Returning to Copa Libertadores, Santos will host this Atlético PR team in the 2nd leg of this round of 16 of the competition
Santos won the 1st leg away from home at Paraná 3-2 and they have a considerable advantage for this 2nd leg match, besides playing at home. The match will be played at Vila Belmiro, which should be sold out for this match, with Santos’ fans making their presence felt.
It is definitely the most important match of the season so far for Santos, who sees their chances of winning the Brazilian Serie A constantly diminishing, due to Corinthians’ large lead at the top of the table.
Because of that, after their last match against Avaí, their coach Levir Culpi stated that their main focus now is this continental competition.
Despite not having rested their main players on Sunday’s match, Levir will have to his disposal Lucas Lima, who didn’t play since he was suspended. Besides him, David Braz is back to the defensive line and Yuri should be back to his midfield spot.
Therefore, the team will be able to field the same line-up that won against Flamengo last Wednesday.
Regarding their exhibitions, they aren’t very impressive but you can’t say that they are not regular, at least result-wise. It is a 10 match unbeaten streak with Levir in charge and at home the team is on the way to their 6th win in a row, while averaging almost 3 goals scored/match.
The fact that they have won the 1st leg can definitely make the home team relax more, which can be dangerous, but Levir Culpi has experience and should work on that aspect, because keeping this positive streak going would be really important.
Atlético PR is also on a good streak after the arrival of their new coach Fabiano Soares. The team has three wins in a row in the Brazilian Serie A, the latest one being against Palmeiras at the Allianz Parque.
On that last match, the 1-0 result doesn’t really tell the full story, since the match was pretty open with several chances for both teams, and both goalkeepers having good exhibitions.
Santos vs Atletico PR Pick :
It will be the third match between these two clubs in 2017, with Santos winning twice at Paraná. It is true that the manager change has been very good for Atlético, but Santos’ momentum also deserves respect.
The team from São Paulo currently sits in 3rd on the Brazilian Serie A with 35 points, which is their best record ever so far in this new Serie A’s format. With a sold-out Vila Belmiro and in Libertadores’ context, I believe that Santos will be able to win, even having the advantage they already have.
What makes me think that the match will be pretty open is the fact that Atlético PR will need to go on the offensive, and look to score more than one goal, which would favour Santos’ counter attack, which is usually very dangerous headed by Copete and Bruno Henrique.