Palmeiras vs. Cuiaba

Palmeiras return to Allianz Parque with a narrow one-point lead atop the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A table as they prepare to host Cuiaba on Monday.

Palestra are winless in their two domestic fixtures this month, while the club from Mato Grosso have climbed their way out of relegation, winning back-to-back games.

Match preview

The Palmeiras campaign has been temporarily halted for the first time all season, with the league leaders failing to score in each of their previous two league games.

It may be the unusual amount of possession which is throwing them off, with over 60% of the ball in a defeat to Athletico Paranaense (2-0) and a draw versus Fortaleza (0-0), but they have not looked quite as comfortable attacking lately.

Verdao have not been short on chances as their quick counterattacking style continues to create problems for defensive lines. However, that final ball, along with their decision-making in the final third, has let them down, firing 12 shots on target in their last two league games, but failing to find the back of the net.

Over the past two and a half seasons under Abel Ferreira, this team have never gone without a goal in three straight domestic encounters, which is the situation they will be facing on Monday when they battle a side who have only collected two clean sheets away from home in league play this year.

Palestra are likely to be in a foul mood heading into this match after being eliminated in the Copa do Brasil earlier this week, losing to their biggest rivals Sao Paulo in a penalty shootout (4-3).

Holding onto a lead was uncharacteristically tricky for them in that encounter, as they were 20 minutes away from advancing into the quarter-finals, winning 2-1 but being tied on aggregate after losing the opening fixture (1-0), before falling in a shootout.

A new month has signalled a new beginning of sorts for Cuiaba, who have quickly got themselves out of the relegation zone in the span of a week.

As a solid central defender during his playing days, Antonio Oliveira knew a thing or two about holding a firm backline and being difficult to penetrate, and so far, the new boss at Dourado has been able to instil some newfound confidence defensively in this young team.

Winning their first road encounter in over a month to begin July seems to have provided them with a much-needed confidence boost, as this team have struggled away from home in 2022, losing four straight away matches in all competitions, before posting a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against Avai.

While it is a massive relief for Oliveira and his players to be above the relegation zone, Cuiaba are by no means out of the woods, in 13th place, just a point above Ceara for 17th and descent into Serie B.

In their inaugural campaign in the top-flight last season, this team were at their best when holding a solid defensive shape and only taking chances when they come.

Their attacking quality has not grown all that much since 2021, scoring the second-fewest goals (13) domestically this season after netting the fifth-fewest (34) in their previous campaign.

One of their most significant achievements in their inaugural top-flight campaign was blanking Palmeiras 2-0 away from home, and if they can do it again on Monday, it could put them in a Copa Sudamericana position next year, as they currently sit just a point behind that mark.

Team News

Joaquin Piquerez and Raphael Veiga scored for Palmeiras within the first 13 minutes of their second-leg tie against Sao Paulo at the Copa do Brasil, but it was a penalty miss from Veiga and Wesley which knocked them out of the competition.

Weverton is tied with Fabio and Everson for second in the league regarding clean sheets (seven), stopping six efforts in a goalless draw last Sunday, while Gustavo Scarpa is tied for first in Serie A with five assists and Rony currently sits fourth in the league with seven goals.

Rafael Navarro remains out of the lineup with a thigh injury, while the last goals they scored in league play at home came courtesy of Gustavo Scarpa, Ze Rafael and Gustavo Gomez (two) in a 4-2 win over Atletico Goianiense in the middle of June.

A pair of former Cuiaba players, Uillian Correia and Clayson, found the back of the net when they shocked Palestra in this exact fixture last year, while Walter stopped seven shots to preserve a clean sheet on that day.

Walter only had to make two saves to collect a shutout versus Botafogo last Sunday as he was aided by goals from Alesson and Andre Luis in a 2-0 triumph.

Andre Felipe is not expected to return to the lineup until late July because of a thigh issue, while Pepe could miss a few more weeks with a head injury.

Palmeiras possible starting lineup:
Weverton; Piqeurez, Luan, Gomez, Rocha; Danilo, Scarpa; Wesley, Ze Rafael, Atuesta; Rony

Cuiaba possible starting lineup:
Walter; Lucas, Marllon, Empereur, Uendel; Camilo; Alesson, Gava, Osorio, Valdivia; Elton

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