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Oct 24, 2021 at 8pm UK
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Preview: Atletico Mineiro vs. Cuiaba - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Atletico Mineiro vs. Cuiaba - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Brasileiro clash between Atletico Mineiro and Cuiaba, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

On Sunday, Atletico Mineiro and Cuiaba return to league action in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A following their cup matches played earlier in the week.

Mineiro put together a convincing 4-0 win over Fortaleza in the first leg of their Copa do Brasil semi-final encounter, while Dourado lost in a penalty shootout to Brasiliense in their Round of 16 game at the Copa Verde.

Match preview

It did not take the league leaders long to recover from a 2-1 defeat last Sunday versus Atletico Goianiense as they dominated Leao do Pici, scoring four goals in a game for the first time since early July.

Last weekend, their surprise defeat put an end to a run of 17 consecutive matches without a loss in all competitions as their lead atop the Serie A table was trimmed down to 10 points, although second-place Flamengo have two games in hand.

That emphatic victory in midweek in the Copa do Brasil comes at a critical time for Cuca, who should be able to sit out his key contributors in their second leg cup tie at Fortaleza, with a four-goal cushion going into the deciding fixture next week.

That is significant because it means that the core of this team should be well rested next weekend when they face their nearest title challengers away from home to wrap up the month of October.

Atletico's unbeaten run may have ended, but they have been most impressive at Minerao, having now played 18 straight games there without losing.

With 12 league fixtures remaining, the team from Belo Horizonte are three victories away from matching their total from 2020, while setting a club record for wins in a top-flight campaign is certainly within reach, as they only need to win five more times in Serie A to beat their old mark set in 2015.

Throughout the year, Jorginho has been preaching to his players the importance of structure and patience, and that has served his Cuiaba side well as they are well-positioned in ninth place with 35 points.

It is not as if their formation is anything out of the ordinary as they typically go with a 4-4-2, but their commitment to man marking has been remarkable, while they have rarely allowed a lot of space in between defence and attack.

Lately, their execution has been near perfect on the defensive side, picking up three straight clean sheets in Serie A and allowing no more than four shots on target in a single match.

They are more than happy to allow their opponents a lot of possession, as we rarely see them with the ball for long stretches, usually with less than 40% over 90 minutes.

These players have shown a ton of composure in hostile environments, going unbeaten in 12 consecutive league fixtures away from home and maintaining seven shutouts over that span.

Cuiaba seem to be able to consistently frustrate their opponents by welcoming them into their own third of the field while also scoring on the one or two counterattacks that they are able to put together throughout a match.

Atletico Mineiro Brasileiro form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Atletico Mineiro form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Cuiaba Brasileiro form:
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D

Cuiaba form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Matias Zaracho had a goal and an assist in their victory over Fortaleza in midweek, while Guilherme Arana scored the game-winner and Hulk, who leads the team in goals and assist in Serie A, found the back of the net for the sixth time to lead all players in the Copa do Brasil.

Everson leads the league in clean sheets with 12 but has conceded in his last three encounters in the Brazilian top flight.

Diego Costa has sat out of the last three matches in all competitions because of suspension, with Keno taking his spot, usually just in behind Hulk.

Look for Walter to reclaim his place in goal for Cuiaba this weekend from Rafael Bretas, as the 33-year-old on loan from Corinthians has kept three straight clean sheets in league play and 10 so far this year.

Jorginho made only two changes to the starting 11 in their league fixture versus Flamengo from the team who started the match against Sport Recife, with Lucas Ramon replacing Joao Lucas at the back and Felipe Marques stepping in for Max.

Elton has only one league goal in the team's last eight matches, but he still leads the way with three more than Jenison this year and Jonathan Cafu is next with three.

Atletico Mineiro possible starting lineup:
Everson; Dodo, Alonso, Rever, Arana; Allan, Tche Tche; Calebe, Fernandez, Zaracho; Hulk

Cuiaba possible starting lineup:
Walter; Uendel, Empereur, Paulao, Marllon; Gava, Pepe, Yuri, Cafu; Clayson, Elton

We say: Atletico Mineiro 1-0 Cuiaba

Thanks to their big victory in midweek, Cuca and his side can put all of their attention into maintaining their lead atop the Brasileiro standings, so we should see most of their regulars featuring on Sunday and likely getting a rest in their second Copa do Brasil leg next week.

Cuiaba know how to defend, and they have done so brilliantly all season, shutting out the likes of Flamengo and Palmeiras already this year, but Mineiro are just as good in that department, conceding the fewest goals this season (19) and with so many attacking options they should be able to bury at least one of their chances.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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