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Nov 17, 2021 at 11pm UK

Preview: Fortaleza vs. Ceara - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Fortaleza vs. Ceara - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Brasileiro clash between Fortaleza and Ceara, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Local rivals Fortaleza and Ceara will square off in Brazilian top-flight action at the Castelao on Thursday.

A run of four league games without a victory has seen the hosts drop to sixth spot in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A table, while their visitors have climbed to 10th place after an upturn in form.

Match preview

Fortaleza have enjoyed a strong campaign this time around, and they sat in the top four with 48 points from the opening 28 games of the season.

Their form has since taken a dip though, with Juan Pablo Vojvoda's side now having picked up just one point from the last four outings, as a previous three-game winning run was broken by defeats to America Mineiro and Corinthians.

The Leao do Pici then played out a draw with Sao Paulo, before suffering a thrashing at the hands of Bragantino last time out, with Helinho, Ytalo and Artur condemning them to a 3-0 defeat.

As a result, Vojvoda's men have lost their top-four spot, but with a three-point gap between themselves and fourth-placed Bragantino, Fortaleza could quickly reclaim the place and earn automatic qualification for next year's Copa Libertadores if they can reverse their fortunes.

In their bid to bounce back to winning ways, they meet a Ceara side in a contrasting run of form, with the away side climbing the table.

Following a seven-game winless run, the visitors looked set to be involved in a relegation scrap in the final straight of the season, but they have turned their campaign around in impressive fashion recently.

The Vozao have now won three of their last four league games to sit in 10th spot and come into Thursday on the back of an important victory.

They arrested the winless run with 1-0 victories over Fluminense and Cuiaba but were then handed a narrow defeat by Athletico Paranaense before making an immediate return to winning ways against Sport Recife last time out thanks to Marlon's winner.

Now sitting in 10th spot, six points above the relegation zone, Tiago Nunes's side may turn their attention to securing a top-12 finish to ensure Copa Sudamericana qualification for next season, and they will be keen to extend their strong form in a clash with their rivals on Thursday.

Fortaleza Brasileiro form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

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

Ceara Brasileiro form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Fortaleza will likely remain without Lucas Crispim and David, as the pair continue to battle through injuries.

However, attacker Robson will return from a suspension, while winger Yago Pikachu was fit to start last time out after an injury concern.

Despite their recent struggles, they have largely stuck with the back three of Titi, Tinga and Marcelo Benevenuto, and we expect the trio to take to the field again on Thursday.

Ceara will welcome midfielder Fernando Sobral back to action after he served a suspension last time out, following a red card in the defeat to Athletico Paranaense.

He will certainly not walk straight back into the side with ease though, as Vina got on the scoresheet from a deeper role in his absence last time out.

Fabinho and Marlon form a solid shield for the back four, and they will continue to handle business in the engine room.

Fortaleza possible starting lineup:
Boeck; Titi, Benevenuto, Tinga; Pikachu, Felipe, Ederson, Melo; Lima; Robson, Depietri

Ceara possible starting lineup:
Ricardo; Igor, Messias, Otavio, Pacheco; Marlon, Fabinho; Lima, Vina, Mendoza; Ferreira

We say: Fortaleza 1-1 Ceara

Given the hostility between these two sides, we expect a relatively cagey affair on Thursday, without either clearly taking control.

Despite the visitors displaying far superior form, their rivals will be desperate not to hand them a victory on home soil, and we instead see the game ending level.

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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