Gremio v Corinthians, Brazilian Serie A, July 12, 2009
Brazil is abuzz with talk of the real Ronaldo following his hat-trick against Fluminense on Wednesday night in Corinthiansâ€™ 4-2 victory. The country of samba football has revelled in the former Barcelona and Inter Milan strikerâ€™s return to domestic football and he has not disappointed.
After promotion from Serie B last season, Corinthians have been in excellent form in recent months. The Timao have won the Campeonato Paulista (local championship before the start of the season) and also saw off Internacional over two legs to claim the Copa do Brazil (Brazilian Cup).
Corinthians league form though has been a little patchy, winning four, losing three and drawing two of their nine games so far in the Brazilian Serie A. They have rested a number of players due to their Copa do Brasil commitments which has affected their league form, Ronaldo, for example has played just four games so far.
This clash with Gremio, as well as being a match that is packed with fine attacking talent, is crucial for both sides, currently in mid-table, to show their title credentials. Corinthians are two points ahead of Gremio in seventh and tenth respectively and before the weekendÂ Ronaldo’s sideÂ just two wins from leaders Internacional.
Gremio have had a mixed time in the league this season , concentrating on the Libertadores where they were defeated by Cruzeiro in the semi-finalsÂ but undoubtedly have the firepower to trouble the away side.
Former Barcelona striker Maxi Lopez has veered from the sublime to the ridiculous this season but has scored eight goals in 17 games in the Copa Libertadores and Serie A, including two last week in the win over Atletico Paranaense. Fellow Argentinean strikerÂ HerreraÂ could also pop up with a goal and Douglas Costa could be on the bench, much to the delight of the Manchester United scouts.
The home side will have to be wary of Ronaldo, with his tail up after his fine hat-trick, but also from Dentinho who is beginning to show his goal scoring exploits in Serie B last season were no fluke. The 20-year-old striker finished off a cracking move to score Corinthiansâ€™ second on Wednesday night and his hard work buzzing around his larger strike partner is crucial to Corinthiansâ€™ attacking play.
All eyes will be on Ronaldo and whether he can play two games in five days, following his heroics against Fluminense he will surely start but Gremio are a tough proposition at home.
101gg predicts: Gremio 2 – Corinthians 2