an impact on the road this term, failing to win in their last 14 matches.
However, they dominated possession, the shots count and forced 11 corners in last week’s first-leg defeat and can at least make a game of it.
Plenty of goals are expected but Mineiro’s firepower may prove decisive.
Atletico Mineiro to win and over 2.5 goals
1pt 29-20 Hills