Copa Libertadores Preview: Nacional (URU) vs Libertad

Nacional (URU) vs Libertad
Estadio Olímpico, Montevideo
16/02/12, 19.15 (22.15 GMT)

Libertad come head to head against their third Nacional of the season  having already played El Nacional and Nacional of Asunción. They also come running on empty having played Copa Libertadores qualifiers, then being thrown straight into the group stages and the domestic league to compete in too. But this is a huge squad, with plenty of quality all over the pitch and there is no reason why they can’t give Nacional a great game tonight in Montevideo.

Libertad train in Montevideo, Photo: Club Libertad prensa @Libertad_Guma

So far this year the restrengthened side has been very strong with four consecutive wins scoring 10 goals and conceding just two. The form of both wingers, Luciano Civelli and Rodolfo Gamarra has been key in the Libertadores matches so far. Both will be big players in tonight’s game as Burruchaga is expected to go for a more conservative 4-5-1 formation with the aformentioned widemen providing both support for Pablo Velazquez up front and defensive cover.

Jonathan Santana is the only expected change to the team that won convincingly against Alianza Lima last week in Asunción with the central midfielder set to replace striker Jose Ariel Nuñez who was injured in the victory over the Peruvians. Santana will make his Copa Libertadores debut having only featured in the two league games so far.

Jonathan Santana Photo: lanacion.com.py

Nacional come into the game with an impressive result against Vasco de Gama of Brazil, winning 2-1 in Rio de Janeiro. In that match they looked comfortable on the ball and were able to create plenty of goalscoring opportunities. Libertad’s stopper, Rodrigo Muñoz, will have to continue his impressive start to his career with the Gumarelo to keep the Uruguayans at bay. Paraguay Football expects a tough game for the visitors tonight but thinks they have enough to avoid defeat.

PREDICTION: 1-1

SELECTED ODDS: Libertad win 4.30, Draw 3.45, Nacional win 2.04; Under 2.5 goals 1.7; 1-1 scoreline 7.4,

BEST BET: I think with the unders market looking a bit short you may want to lay Nacional or a cheeky punt on a score draw!

Libertad XI (probable) 4-5-1

R. Muñoz; C. Bonet, J. Bizera, I.Benegas, M.Samudio; R.Gamarra, V.Caceres, S.Aquino, J.Santana, L.Civelli; P.Velazquez

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STATS

Previous meeting in Copa Libertadores

1968 group stage- Nacional 4-0 Libertad, Libertad 0-2 Nacional

Libertad last 5 away games in Copa Libertadores

Pld 5 W 1 D 1 L 3 GF 3 GA 8 – lost last three to El Nacional/Velez/Fluminense

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By Ralph Hannah

Authors Note: All bets via Betfair, correct at time of writing

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