Sao Paulo and Gremio meet once again for the conclusion of their Copa do Brasil semi-final in the early hours of Thursday morning (12:30am kick-off, UK time).
Gremio have the slight advantage going into the second leg, winning the first meeting 1-0 last week thanks to Diego Souza’s second-half strike.
Where to watch Sao Paulo vs Gremio on TV:
- US: Fox Soccer Plus
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Scoreline prediction: Sao Paulo 0-1 Gremio
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Sao Paulo vs Gremio build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Sao Paulo entered December in fantastic form, top of their domestic league and unbeaten in nine games across all competitions, a run they extended to 12, with 10 wins. That sequence included two victories over Flamengo in both legs of their Copa do Brasil quarter-finals, setting up this tie with Gremio.
However, they enter this crucial second leg in inconsistent form. Defeat to mid-table Corinthians in the league in mid-December was followed by an impressive win over second-placed Atletico Mineiro, strengthening their grip at the top of the table. But they were unable to build on that win, losing to Gremio in the semi-final first leg last week. Sao Paulo did return to winning ways at the weekend, and they will be hoping to put an end to their rollercoaster form with an all-important victory.
Their opponents, Gremio, are in decent form recently, unbeaten in their past three games, including that 1-0 win over Sao Paulo last week. That victory did bring an end to a four-game winless run across all competitions which included a heavy defeat to Santos, knocking them out of the Copa Libertadores quarter-finals, and three draws.
Like Sao Paulo, Gremio also won at the weekend, beating Atlético Clube Goianiense in the league to build momentum going into the semi-final second leg. Awaiting the winner will be either Palmeiras or second-tier America Futebol Clube, who drew their first leg 1-1.
- Sao Paulo (vs Fluminense): Volpi; Igor Vinicius, Arboleda, Alves, Reinaldo; Igor Gomes, Alves, Luan, Sara; Luciano, Brenner
- Gremio (vs Atlético Clube Goianiense): Vanderlei; Vanderson, Ruan, Paulo Miranda, Cortez; Silva, Darlan Mendes; Alisson, Pinares, Ferreira; Churin.
Sao Paulo have no fresh injury concerns, but Fernando Diniz may opt to make a number of adjustments to the team for the semi-final second leg. Juanfran sat out of the win over Fluminense at the weekend but may return to the starting XI to provide experience at the back.
Like Sao Paulo, Gremio have no fresh absentees.
Player to watch: Diego Souza (Gremio)
Diego Souza was the hero for Gremio in the first leg, continuing his good run of form in the Copa do Brasil. Although his goal return of seven in 17 Serie A games may not be suitable for a leading striker, depending on the expectations, the 35-year-old has enjoyed himself in the cup.
Souza’s goal against Sao Paulo last time out was his fourth in the cup this season, all of which have come in his past three games. Not really the freest of scorers in the cup, Gremio have found the net just seven times in their five games so far and Souza has been involved in five of those, adding an assist to his four strikes. Perhaps more importantly, too, he was rested in the weekend’s win so should be fresh to steer Gremio to the final.
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