Corinthians vs Nacional
07/03/2012, 22.00 hs (01.00 GMT)
Nacional have travelled to São Paulo knowing that they must avoid defeat to keep their Copa Libertadores hopes alive after losing their opener against Cruz Azul at home. Javier Torrente (who was put in stadium jail at the weekend) will look to play a slightly different side than the one that lost to Olimpia on Saturday. He may try the pace of Angel Orué and Javier Gonzalez up front despite the good form of Ariel Bogado who has scored in his last three games in all competitions. Defender Denis Caniza says the Academia must try and “suffocate them with pressing in midfield” and expect a well drilled Nacional side to press hard and attack quickly on the break.
Nacional have had a mixed season so far, having started sluggishly they went on a run of three straight wins to briefly sit joint top of the Apertura 2012 table. However last weekend’s defeat will be a blow in confidence ahead of the tall order that is an away trip to one of Brazil’s top clubs.
Corinthians have the peculiar record of being World Champions (2000) despite never having won a continental competition, this is their 10th appearance in the Copa Libertadores. They qualified on the virtue of winning a hotly-contested Brazilian national championship last year and the man to watch out for is the veteran Portuguese international Liédson who has had a formidable scoring record since joining. The Paraguayans should expect a hostile atmosphere, the Timão claim to be the biggest group of fans in Brazil.
Nacional XI (possible): I.Don; R.Mazacotte, D.Caniza, H.Miranda, D.Mendoza; C.Ruiz Peralta, M.Riveros, J.Villarreal, R.Caceres; A.Orué, J.Gonzalez
Nacional vs Brazilian teams
Pld 2 W 0 D 0 L 2 GF 0 GA 5 – Nacional faced São Paulo twice in the 2010 group stages
One to Watch: Marcos Riveros – the defensive midfielder is back from a difficult spell in Argentina and has been showing good form recently. He will be key in trying to curb Brazilian forays and
Prediction: It is hard to see the Paraguayans have enough quality to take something from this game, they will try to defend and counter so it could be low scoring, 1-0
Selected Odds: Corinthians win 1.31, Draw 5.6, Nacional win 14.0; 1-0 scoreline 6.8; Under 2.5 Goals 2.04
BEST BET: With little value on the win maybe try Corinthians to be winning at half time (1.76) – against Cruz Azul the Paraguayans were blown away by the high tempo in the first 20 minutes and tonight could be more of the same.
By Ralph Hannah
Author’s Note: All odds up to date at time of writing and via Betfair