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São Paulo vs Corinthians Preview

March 31, 2013 By Gregory Sica
Sao Paulo will be hoping to extend their lead at the top of the Paulista championship when they battle with fierce rivals Corinthians on Sunday.

Following Ponte Preta's surprise 2-2 draw with XV de Piracicaba on Saturday, Sao Paulo have the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the Paulista Championship when they entertain Corinthians at the Morumbi stadium.

Sao Paulo, who lead the competition with 35 points, one point ahead second-placed Ponte Preta, with 34, and with two games in hand, are more than aware of the fact that if they manage to overcome Corinthians they will practically assure themselves of top spot of the first stage of the competition.

Corinthians, who lie in seventh place of the Paulista Championship, are in desperate need of the three points, as a negative result could see them drop out of the top-eight qualification zone for the knock-out stage of the competition.

Ney Franco, the coach of Sao Paulo, will field a full-strength side for the clash, as he has no injury or suspension concerns to deal with. Right-back Paulo Miranda has recovered from injury and is likely to replace Rodrigo Caio.

Sao Paulo's attack is expected to comprise of Osvaldo and Luis Fabiano, while legendary goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni will wear the captain's armband.

Corinthians boss Tite, on the other hand, will be without perhaps his most influential player, Peruvian striker Paulo Guerrero, who is injured. Guerrero, who scored the only goal as Corinthians beat Chelsea 1-0 to lift the FIFA Club World Cup in December, is expected to be replaced by high-profile signing Alexandre Pato.

Pato, who has found himself on the bench for much of the time since joining the club from AC Milan, will be hoping to make an impact along with veteran striker Emerson Sheik.

Another important player who will miss the match for Corinthians is midfielder Renato Augusto, who is also injured. His vacancy will be occupied by 22-year-old attacker Romarinho, who was given the nod ahead of Jorge Henrique.

Sao Paulo's last four matches

Mar 27, 2013: Paulista 0-2 Sao Paulo (Paulista Championship)

Mar 23, 2013: Sao Paulo 2-0 Bragantino (Paulista Championship)

Mar 20, 2013: Sao Bernardo 1-2 Sao Paulo (Paulista Championship)

Mar 17, 2013: Sao Paulo 3-2 Oeste (Paulista Championship)

Corinthians' last four matches

Mar 27, 2013: Corinthians 1-1 Penapolense (Paulista Championship)

Mar 24, 2013: Guarani 0-1 Corinthians (Paulista Championship)

Mar 20, 2013: XV de Piracicaba 1-1 Corinthians (Paulista Championship)

Mar 16, 2013: Corinthians 3-0 Uniao Barbarense (Paulista Championship)

Facts

- Sao Paulo and Corinthians have faced each other 161 times in the Paulista Championship, with Corinthians winning 58 times, Sao Paulo 52 times, and there have been 51 draws.

- Corinthians couldn't defeat Sao Paulo in 13 games between 2003-2007 and Sao Paulo couldn't beat Corinthians in 11 games between 2007-2011.

Prediction

Sao Paulo 2-1 Corinthians


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