Preview: Fluminense vs. Juventude

Preview: Fluminense vs. Juventude

Relegation-threatened Juventude head to the Maracana in search of their first win in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A campaign in over two months when they clash with Fluminense on Wednesday.

A pair of late tallies in each half enabled Flu to move ahead of Flamengo and into third place in the table, beating the Copa Libertadores finalists in their previous encounter 2-1, while Juve are bottom of the standings and nine points behind the relegation line.

Throughout the season, Fernando Diniz and his side have shown an ability to bounce back quickly following a disappointing result, and they were able to do that over a week ago.

That victory at Mengao was their first on the road in this domestic campaign since edging Goias 3-2 back in July, and it has them in a position to end the season in the top three, which would be their highest finish domestically since winning the league in 2013.

In that championship-winning season, Fluzao claimed 77 points, and though that total is out of reach, if this team can win at least two of their final nine domestic encounters, it would surpass their total for victories a season ago (15) and also put them on 54 points, which is what they wound up with in 2021.

The Rio-based club head into this midweek encounter unbeaten in their last 11 matches in all competitions at the famous Maracana, winning seven of their previous eight domestic games played there.

Flu have gone on to win the last six league matches in which they had drawn first blood and have not lost a domestic encounter when scoring the opener since squandering a 1-0 advantage versus Flamengo in late May.

Despite winning their previous two league fixtures, this team have not won successive competitive matches since July but have also not been beaten in back-to-back games since falling to Mengao (2-1) and Juventude (1-0) in between the end of May and the beginning of August.

A third straight appearance in the Brazilian top flight looks less likely with every week for Umberto Louzer and his side.

The new manager bounce has not materialised for this team, who have only managed one victory since the 42-year-old former boss with Atletico Goianiense replaced Eduardo Baptista near the end of June.

Juventude have nine matches left to try to salvage a domestic campaign in which they have won on only three occasions and now have four teams to try and overtake.

It has been some time since they have claimed three points in a league match, though there are some positives for Louzer to take away from their performances this month, claiming points in two of their three encounters and coming back from a 1-0 deficit in each of those fixtures, with their only defeat coming at Palmeiras thanks to a late goal from Murilo Cerqueira.

So far in the 2022 domestic campaign, this team have dropped 16 points when holding a second-half advantage, and those missed opportunities are looming large now.

As bad as it looks for them at the moment, they have fared well against Fluzao of late, unbeaten in their previous three league meetings against them, winning the last two by a 1-0 score.

Fluminense Brasileiro form:
Fluminense form (all competitions):
Juventude Brasileiro form:

We say: Fluminense 3-1 Juventude
Losing two regulars to your backline is a lot to overcome, but luckily for Flu, Juventude have been poor in the attacking third all season, scoring the second-fewest goals (21) while also allowing the most (45).

Expect Cano to have more than his share of scoring opportunities in this one, and he rarely misses the chances presented to him.

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