The Copa Libertadores knock-out stages are about to get underway. South America’s most prestigious club competition is back as the teams that got through the group stages clash for a spot in the quarter-finals. River Plate, Boca Juniors, Argentinos Juniors and Racing Club are the Argentine teams still in the competition.
River Plate v. Internacional (Brazil)
River, affectionately known as Los Millonarios, are the freshly-crowned Argentine Liga Profesional champions. The team led by Martin Demichelis was the best bar none in the league and arrived at the Copa Libertadores without any major injuries or departures.
Internacional, on the other hand, is not going through its best moment. The visiting team is on a run of five games without a win. Argentine coach Eduardo “Chacho” Coudet was hired in July to replace Mano Menezes but he’s yet to win a game.
“Chacho is a very intense coach, who always develops teams that go in search of the game. So I don’t think he’s coming here to hide away,” said Demichelis about Coudet, who was his teammate back when they both played for River Plate. “He is going to come out to put pressure on us, he is going to come out to attack us.”
The first game, at River Plate’s Monumental stadium, will be played on Tuesday August 1, at 9 p.m. Argentina time, with the second leg set for the same time next Tuesday at Inter’s Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Boca Juniors v. Nacional (Uruguay)
For the Xeneizes, it’s not a title that’s keeping their hopes up, but a new player: Edinson Cavani. The famous Uruguayan striker is fulfilling his dream of playing for Boca, and expressed as much in his introductory press conference.
“I am happy to reach the largest in South America and the world,” Cavani said, who’s looking forward to taking part in the Copa Libertadores. “I wanted to play in the Libertadores, so this adventure will begin at any moment.” He will not be playing in the first match against Nacional with no confirmed date for his debut fixture.
Nacional, one of the two biggest clubs in Uruguayan football, is going through a rough patch of form. They’re the defending champions but struggled in the opening stage of the 2023 tournament.
The first leg will be played on Wednesday August 2 at 9 p.m. Argentina time in Nacional’s Gran Parque Central. The second leg will be played at the same time in La Bombonera on August 9.
Argentinos Juniors v. Fluminense (Brazil)
One of the surprises of the Copa Libertadores, Argentinos shocked many by beating Brazilian giants Corinthians to the second place in its group and a place in the knockout stages. After a rocky start to the season, Los Bichitos Colorados as the team is affectionately known, managed to come in 10th in the Liga Profesional, but still lost 2-3 against Estudiantes in their last appearance.
Fluminense was the winner of Group D which it shared with River Plate. In the domestic tournament, the Brasileirão, the Rio de Janeiro team is in fifth position with 28 points, 15 units behind leader Botafogo.
They will clash at Argentinos Juniors’ Diego Armando Maradona stadium on Tuesday August 1 at 7 p.m. Argentina time, with the second leg being played at the same time next Tuesday at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Racing Club v. Atlético Nacional (Colombia)
The last of the Argentine clubs to see action in the Copa Libertadores will be Racing. The team led by Fernando Gago was one of the most active in the transfer market, showing its intentions to compete for the title after a disappointing Liga Profesional where it finished 12th.
Atlético Nacional missed the chance for a new title in the opening stage of Colombia’s First Division finishing third in the league. The first leg will be played on Thursday August 3 at 9 p.m. Argentina time at Atlético Nacional’s Estadio Atanasio Girardot in Medellín. The second leg will be played at the same time on August 10 at the Estadio Presidente Perón in Avellaneda, Buenos Aires City.