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

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Copa Libertadores clash between Palmeiras and Atletico Mineiro, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The top two teams in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A will do battle in the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores, as Palmeiras host Atletico Mineiro in the first leg on Tuesday from Allianz Parque.

Galo are seven points ahead of Palestra in the domestic league standings and seeking to make the final for the first time since 2013, while Verdao are looking to be the first team to repeat as champions since Boca Juniors captured the trophy in 2000 and 2001.


Match preview

Palmeiras coach Abel Ferreira reacts on May 23, 2021© Reuters

Palmeiras are in a very familiar spot in this competition, having qualified for the final four in three of the last four years after a dominating second quarter-final leg against their arch-rivals Sao Paulo last month, winning 3-0 and advancing on a 4-1 aggregate.

Abel Ferreira already won two trophies in his first year in charge, and he will be eager to become the first non-South American coach to win this tournament twice.

The closer you get to the title, the harder the matches become, and Palmeiras should know that all too well as last season in the semis, they appeared to be home and dry after a 3-0 road victory against River Plate, but in the return leg at home they barely hung on, losing 2-0, conceding 11 shots on target to the Argentines.

If you give Palestra scoring opportunities at home, they will make you pay, as they have outscored their opponents 18-4 at Allianz Parque in this competition so far, although those four goals conceded were in a single game, in a defeat to Defensa y Justicia.

Even though their offensive prowess is evident under the leadership of Ferreira, they have been able to win in a variety of different ways, especially in tight, defensive affairs like in their round of 16 tie with Chilean side Universidad Catolica, where they squeaked out a pair of 1-0 results.

However, the last time they faced Mineiro this year, they could not find a way through that stingy backline as they were beaten 2-0 and only managed one shot in the entire game and 33% possession.

To beat Palmeiras in these two leg affairs, you better not give them a lead, as Verdao have only been eliminated from one knockout stage tie after winning the opening match.

Atletico Mineiro coach Cuca reacts on August 23, 2021© Reuters

Atletico Mineiro got off to a rocky start in this year's event, conceding the opening goal in their first match versus Deportivo La Guaira within the first 20 minutes in a 1-1 draw, but since then, they have been virtually untouchable.

They have only conceded three goals in this competition and have maintained four clean sheets in their knockout games against two solid sides in Boca Juniors and River Plate.

There was a bit of good fortune, however, for Cuca's team in their round of 16 tie, as Boca had a goal called back in the second leg of that tie, which would have sent them through and Mineiro were bailed out by their heroic keeper Everson in the penalty shootout, where he stopped two shots and scored the winner from the spot.

In this domestic campaign, Galo have only conceded 13 goals, the fewest of all teams in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A, and they have not given up a strike in their last three fixtures in all competitions.

Atletico have been very impressive away from home recently, unbeaten in their last six road fixtures, including a 3-0 win over Sport Recife over the weekend where they only allowed one shot on target.

With this team currently positioned to win a treble, leading the Serie A table, and in the semi-finals of the Copa do Brasil and this tournament, they have played in some very tough and intense games, so they will need to find the energy to endure another one on Tuesday.

The last time this side were in the semi-finals of this competition was in 2013 when they reversed a 2-0 defeat in the opening leg, winning the second match by the same score and beating Newell's Old Boys on penalties to advance to the final, where they captured their first and only title.

Palmeiras Copa Libertadores form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Palmeiras form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Atletico Mineiro Copa Libertadores form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W

Atletico Mineiro form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W



Team News

Palmeiras team huddle before the match on June 28, 2021© Reuters

Rony leads Palmeiras in goals in this competition with six so far, though Raphael Veiga, Dudu and Patrick scored in the second leg of their quarter-final tie versus Sao Paulo.

Weverton, the top goalkeeper at the Copa Libertadores in 2020, has six clean sheets in the tournament so far this year, stopping all three shots that he faced on Saturday against Chapecoense in the Brasileiro Serie A.

Luiz Adriano scored one of their goals in the opening leg of the semi-final last year, leading the team with five overall in the competition, and in 2021 he leads them in assists with two, tied with Ze Rafael, but has only scored once.

Matias Zaracho scored twice for Atletico in the second leg of their quarter-final matchup against River Plate, and Hulk notched his seventh of the competition to lead the team, while Jefferson Savarino had two assists to lead them in that category with five.

The back four of Mariano, Nathan Silva, Junior Alonso and Guilherme started both legs of their quarter-final tie, keeping the Argentines at bay, allowing no goals in each match.

Nacho Fernandez scored the only goal in the first game of that tie but missed the second match with a red card suspension, while Diego Costa made his first start for his new team on Saturday, scoring his second goal in league play.

Palmeiras possible starting lineup:
Weverton; Mayke, Luan, Renan, Rocha; Patrick, Melo; Lopes, Veiga; Rony, Adriano

Atletico Mineiro possible starting lineup:
Everson; Dodo, Silva, Alonso, Rabello; Tche Tche, Allan, Fernandez; Keno, Costa, Hulk


SM words green background

We say: Palmeiras 2-1 Atletico Mineiro

Palmeiras have not lost at home to Mineiro since 2016, and they have the experience from last year to know what to expect at this stage.

A defeat for Atletico might not be all that bad, especially given that they have won their last seven matches in all competitions at home and have not conceded a goal in front of their fans since July 7, while also scoring in eight consecutive games on the road.



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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How you voted: Palmeiras vs Atletico Mineiro

Palmeiras
41.9%
Draw
14.5%
Atletico Mineiro
43.5%
62
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Palmeiras team huddle before the match on June 28, 2021
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rhs 2.0
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Atletico Mineiro27185444202459
2FortalezaFortaleza2814683830848
3FlamengoFlamengo25144747242346
4PalmeirasPalmeiras2714494033746
5BragantinoBragantino281113444321246
6InternacionalInternacional28101173730741
7Corinthians28101173026441
8Fluminense2710982828039
9America MineiroAmerica Mineiro2881192729-235
10Cuiaba2871472728-135
11Athletico ParanaenseAthletico PR27104133236-434
12Atletico GoianienseAtletico GO2681082224-234
13Sao Paulo2871382227-534
14CearaCeara2761472529-432
15Bahia2787123138-731
16JuventudeJuventude28611112736-929
17SantosSantos27611102334-1129
18Sport RecifeSport2769121422-827
19Gremio2575132330-726
20ChapecoenseChapecoense28110172449-2513

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