Matchweek 5 in the Copa Libertadores
Watch on beIN Sports and Fanatiz starting on Tuesday! Use this link to support SDH when you sign up for a free trial of Fanatiz: www.fntz.co/SoccerDownHere. You'll be able to watch all of these matches there this week as we get down to the nitty gritty in the Copa Libertadores. GROUP A The top 2 teams face off in Rio as Flamengo hosts Independiente del Valle. The visitors top the table with a significant goal differential advantage, thanks to the 5-0 win in Ecuador last time these teams met. However, IDV comes in after a shocking 4-1 loss in Colombia last week and a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Barcelona in league play on Saturday. Flamengo drew 1-1 on the road at Palmeiras on Sunday.
Junior is only 3 points back and they host winless Barcelona. Back-to-back Libertadores wins were dampened a bit with a surprising loss in league play to Envigado this weekend.
Both matches are on Wednesday at 8:30pm.
Palmeiras and Guaraní are in the driver's seat in this group and don't play each other this time around. A point for Palmeiras at home against Bolívar on Wednesday (6:15pm) will clinch their spot in the knockout round. The Verdão have not lost in 18 matches in all competitions, dating back to late July.
Guaraní heads to Argentina to face last-placed Tigre on Thursday at 8pm. Raul Bobadilla leads the way for the Paraguayans with 2 goals so far in the competition.
After a strong start to the campaign, Jorge Wilstermann has to go on the road for their last 2 matches and will have a struggle ahead of them to hold onto their #2 slot. The road starts in Brazil on Tuesday (8:30pm) against Athletico Paranaense, the group leaders, who have won 4 straight matches in all competitions.
The third and fourth place teams meet in Uruguay on Tuesday at 6:15pm as Peñarol hosts Colo-Colo. Lately, the only team Colo-Colo has been able to defeat (1 win in their last 6 matches since their season restarted) has been Peñarol. With Jorge Wilstermann's second place perch tenuous, the door is open for a winner in this one.
The top two in the group are at home this round as LDU Quito hosts Binacional (Tuesday, 8:30pm) and River Plate "hosts" São Paulo (Wednesday, 8:30pm). El Monumental, the historic stadium of River, is undergoing renovations and the match will be played at a stadium that has had its fair share of Libertadores magic, the home of 7-time champions Independiente.
São Paulo has 4 draws and a loss in their last 5 matches and need points in Argentina to get out of third place in the group. They expect 3 points in the final matchday against the last placed team Binacional. LDU Quito can clinch their spot in the knockout round with their expected win over the Peruvians.
The most wide-open group with everyone still in shouting distance of 1st and 4th place. At 6:15 on Tuesday, Grêmio (2nd) hosts Universidad Católica (4th). At 8:30 on Tuesday, Internactional (1st) travels to Colombia to face América de Cali (3rd).
24-year old Duván Vergara of América (photo: @AmericadeCali) is one of the leading scorers in the competition. He has 3 goals in 4 matches so far. He has been linked with a move recently to Sporting in Porgual.
Nacional was the first team to clinch their knockout round slot, they have not dropped any points so far in their first four matches and have only conceded once. Racing travels to Uruguay to face them on Wednesday at 6:15pm and a draw would lock them into the second slot in the group. Estudiantes Mérida has to win and hope for help as they travel to Peru to face a very disappointing Alianza Lima side on Wednesday at 8:30pm.
Santos is in the top spot in the group, but they face a very tricky trip to Paraguay to face 3rd-placed Olimpia on Thursday at 6pm. El Decano has back-to-back home matches left to try to earn a Knockout Round berth. Defensa y Justicia travels to Ecuador to face Delfin. The combination of a Santos win and a DyJ win would put El Halcón into the next round of the tournament in their first ever appearance. They need maximum points against the disappointing Ecuadorian side because they face a very difficult trip to Paraguay in Matchday 6.
Caracas have been the surprise of the group, currently in second place. They host Independiente Medellín on Wednesday at 6:15pm while group leaders Boca Juniors host 3rd place Libertad on Tuesday at 8:30pm. Wins for the home teams would clinch qualification for both of them.