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Preview: Flamengo vs. Fluminense - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Flamengo vs. Fluminense - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Brasileiro clash between Flamengo and Fluminense, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Defending Brasileiro champions Flamengo finally have a chance to build some momentum when they take on bitter Rio rivals Fluminense at Neo Quimica Arena on Sunday.

The Scarlet-Black have not won back-to-back games since May and are down in sixth, while opponents Fluminense are 13th after going four games without a win.

Match preview

The pressure was building on Flamengo ahead of Thursday's trip to Cuiaba following defeat to leaders Bragantino and newly-promoted Juventude in the space of three games.

However, goals in each half from Pedro and Thiago Maia ensured that Rogerio Ceni's side dodged another humbling defeat in the first ever meeting between the clubs.

It was a huge victory for Flamengo, one that lifted them seven places up to sixth in the standings, and now back to within six points of Bragantino with two games in hand.

Only once this season have Ceni's charges won successive matches, but this visit of Fluminense provides a big opportunity to change that.

Since beating Santos 1-0 on June 17, Fluminense have taken just two points from the last 12 on offer, most recently going down 4-1 to Athletico Paranaense.

Fred had given Fluminense the lead inside two minutes, but a Richard strike that Marcos Felipe could have done more to keep out and a Vitinho long-ranger put Athletico in front.

Ze Ivaldo then gave the visitors some breathing space before Nikao completed the scoring, leaving Fluminense boss Roger Machado with plenty to ponder.

Fluminense are winless in four away games this season, three of those finishing level, while going further back they have drawn four of their last five matches away from home.

Flamengo Brasileiro form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Flamengo form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Fluminense Brasileiro form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L

Team News

Flamengo are still without Everton Ribeiro and Gabriel Barbosa, who are away representing Brazil on Copa America duty.

Giorgian de Arrascaeta and Mauricio Isla are also not available for selection, restricting Ceni's options somewhat.

Pedro and Bruno Henrique are expected to lead the line once again this weekend, but Rodrigo Muniz is among those pushing for inclusion.

As for Fluminense, Samuel Xavier has been carrying a knee injury that forced him out of the defeat to Athletico Paranaense.

Ganso and Kayky may be considered for selection by Machado, but the same XI that started the last game is more or less expected to be used again here.

Flamengo possible starting lineup:
Batista; Matheuzinho, Arao, Caio, Luis; Vitinho, Gomes, Diego, Michael; Pedro, Henrique

Fluminense possible starting lineup:
Felipe; Calegari, Claro, Nino, Egidio; Martinelli, Felipe; Cazares, Nene, Teixeira; Fred

We say: Flamengo 1-1 Fluminense

Flamengo picked up a much-needed win in midweek to keep themselves within reach of leaders Bragantino and enter this game as favourites.

However, their inability to string together victories this term, combined with Fluminense's high number of draws, has us backing this one to finish all square.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data

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