Reuben Thomas previews a crunch clash from Brazil available to watch this Sunday on Betfair Live Video...
''The Raposa know that they are going to have to dig deep if they are to hold their nerve and claim another title.''
Santos vs Cruzeiro
A crucial game from the Brazilian Campeonato title run in this Sunday as Santos play host to table topping Cruzeiro.
With just five games to go Cruzeiro still look set to retain the league crown but their form dropped off in October and their lead has now been cut down to just four points with Sao Paulo hot on their heals.
Sunday's hosts Santos sit in eighth position and have little to play for, it's practically impossible for them to qualify for the Copa Libertadores and they are in no threat of relegation.
There has certainly been a distinct fall off in their performances in recent weeks as their season winds down. It's now been six games in all competitions since Enderson Moreira's side last won a match.
However Santos have a decent record at home and have only conceded ten goals at the Vila Belrimo stadium all season.
The biggest plus from this year's campaign for Santos has been the emergence of their young striking sensation Gabriel, just eighteen years old he has netted fifteen goals for his side. He will likely start in the center flanked by Rildo and the gifted but inconsistent Robinho who is back at his hometown club on loan from AC Milan.
Champions Cruzeiro will have been relieved to see Sao Paulo only pick up a point on Thursday night and miss their opportunity to put the pressure on. However the 'Raposa' know that they are going to have to dig deep if they are to hold their nerve and claim another title.
They lost the first leg of the cup final on Wednesday against Atletico Mineiro and now face another tricky away trip. They have only recorded one win in seven on their travels and coach Marcelo Oliviera needs to get his players fired up.
Whilst Moreno and Goulart get the headlines for their goals it has been the steady heads and reliable performances of their midfielders Henrique and especially Everton Ribeiro who have steadied the ship recently.
An entertaining game ended in a 3-3 draw when these two faced off a few weeks ago but I don't expect that kind of goal return in this one. The champions will keep it tight and are unlikely to over commit in attack however with Santos lacking motivation Cruzeiro could take a huge step towards glory with a win.
Back Cruzeiro to win @ 32/1
Back under 2.5 goals @ 1.834/5