After their Copa Libertadores semi-final triumph, Santos’ focus must return to the Brazilian Serie A when they host Botafogo on Sunday (7pm kick-off, UK time).
Santos earned their place in the Copa Libertadores final at the end of the month with a crushing 3-0 win over Boca Juniors, but their Brazilian Serie A campaign hasn’t been as fruitful.
Where to watch Santos vs Botafogo on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: Premiere
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Scoreline prediction: Santos 3-0 Botafogo
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Santos vs Botafogo build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Santos are currently ninth in the league after 28 games, six points off the Copa Libertadores qualification places and 14 behind leaders Sao Paulo whom they beat last weekend. That 1-0 victory ended Santos’ four-game winless run which had seen them drop from sixth, though they had been focussing all their powers on getting through the Copa Libertadores.
Cuca’s men have, however, been very good when playing at home in the league this season. Since the start of the Brazilian Serie A campaign in August, Santos have lost just two of their 14 home league games, winning six.
Meanwhile, their opponents this weekend, Botafogo, have been in terrible form. Botafogo have won just one of their last 14 league games and are currently bottom. And the Lone Star cannot take much from that sole win, accompanied by 11 defeats, as it came against the team just above them in the table, Coritiba.
It may come as a surprise to those who know Botafogo, as the club that was once home to the likes of Garrincha, Jairzinho and (briefly towards the end of his career) Clarence Seedorf. But it has been a gradual slump from their fifth-placed finish in 2016 which they achieved in their first season back after promotion. The following two campaigns, they finished 10th and ninth but dropped as low as 15th last season, just seven points clear of relegation.
- Santos (vs Boca Juniors): John; Para, Verissimo, Luan Peres, Felipe Jonatan; Pituca, Alison, Lucas Braga; Marinho, Kaio Jorge, Soteldo.
- Botafogo (vs Vasco de Gama): Cavalieri; Kevin, Kanu, David, Victor Luis; Jose Welison, Romildo; Kelvin, Rhuan, Warley; Pedro Raul.
Santos have no fresh injury concerns but may opt to rotate following their Copa Libertadores match in midweek. Botafogo, meanwhile, are without Lucas Barros, Ivan Angulo, Roberto Fernandez and Rafael Forster. However, they can recall Matheus Babi, Caio Alexandre and Marcelo Benevenuto who return from suspension.
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Player to watch: Marinho (Santos)
It’s hard to ignore Marinho when looking for who might be the difference-maker in this game, with the 30-year-old winger very much enjoying his season so far. Marinho is Santos’ top scorer in the Brazilian Serie A this season with 15 goals, only betted by Internacional’s Thiago Galhardo (16) across the rest of the division.
However, Marinho is tied alongside Thiago Galhardo for goal involvements, adding a league-high six assists to his 15 goals. The Brazilian goes into this game with three goals and two assists in his past three league starts and also added another assist in midweek against Boca Juniors, setting up Lucas Braga for Santos’ third and final goal.
Should he play, even for just a short period, you can expect Marinho to add further misery to Botafogo’s season.
Brazilian Serie A 2020/21 recent form:
- Santos: DLLDW
- Botafogo: LWLLL
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