Copa Libertadores 2017 winners Grêmio take on the Brasileirão league leaders in an all Brazilian semi-final tie in Porto Alegre. Tim Stillman expects a narrow win for the away side.
"Flamengo are in outstanding form, they haven't lost in two months, winning nine and drawing two of their last 11 games."
Grêmio v Flamengo
Thursday October 3, 01:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
Flamengo have the form but Grêmio have the recent competition pedigree
Flamengo are in outstanding form, they haven't lost in two months, winning nine and drawing two of their last 11 games. They drew 0-0 with São Paulo this weekend largely because they had an eye on this semi-final tie with Grêmio. Fla hold a 3 point lead at the top of the Brasileirão and in Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa, they have the continent's in-form striker.
Flamengo have not won the Libertadores since 1981 and the competition has become an obsession for them. Renato Gaucho's Grêmio have stacks of recent pedigree in the tournament, they won it in 2017 and were only eliminated on away goals at the semi-final stage in 2018 by eventual winners River Plate. Grêmio are 8th in the Brasileirão and can entirely focus on this tie, while Flamengo are also pre-occupied by the title race domestically.
Brazil's two in-form attackers will be on display
Flamengo forward Gabigol has rediscovered his mojo since joining the Rio club on loan, earning himself a recall to the Brazilian national side. He has 30 goals so far this season and 10 in his last 10 games. It's no surprise that he is 11/2 to score first. With a supply line comprised of Everton Ribeiro, Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Bruno Henrique, Flamengo have one of the most fearsome, creative attacks in South America.
Grêmio have their own gunslinger however in the shape of wide forward Everton Cebolinha, who starred for Brazil in the Copa América this summer. He is a rapid winger who specialises in cutting in on his right foot and shooting at goal. He is 4/1 to score anytime and I think that represents excellent value. Luan is 9/1 to score first for Grêmio and that is an excellent price, he is an experienced all-round forward with good pedigree in the Libertadores.
Expect this to be a tight game
A conservatively set-up Grêmio side lost the home leg of their quarter-final tie to Palmeiras, before winning the second leg in São Paulo. I expect Renato Gaucho to set up on the counter attack again, even though his side are playing at home. Flamengo are in the sort of form and have the sort of players that demand an attacking approach.
Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus has Fla playing a fast paced, passing game. They will again look to take the game to Grêmio and I fancy they will take a narrow advantage to Rio for the second leg later this month. Flamengo to win 2-1 at 11/1 looks like a good price, as is 7/1 for Flamengo to win and both teams to score. Nevertheless, Grêmio have home advantage and their heads might be clearer than a Flamengo side who are undoubtedly under more pressure having not won the Libertadores for nearly 40 years. Draw at half-time and Grêmio to win at full-time could be a good bet at 4/1.