São Paulo football derby to go ahead amid Covid-19 outbreak

brazilian football
Palmeiras v. Corinthians is one of Brazil’s main derbies. Photo: Paulo Pinto/AllSports

The Brazilian 2020 football season still isn’t over — but the 2021 season has already begun with the country’s state championships. While enjoying much less prestige than national tournaments, state-level competitions remain somewhat relevant thanks to local rivalries and bragging rights. One of the country’s biggest derbies takes place this evening between São Paulo giants Corinthians and Palmeiras — but the home side has suffered another Covid-19 outbreak among its squad.

Corinthians said 19 of its first-team players tested positive for the coronavirus — including goalkeeper and team captain Cássio, who has been capped for Brazil at international level.

The game, however, will go ahead as planned, despite a plea from Palmeiras. The away side will no doubt have one eye on the weekend, when Palmeiras play Grêmio in the final of the Copa do Brasil — the last match of the delayed 2020 season.

Football in Brazil hits fever pitch. Again

This is the third coronavirus outbreak for Corinthians, which lost players in January 2021 and June 2020. At least 40 members of staff have been infected so far, including players and coaches. But the problem is not restricted to the São Paulo club. Almost every Brazilian side has had at least one positive case in their first-team squads.

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