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Dec 12, 2021 at 8.30pm UK at Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto
Atletico Mineiro
4 - 0
Athletico PR
Hulk (24' pen.), Keno (35'), Vargas (56', 69')
Hulk (22'), Arana (58'), Rabello (80')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Heleno (11'), Hernandez (19'), Henrique (53')

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

:Headline: Preview: Atletico Mineiro vs. Athletico Paranaense - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Copa do Brasil clash between Atletico Mineiro and Athletico Paranaense, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

They have each claimed a major trophy already this year, but Atletico Mineiro and Athletico Paranaense have a chance to add to their trophy case beginning on Sunday in the first leg of a two-match final for the Copa do Brasil.

The Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A winners had no trouble getting past Fortaleza in the previous round, winning that semi-final tie 6-1 on aggregate, while El Paranaense stunned Flamengo with a 3-0 home victory to advance to this stage of the tournament.

Match preview

With 50 years of domestic frustration wiped away in 2021, Galo would rather not have to wait as long to claim their second Copa do Brasil crown, after capturing their first one back in 2014.

Coming into the first match of this two-leg affair, Mineiro have only suffered one setback in this competition thus far, losing to Bahia 2-1 in the second leg of their Round of 16 encounter, winning all of their other games played.

Cuca has won virtually everything there is to win as a manager in Brazil, but one thing missing from his impressive resume as a coach is a Copa do Brasil title, although he did win this trophy as a player for Gremio in 1989.

The league champions were the top defensive unit in the top flight this year, conceding a mere 34 goals, but down the stretch of the season, with the title locked up, they seemed to have a much more carefree approach, which hurt them as they conceded nine goals in their final three games, suffering a 4-3 defeat at Gremio on Thursday.

All season long they have been more than happy to trade blows and go toe-to-toe with the biggest clubs in Brazil, winning nine of their last 10 league games heading into this cup final.

These players are not afraid of taking risks even if it puts them behind in a match, as they have trailed in each of their previous five fixtures but only came out on the losing end once.

Since making it into the last eight of this tournament their holding midfielders have been exceptional when it comes to coming back and covering space in behind their fullbacks, helping to make life relatively easy for their back line.

Patience is a virtue as they say, and that approach has served Furacao well in major tournaments like this one, just like it did earlier this year when they captured the Copa Sudamericana.

Sometime near the end of October it looked like Alberto Valentim had abandoned all hope of chasing after the league title and instead shifted the focus onto winning other local and international tournaments.

This group were well rested and delivered a splendid performance thanks to that approach in the Sudamericana, so it will be interesting to see if this works against an experienced Mineiro side who have won the last three matches played against El Paranaense.

Valentim likes his team to really take their time with the ball and have a ton of possession, but when they do not have the ball, they can be susceptible to a counter as their wing-backs tend to push high up the field.

El Paranaense narrowly escaped relegation at the tail end of this Serie A campaign, finishing 14th, thanks in large part to having some easier games down the stretch versus teams who either do not possess much quality in attack (like Cuiaba and Sport Recife) or one that has nothing to play for like Palmeiras in their second to last league fixture.

The road to the final of this competition has not gone as smoothly for Athletico as it did for Galo, with the 2019 Copa do Brasil winners squeaking out a one goal aggregate victory in the first two rounds of this tournament, before narrowly beating Santos with a pair of 1-0 wins and then an emphatic second leg triumph, 3-0 against Flamengo in the semi-finals.

While their path to getting here might have been a little bumpier than their opponents, this team have never lost a match in this year's tournament, so they should be feeling confident about their ability to pull off an upset in the final.

Atletico Mineiro Copa do Brasil form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

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

Athletico Paranaense Copa do Brasil form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Athletico Paranaense form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D

Team News

Mineiro were without a significant piece to their side on Thursday as Hulk, who won the Serie A Golden Boot with 19 strikes, missed that game with a yellow card suspension, so they will be looking to him to contribute in this match, as he has six goals in the Copa do Brasil this year to lead all players.

Everson finished the domestic season tied with Fernando Miguel for the most clean sheets in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A with 16.

As expected, we saw a very different looking Galo team than what we are used to in their final Serie A match on Thursday as Rafael started in goal, Dodo, Micael, Nathan Silva and Guga all began in defence, Calebe replaced Jair as a holding midfielder, while Jefferson Savarino, Eduardo Vargas, Dylan Borrero and Eduardo Sasha were all in the starting lineup.

Nikao, who scored the game-winning goal in the Copa Sudamericana final, has been a clutch performer for El Paranaense in big games and that was the case in their last Copa do Brasil match when he notched a brace in that victory, while Renato Kayzer assisted on his second of the game versus Flamengo as he leads the team with three in this tournament.

Athletico changed their entire starting lineup on Thursday with Bento getting the call in goal, Luan Patrick, Lucas Fasson and Joao Vialle made up the back three, Marcio Azevedo, Jader, Juninho, Khellven, Pedrinho and Jaderson began in midfield and Vinicius Mingotti played as the lone striker.

David Terans, who led the team in goals and assists in Serie A, has scored twice in this edition of the Copa do Brasil, while also contributing one assist, putting him one back of Abner and Marcinho in this competition.

Atletico Mineiro possible starting lineup:
Everson; Mariano, Silva, Alonso, Arana; Jair, Tche Tche; Zaracho, Fernandes, Costa; Hulk

Athletico Paranaense possible starting lineup:
Santos; Henrique, Heleno, Azevedo; Marcinho, Erick, Juninho, Abner; Nikao, Terans, Kayzer

We say: Atletico Mineiro 2-1 Athletico Paranaense

Heading into this encounter, Galo have won their last 11 matches at home in all competitions and have not lost at Mineirao since a 2-1 defeat to Fortaleza at the end of May.

Furacao seem to be well-suited to these knockout stage games, but they will need to be as stingy as ever to stop the offensive depth that Atletico possess, and it is hard to see that happening given that the Brasilerio champions have only been shut out once in their last 20 matches played in all competitions.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win 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.Home Win:curl

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