Preview: Internacional vs. Sao Paulo – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Brasileiro clash between Internacional and Sao Paulo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two Brasileiro teams who have made promising starts to the 2024 season square off at the Estadio Heriberto Hulse on Friday as Internacional play host to Sao Paulo.

While the visitors currently sit fourth in the table after picking up 13 points from seven matches, the hosts sit just three points further back in eighth spot having played two games fewer.

Match preview

© Reuters

After failing to win their final two matches in May, Internacional have since kick-started the month of June with three successive victories without reply, following up a Brasileiro success over Cuiaba with back-to-back Copa Sudamericana group-stage wins against Real Tomayapo and Delfin.

Former Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen forward Lucas Alario has scored in both of Internacional’s last two matches, with his crucial second-half strike against Delfin securing a 1-0 home victory last Sunday to send The Red into the Copa Sudamericana knockout round playoffs at Delfin’s expense.

Internacional finished second in Group C after collecting 11 points from six matches, and before Eduardo Coudet‘s side face Rosario Central in their playoff tie in July, they must shift their attention back to the Brasileiro where they have accumulated 10 points from their opening five league games.

While Coudet will have been pleased with his side’s recent spell of form, he will be keen to see improvements made on home soil as The Red have only won two of their last six games in front of their own fans across all competitions.

Internacional did come out on top the last time that they hosted Sao Paulo, though, with second-half goals from Fabricio Bustos and Rene securing a 2-1 comeback victory in September last year.

© Reuters

Sao Paulo are loving life under new head coach Luis Zubeldia, who has steered his side to eight victories and two draws in his first 10 matches across all competitions since his appointment in mid-April.

Tricolor Paulista have scored 19 goals during this run, netting at least twice on eight occasions, including in each of their last three matches that have finished 2-0 in their favour against Aguia de Maraba, Talleres de Cordoba and Cruzeiro.

Former Tottenham Hotspur man Lucas Moura and Jonathan Calleri were both on the scoresheet in a 2-1 home victory over Cruzeiro in the Brasileiro a week last Sunday – Sao Paulo’s fourth win in seven league games that has propelled them into the top four.

Zubeldia’s men sit just one point behind leaders Flamengo, at the time of writing, and could climb to the Brasileiro summit with a victory over Internacional if other results were to go their way, although success against The Red is not a given on Friday.

Indeed, Sao Paulo travel to the Estadio Heriberto Hulse having won only one of their last eight visits to Internacional – a 2-0 league win in July 2021 – while they have only come out on top in three of their last eight top-flight meetings with The Red both home and away.

Internacional Brasileiro form:

Internacional form (all competitions):

Sao Paulo Brasileiro form:

Sao Paulo form (all competitions):

Team News

© Reuters

Internacional goalkeeper Ivan remains sidelined after undergoing knee surgery, while defender Gabriel Mercado will serve a one-match suspension on Friday due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Uruguay’s Sergio Rochet, Colombia’s Rafael Santos Borre and Ecuador’s Enner Valencia are all away on international duty ahead of the 2024 Copa America. While Fabricio is set to continue in goal in the absence of Rochet, Alario and captain Alan Patrick could continue their partnership in the final third in the absence of Borre and Valencia.

Experienced duo Fernando and Charles Aranguiz – formerly of Sevilla and Leverkusen respectively – could once again link arms in centre-midfield, while West Ham United-linked centre-back Vitao is set to partner Robert Renan in defence.

As for Sao Paulo, Pablo Maia (thigh) and Rafinha (broken leg) remain sidelined with injuries, and Wellington Rato (ankle) is doubtful, while Damian Bobadilla will serve a two-match ban but he is away on international duty with Paraguay anyway.

Colombia star James Rodriguez and Venezuela centre-back Nahuel Ferraresi are also away representing their countries and the absence of the latter is set to see Robert Arboleda and Alan Franco continue at the heart of defence.

Thirty-six-year-old Luiz Gustavo could be recalled in midfield to start alongside Alisson, while winger Ferreirinha will be hoping to force his way back into the first XI ahead of Juan Santos da Silva or Rodrigo Nestor.

Internacional possible starting lineup:
Fabricio; Mallo, Vitao, Renan, Rene; Mauricio, Fernando, Aranguiz, Wesley; Patrick; Alario

Sao Paulo possible starting lineup:
Rafael; Moreira, Arboleda, Franco, Welington; Juan, Gustavo, Alisson, Ferreirinha; Moura, Calleri

We say: Internacional 1-1 Sao Paulo

Both teams enter Friday’s contest following a positive run of form, so a closely-contested match could be on the cards, with Internacional boasting the slight psychological advantage taking into account their recent head-to-head record.

However, The Red have not been at their free-flowing best on home soil in recent weeks, so we can see Sao Paulo coming away with at least a point from Santa Catarina.

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

ID:545639:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect15430:

Previews by email

Click here to get Sports Mole‘s daily email of previews and predictions for every major game!

Source link: Preview: Internacional vs. Sao Paulo – prediction, team news, lineups