Copa Libertadores: What do the Argentine teams need to advance to the quarterfinals?

The second leg of the Copa Libertadores round of 16 starts this week with plenty of action

River Plate v. Internacional (Brazil): Win or Draw

The team led by Martín Demichelis was the only Argentine team to win its opener, 2-1 against Internacional. At the Monumental Stadium, River was clearly better and only the heroics of Uruguayan goalkeeper Sergio Rochet kept the Brazilian team in the contest. 

Now, the Millonarios visit Inter’s Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre with a simple mission: don’t let the other team score more than you. The scrapping of the Away Goals Rule, which in some international competitions turned most goals scored by the visiting team into the deciding factor if a series finished in an overall tie, means that the solitary goal by Ecuadorian striker Enner Valencia in the match played last week in the Monumental stadium won’t pose a major risk for River.

Should the game end in a 1-0 or 2-1 win for Internacional, the series will go to a penalty shootout to decide the winner. If the Brazilian team wins 2-0 or better, it will be all over for the Millonarios.

The game, which will be refereed by Uruguayan Andrés Matonte, will be played Tuesday August 8 at 9 p.m. local time, same in Argentina. It will be televised by FOX Sports and Star+.

Boca Juniors v. Nacional (Uruguay): Win

Boca Juniors struggled to snatch a tie in its first leg against Uruguay’s Nacional. The team led by coach Jorge Almirón played a conservative game in its visit to the Gran Parque Central stadium, managing just four shots and none on target. Now, the series is wide open for the second game at La Bombonera stadium.

In a game marred by the police repression of Boca fans outside the stadium, big names like Lucas Janson, Valentín Barco and Marcos Rojo started out on the bench, while star signing Edinson Cavani was not on the team. “It was a very tough match and I knew it was going to be like that,” Almirón said after the game. “It will be different on our home ground. Football is an infectious sport and we will be better with our people there.”

The big card for Boca will be Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani. The 36-year-old international played on the starters side in Boca’s practice and is expected to make his debut, either from the start or coming off the bench.

The result from the first leg means that whoever wins at La Bombonera will go through, with a draw of any kind requiring a penalty shootout.

The match will be played Wednesday August 9, at 9 p.m. Argentina time, with Brazilian Anderson Daronco as referee. It will be shown live by FOX Sports, Telefé, PlutoTV, and Star+.

Argentinos Juniors v. Fluminense (Brazil): Win

Argentinos Juniors’ very solid performance in the first leg turned into a side note after Fluminense player Marcelo Vieira accidentally tackled defender Luciano Sánchez, causing a complete dislocation of the latter’s left knee. 

Even though the Brazilian star was sent off, Argentinos struggled to keep its level. The sending off of goalkeeper Martín Arias in the 76th minute with no substitutions left meant midfielder Leonardo Heredia had to take his place. With three minutes to go, a long range effort by Brazilian defender Samuel Xavier made it past Heredia and tied the game 1-1.

“Matching and out-playing a team like Fluminense is always difficult and we did it comfortably. We had a great first half and should’ve improved our goal tally,” Argentinos coach Gabriel Milito said after the match.

Going into the second leg at the mythical Maracanã Stadium, the Bichitos Colorados have to get a win to make it into the next round, while another tie will send the series to a penalty shoot out. The game, refereed by Venezuelan Alexis Herrara, will be played this Tuesday August 8, at 7 p.m. Brazil and Argentina time and shown by FOX Sports2 and Star+.

Racing Club v. Atlético Nacional (Colombia): Win by three goals or more

The team led by Fernando Gago will have its  work cut out for them, after losing 4-2 in the first leg played in the Atanasio Girardot stadium, in the city of Medellin. Despite having over 70 percent of the ball, Racing suffered a plethora of defensive mistakes, and it was only two late penalties, both scored by defender Gonzalo Piovi, that kept the game close.

“I trust the team and know we’ll put up a big fight in the next game,” said Gago, who won’t be able to play his star signing midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero due to the Colombian arriving too late to be registered for the series.

Racing’s hopes lie in the influence its fans can have at the Presidente Perón Stadium in Avellaneda, as well as at the feet of Colombian striker Roger Martinez, who was one of the best players in the match after being subbed in at the 65th minute.

The series’ second leg will be played on Thursday August 10, at 9 p.m., with Venezuelan Jesús Valenzuela Sáez as the referee. It will be shown by FOX Sports and DSports.


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