Copa Libertadores 2013: Libertad vs Sporting Cristal preview

Libertad vs Sporting Cristal
Nicolás Leóz, Asunción
06/03/2013; 19:45 (22:45 GMT)
Group Stages
TV: Fox Sports (Paraguay); ESPN (UK)

Libertad hope to maintain their 100% start to the competition in tonight’s home game with Peruvian outfit Sporting Cristal who overcame Tigre last week. It is the first meeting between these sides although the Gumarelo can point to their home record against Peruvian sides in this tournament for confidence, they beat Alianza Lima 4-1 here last year which followed a 2011 win against Universitario by a club-record margin, 5-1. It is the fifth straight year they’ve faced an Incan side in the group phase.

Libertad celebrate their latest win, this time against Cerro Porteño in the league - Photo: Club Libertad Prensa

Libertad celebrate their latest win, this time against Cerro Porteño in the league – Photo: Club Libertad Prensa

The most impressive part of Libertad’s winning start to this year’s tournament has been their ability to control midfield by squeezing opponents at the right time, neither Tigre nor Palmeiras enjoyed much possession as the Paraguayan team dominated and dictated the pace of both games. Ruben Israel is set to pick the same eleven that defeated Palmeiras last week, no need to rock the boat after such an imperious performance.

The last Peruvian side to visit Libertad was Alianza Lima, they lost heavily - Photo: D10.com.py

The last Peruvian side to visit Libertad was Alianza Lima, they lost heavily – Photo: D10.com.py

Sporting Cristal may have beaten Tigre but in their home game in São Paulo they slumped to defeat which is an indication of their away form in 2013, they’ve lost all three matches on the road. They are definitely the weakest side in this group and are primarily made up of journeyman players including former Olimpia defender Renzo Reveredo. Arguably the most well-known player (to English readers at least) is goalkeeper Diego Penny who was on Burnley’s books while in the Premier League.

Libertad are hot favourites for this and rightly so, having said that it shouldn’t be assumed tonight will be some kind of goal rush, Israel makes sure they turn out professional and controlled performances and they will wear down their opponent with long passages of passing just like any other side.

Libertad XI (probable): Rodrigo Muñoz; Jorge Moreira, Pedro Benitez, Ismael Benegas, Gustavo Mencia; William Mendieta, Sergio Aquino, Pablo Guiñazu, Miguel Samudio; Pablo Velazquez, José Ariel Nuñez

Sporting Cristal XI (possible): Diego Penny; Nelinho Quina, Renzo Sheput, Nicolas Ayr, Jesús Alvarez; Eduardo Uribe, Jorge Cazulo, Carlos Lobatón, Irven Avila; Hernan Rengifo, Junior Ross

Prediction: 3-0

Selected Odds: Libertad win 1.45, Draw 4.7, Sporting Cristal win 9.4, 3-0 win 11.0, Over 2.5 goals 1.99

Best Bet: Very unlucky last night on the same bet with Olimpia (who threw away a two-goal lead) but I think Libertad/Libertad is a great shout at 2.2 in this game, they’ve been winning at HT in 3/4 victories recorded in 2013.

========================================

Stats

Libertad head-to-head vs Peruvian opposition (Copa Libertadores)

Pld 8 W 5 D 2 L 1 GF 16 GA 7

Libertad at home vs Peruvian opposition (Copa Libertadores)

Pld 4 W 3 D 1 L 0 GF 12 GA 4

Libertad last 5 home (Copa Libertadores)

Pld 5 W 3 D 2 L 0 GF 8 GA 3

Libertad have reached the Quarter Finals in their previous four continental competitions

==============================

By Ralph Hannah

Authors Note: All odds are selected from Betfair Sports and accurate at the time of writing, there is a live market on this game

For more football previews check out CaStRoF’s betting tips

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s