Preview: Palmeiras vs. Atletico Mineiro

Preview: Palmeiras vs. Atletico Mineiro

Palmeiras will be aiming to hold onto their 1-0 lead against Atletico Mineiro when the two sides meet in the second leg of their Copa Libertadores last-16 clash on Thursday.

Last week’s visitors secured an impressive victory at Arena MRV last week, making them overwhelming favourites to advance to the quarter-finals.

Indeed, Raphael Veiga’s 29th-minute strike proved to be the difference between the sides during a closely-fought encounter, which was devoid of real quality in either offensive third.

The hosts managed to generate just one shot on target despite having home advantage on their side, meaning that they will have to produce a much better performance if they are to get the better of Palmeiras at Allianz Parque in the reverse leg.

That said, Palmeiras’ confidence may have been dented by falling to a 2-1 defeat away to Fluminense on Sunday, with Abel Ferreira’s side falling two goals behind within the opening hour. Lele’s dismissal one minute prior to the end of normal time gave them hope, but Gustavo Gomez’s injury-time strike ultimately proved to be too little, too late.

With runaway Brazilian Serie A leaders Botafogo moving 13 points clear of the rest of the chasing pack at the weekend, Palmeiras will be targeting their third Copa Libertadores triumph in only four years, with a positive result on Thursday set to take them one step closer towards achieving that aim.

Preview: Palmeiras vs. Atletico Mineiro – prediction, team news, lineups

Atletico Mineiro, meanwhile, finally ended a winless streak of 10 matches in all competitions by defeating Sao Paolo 2-0 away from home on Sunday.

Former Zenit St Petersburg forward Hulk opened the scoring after only four minutes before Christian Pavon doubled his side’s lead from the penalty spot 21 minutes from time, with Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side putting in a perfect counter-attacking display.

The 2002 World Cup winner with Brazil had failed to win any of his opening nine games in charge following his appointment as manager in mid-June, so he would have been delighted to break that duck at Estadio Cicero Pompeu de Toledo.

However, they will require an even better performance if they are to get the better of Palmeiras and make it through to the quarter-finals of South America’s primary continental competition, which they have only ever lifted on one occasion exactly one decade ago.

Palmeiras Copa Libertadores form:

Palmeiras form (all competitions):

Atletico Mineiro Copa Libertadores form:

Atletico Mineiro form (all competitions):

We say: Palmeiras 1-0 Atletico Mineiro
Although Atletico Mineiro finally returned to winning ways at the weekend, they had been on a dreadful run of form until their victory against Sao Paulo.

Palmeiras should be able to keep their opponents at arm’s length, potentially picking them off in transition should the visitors go chasing the tie after losing at home last week.

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