Preview: Bahia vs. Cruzeiro – prediction, team news, lineups – Football News

Preview: Bahia vs. Cruzeiro – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Brasileiro clash between Bahia and Cruzeiro, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Looking to avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time in 2024, Bahia will welcome fellow top-six hopefuls Cruzeiro to Arena Fonte Nova for a Brasileiro clash on Sunday.

The Tricolor were sentenced to a loss at the home of the division’s early pacesetters last time out, whilst Raposa secured a routine success over the league’s basement boys on home soil.

Match preview

Jean Lucas of Bahia in action in April 2024© Reuters

After navigating eight games in the Brasileiro unbeaten following an opening day defeat to Internacional on April 13, Bahia experienced the pain of defeat for a second time at the Maracana on Thursday night, when the visitors were unable to hold on for a share of the points against first-placed Flamengo.

Following a 24th-minute opener for the hosts courtesy of midfielder Gerson, Tricolor restored parity in the contest thanks to Everaldo‘s fifth of the Brasileiro term, meaning that the 32-year-old is now leading the division’s Golden Boot race alongside Vitoria enforcer Willian.

As the match in Rio de Janeiro tumbled towards its conclusion, it appeared as if Bahia would be escaping with a valuable point on their travels, but Flamengo were able to stay top of the division after having the last laugh, with former Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea defender David Luiz netting an added-time winner.

Despite missing out on the chance to hit the summit of the Brazilian top flight last time out, Tricolor will be extremely pleased with their start to the 2024 league campaign, with Sunday’s hosts currently occupying fifth position in the table, a massive overachievement considering that they avoided relegation by a single point in 2023.

Rogerio Ceni‘s troops should be confident of moving even further away from the bottom four with maximum points on Sunday evening at their formidable Arena Fonte Nova base, where Bahia have won all four of their Brasileiro contests so far this season, scoring five and conceding only once in the process.

Cruzeiro's Nikao celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on May 30, 2024© Reuters

After a rather lacklustre goalless draw with relegation-threatened Vasco da Gama on June 16, Cruzeiro made sure they put a struggling side to the sword at the second time of asking on Wednesday night, when 20th-placed Fluminense came to town and left with their tail between their legs.

Having failed to score during his debut campaign at the club in 2023, right-back William was an unlikely source of attacking threat in Belo Horizonte, with the 29-year-old defender netting either side of the half-time whistle to seal three points for the hosts and crank up the pressure on Fluminense coach Fernando Diniz.

Following a strangely-similar trajectory to Sunday’s opponents Bahia, Cruzeiro were promoted to the top tier of Brazilian football in 2022 and narrowly escaped the drop last term, with Raposa now sitting one spot below Tricolor in sixth after collecting 17 points from nine games in 2024.

One contributing factor to Bahia’s success to date has been the considerable talents of former Sporting Lisbon and West Bromwich Albion playmaker Matheus Pereira, who has scored three goals and provided one assist in eight league matches, recapturing the form that allowed him to net 11 times in the Premier League for the Baggies during the 2020-21 term.

Despite a heavy sprinkling of magic from the Al-Hilal loanee helping matters, Raposa head coach Fernando Seabra has to take a lot of the plaudits for his side’s positive start to 2024, with the 47-year-old winning eight and losing just two of his opening 14 competitive games in charge.

Bahia Brasileiro form:

Bahia form (all competitions):

Cruzeiro Brasileiro form:

Cruzeiro form (all competitions):

Team News

Internacional's Vitao in action with Bahia's Oscar Estupinan on April 13, 2024© Reuters

Bahia are without the services of right-back Santiago Arias, who is currently on international duty for an in-form Colombia side at the Copa America in the United States.

Whilst the 32-year-old prepares for his nation’s opening game against Paraguay on Monday, Gilberto Junior will continue to deputise on the right of the backline for Tricolor in the Brasileiro.

On loan from MLS outfit New York City FC, Nicolas Acevedo suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury in January and is not expected back in action until September.

Cruzeiro are also without a loanee star in the form of Rangers man Jose Cifuentes, who will be looking to break into the starting XI of Ecuador at the Copa America this summer.

Picking up a knock to his knee in the victory over Cuiaba on June 14, Alvaro Barreal has missed the last two matches and will not be fit in time to feature on Sunday.

Lucas Daniel Romero had been a regular fixture in Raposa’s engine room before suffering a muscular injury in the Vasco da Gama stalemate, meaning that Machado is set to continue in a three-man midfield for the visitors.

Bahia possible starting lineup:
Felipe; Junior, Xavier, Kanu, Luciano; Alexandre, Lucas, Ribeiro, Souza; Thiciano, Everaldo

Cruzeiro possible starting lineup:
Anderson; William, Ivaldo, Marcelo, Marlon; Silva, Machado, Ramiro; Veron, Robert, Pereira

SM words green background

We say: Bahia 1-0 Cruzeiro

Possessing a 100% record from home matches in the 2024 Brasileiro, Bahia should be supremely confident of getting back to winning ways on Sunday evening.

Despite their positive start to the campaign, Cruzeiro have been unreliable on the road – failing to score in their last two away matches – and we feel that Raposa will endure more troubles on their travels this weekend.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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