Thursday evening (midnight UK), Palmeiras and São Paulo square off in a second Copa do Brasil Round of 16 Choque-Rei (King’s Clash). Palmeiras will be desperate to put forth a stronger performance in front of their home fans, after São Paulo emerged from the first leg with a narrow 1-0 edge.
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Where to watch Palmeiras vs Sao Paulo on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: Fox (FOX Sports App, Fox Sports 2, Foxsports.com)
On Thursday night, two of the biggest clubs in São Paulo – São Paulo FC and Palmeiras – square off on the pitch for the third time in a little over three weeks.
The first of these meetings came on 20 June, in Serie A, Brazil’s top tier, and took place at São Paulo’s home ground, the Estádio do Morumbi. The home side took an early lead after midfielder Patrick struck in the 17th minute. São Paulo held that lead past the 90-minute mark, but ultimately came up short, as goals from Gustavo Gomez and Murilo Cerqueira, in the 91st and 96th minutes, respectively, allowed top-of-the-table Palmeiras to escape with a shocking win.
Three days later, the sides met again, on the same pitch, in the Copa do Brasil’s Round of 16. As he had earlier in the week, Patrick staked São Paulo to a first lead, this time with a goal in the 31st minute. This time the home side saw that their lone goal held up not just through 90 minutes, but until the final whistle.
In the weeks since that 1-0 victory, São Paulo, who currently sit seventh in Brazil’s Serie A, have not been beaten. They’ve managed two draws and a win in the league, and a pair of victories over Chilean side Universidad Católica to advance to the quarterfinals of the Copa Sudamericana.
It’s worth noting that the first of those wins was a positively crazy affair. In that first leg in Santiago, São Paulo had just 29% possession, were outshot (17-9) and outshot on goal (7-5), surrendered 14 free kicks and eight corner kicks, and completed fewer than third as many passes as their hosts – yet somehow led 3-0 inside of 40 minutes. In the second half, despite having three men sent off (two by the 73rd minute), held on for a 4-2 win. It must be said that the sailing has been smoother in their three outings since, in which they’ve allowed just two goals and earned zero sendings off. During that run they’ve taken four of a possible six points in the league and dispatched of Universidad Católica in their home leg, in a far more businesslike and disciplined manner, 4-1.
Palmeiras, meanwhile, have not fared nearly as well – domestically, at least. Though they still sit atop the Serie A table, since that first leg defeat, Palmeiras have drawn with 16th-placed Avai and bottom-of-the-table Fortaleza, and suffered a 2-0 defeat at home at the hands of Athletico Paranaense. If there is a positive to be drawn for Palmeiras from the last couple of weeks of action, it’s in the Copa Libertadores, where they dispatched of Paraguayan side Cerro Porteño 8-0 over two legs to advance to the quarterfinals of the competition, where they’ll take on fellow Brazilian side, Atletico Mineiro.
Now, the sides meet again, for a third Choque-Rei Derby in 23 days. This will be the first played on Palmeiras’ pitch at Allianz Parque. The home side will have to quickly shake off their inexplicable loss of domestic form if they, and not their crosstown rivals, are to represent half of another all São Paulo clash in the quarterfinals, against Corinthians.
As the highest scoring (27) and defensively stingiest (12) side in Brazil’s Serie A, they are certainly capable. However, in recent weeks, São Paulo have shown themselves – domestically and in continental competition, in league or knockout play – to be up to the task.
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