Santos midfielder Arouca is confident his team will recover from their first-leg defeat in the Copa Libertadores semi-final to Corinthians and continue on their quest to retain the title. Arouca and co were beaten 1-0 at home and the return game will be played tomorrow night at the Pacaembu Stadium.
The Santos man admitted they were shocked by the home loss last week but believes they have what it takes to turn the tie around. "I believe we'll play a better game at the Pacaembu because we are quite angry after we lost. It will be tough, but we are prepared," Arouca told Lancenet.com.br.
"The defeat encouraged us even more. We'll step onto the field with anger. We respect Corinthians, but this is a very special game to us. We want to reach the final again."
Emerson, who scored the winner last week, will miss Wednesday's game because he was sent off in the previous match, while Corinthians coach Tite confirmed he will replace the forward with Willian in the starting position.
Tite said he made an early announcement on this change because he does not like speculation. "Willian will play. I don't like doubts nor mystery. I think the player should be focused and know he will play in advance. Now he must get ready to play," he said. "This is the most important match in Corinthians' history."
Corinthians lie rock-bottom in the standings of the national league, having lost four of the five games they have played. For now, Tite is content to put the continental competition first. "Nobody is surprised by this situation. All the teams that have reached the Libertadores semi-finals in the last five, six years have been in the bottom few places of the Campeonato Brasileiro. That is because the calendar is too demanding."
Defender Chicao is a doubt for the upcoming duel because he has twisted his right ankle, according to doctor Ricardo Galotti, who told reporters he is expected to be fit. "He quit today's (Monday) training with pain. We'll perform an intensive treatment. We already started to give him some medicine and are waiting for improvements."
If Chicao does not play, Tite has two options. Wallace is fully recovered from ankle surgery and he already played the second half of the first leg, while Marquinhos is the other possibility.
Both Santos and Corinthians lost their respective domestic league games last weekend against Flamengo and Ponte Preta after fielding a reserve team to keep their top players fresh ahead of the midweek duel.
The other semi-final tie will be played on Thursday night, when Universidad de Chile take on Argentinian giants Boca Juniors, who are chasing a seventh Libertadores title and who hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg.