Santos’ quest to qualify for the 2021 Copa Libertadores continues on Wednesday as they travel to face Cuca in the Brazilian Serie A (7pm kick-off UK time).
Cuca’s side are currently 11th in the table, eights points off the final Copa Libertadores qualification spot. Gremio meanwhile are seventh.
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Where to watch Gremio vs Santos on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: Premiere
Scoreline prediction: Gremio 2-1 Santos
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Gremio vs Santos build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Gremio may currently be seven points clear of the chasing pack in the final Copa Libertadores qualification spot, but Renato Gaucho’s are hanging onto it by a thread after a poor run of form. The Imortal Tricolor played seven games in January, all coming in the league, but have managed just one win – in their opening match of the year.
Since beating EC Bahia 2-1, Gremio have drawn four and lost two, including a 4-2 defeat to Flamengo in their most recent home match. Gremio are also the league’s draw specialists, with a stunning 16 stalemates across the campaign so far, just under half of their games played.
While Gremio were playing in the league at the weekend, Santos’ focus was on the Copa Libertadores final against Palmeiras. Given their place down in 11th in the table, with six games remaining, winning the competition was Santos’ best chance of qualifying for 2021’s Copa Libertadores. But it was late heartbreak for Cuca’s men, going down 1-0 to a goal in the ninth minute of injury-time.
But now they must recuperate and look to close the gap on Gremio knowing that only a win will be enough to keep their slim Copa Libertadores hopes alive. Santos are without a win in three games in the league, though their line-ups in recent weeks were favoured to resting for the Copa Libertadores final at the weekend.
- Gremio (vs Coritiba): Paulo Victor; Vanderson, Paulo Miranda, David Braz, Bruno Cortez; Darlan, Thaciano; Alisson, Jean Pyerre, Ferreira; Isaque.
- Santos (vs Palmeiras): John; Para, Verissimo, Luan Peres, Felipe Jonatan; Alison; Marinho, Diego Pituca, Sandry, Soteldo; Kaio Jorge.
Gremio will be able to call upon Matheus Henrique who missed the game against Coritiba through suspension, but Leonardo Gomes and Geromel are both expected to miss out. Having fielded weakened sides in recent weeks, Cuca could rely on a full-strength XI to get the league campaign back on track.
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Player to watch: Marinho (Santos)
It was disappointment for Santos at the weekend but there is no time for moping, unless Cuca and his men are content with the Copa Sudamericana for 2021. If they do go full strength this week, Marinho could be the man to close the gap on Gremio.
The 30-year-old is the league’s joint-top scorer this season with 16 goals, but he has also added six assists, proving himself to be a threat whenever he is on the ball. Although he was on the losing side at the weekend, Marinho did end the night with a trophy, picking up the Copa Libertadores’ Best Player award which should only act as motivation for him to drag Santos back into the 2021 competition.
Brazilian Serie A 2020/21 recent form:
- Gremio: DDLLD
- Santos: WWLLL
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