Vovo currently sit in 12th place, clinging to the final Copa Sudamericana position for 2022, while Recife are still trying to fight their way out of the relegation zone, sitting six points below that line heading into this match.
After 31 games played in the top flight, Ceara are right around where they were a season ago, just below the top half of the table with 39 points.
Tiago Nunes saw his team make the most out of their recent two-game homestand, winning twice to help distance themselves from dropping down into the second tier of Brazilian football, as they sit six points above that relegation line but having played one more game than Juventude.
Earlier this week, their passing was not as sharp as we are used to seeing as they had a few too many giveaways, which cost them a 2-1 defeat to El Paranaense.
Ceara were not without their share of opportunities as their holding midfielders did a great of playing the role of a double pivot, winning balls deep in their end and threading some lovely passes through to their frontmen, who could not quite find their range.
Putting two midfielders further back and another three higher up the field has worked effectively for them when facing defensive-minded sides, as they have held Cuiaba and Fluminense to just a single shot on goal combined, but Athletico are a much quicker team in transition and were able to break through that midfield wall several times before Ceara had a chance to set up.
Since returning to the top tier of Brazilian football in 2018, this team have been hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone numerous times, but with a victory this weekend, they could potentially move into the top half of the standings, which is something that they have never been able to do at the end of a season since the league changed from 22 teams to 20 in 2006.
Over the past month and a half, Sport Recife are starting to show us a little glimpse of something that we have rarely seen from them in their second successive season in the top flight, some offensive upside.
Make no mistake, this team still have a somewhat passive approach with a focus on shutting down opposing attacks first and foremost, but since the appointment of Gustavo Florentin in late August, we are seeing them play with a little more desire to push forward than we did under Umberto Louzer.
On Wednesday, they fought admirably despite being short-handed after only a quarter of an hour against America Mineiro, fighting back from 2-0 down to level the match late, only to have a point snatched away from them when Juninho fired home the winner with less than 10 minutes remaining.
In their last 10 encounters, Recife have scored multiple goals four times, which may not seem like a lot, but when you consider that this squad have the fewest goals in the league this year (19) and seven fewer than the worst team in Serie A, it is a sign that they are starting to be a little more clinical in front of goal.
Perhaps they eventually took a look at the table and realized that they have to start taking more risks going forward, knowing that settling for all of these 0-0 draws will not do them a lot of good in the long run.
Their 2021 campaign could very well come down to their next three games versus Ceara, Bahia and Sao Paulo, three teams who are no more than nine points ahead of them at the moment, and failing to come away with points in those matches could be catastrophic seeing as they have played more games (32) than anyone except Bragantino in Serie A.
Fernando Sobral will not feature in this match after the 26-year-old midfielder was sent off with five minutes remaining in their defeat to Paranaense, while Vitor Jacare remains out with a cruciate ligament rupture.
Gustavo will be suspended for this encounter following his expulsion early on versus America and will join Neilton, who is unavailable after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in July, while Joao Igor has a ruptured knee ligament, Thiago Lopes continues to be hampered by an Achilles tendon rupture and Leandro Barcia is out with a muscle injury.
Mailson is tied for second in shutouts this season with Walter and Fernando Miguel as the Leao keeper has not conceded in 12 matches this year, with his easiest outing coming the last time his team faced Ceara in late July when neither he nor Richard had to make a single save in a 0-0 draw.
Ceara possible starting lineup:
Ricardo; Kelvyn, Lacerda, Klaus, Igor; Marlon, Oliveira; Lima, Rick, Santos; Vina
Sport Recife possible starting lineup:
Mailson; Hayner, Thyere, Sabino, Sander; Marcao; Betinho, Welison, Hernanes, Felipe; Mikael
We say: Ceara 0-0 Sport Recife
If there is one thing that both of these teams have consistently excelled at throughout this campaign, it would be putting up zeroes on the scoreboard but also doing the same to their opponents numerous times, as Ceara and Recife have failed to score in 29 games combined with a total of 15 0-0 draws between them in this domestic campaign.
These teams like to take their time before mounting an attack, and the problem is that neither side have a ton of quality to make their chances count.
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