Copa Libertadores Preview: Nacional vs Deportivo Táchira

Nacional vs Deportivo Táchira
Estadio Feliciano Caceres
13/03/2012, 19.45

If Nacional are to improve their already slim hopes of progressing to the next stage they must win what is on paper their easiest fixture against Deportivo Táchira who boast the lowest win ratio (20.95%) of any side to have played more than 100 Copa Libertadores matches. The Paraguayan club’s first two outings ended in defeats to Cruz Azul (2-1) and Corinthians (2-0) meaning they desperately need to record their first victory of the campaign to avoid the same fate as 2009 and 2010 when they crashed out in the group stage.

Nacional's first game against Cruz Azul

The game takes place at Luque’s Feliciano Caceres (the Arsenio Erico is too small to host international games) where Nacional also played at the weekend and recorded a notable victory against then league leaders Cerro Porteño. But one of the heroes of that game, Ariel Bogado, is set to miss out with injury a really cruel blow considering the striker’s excellent recent form. In midfield they will set out to press with Marcos Riveros doing a lot of the dirty work. One of the key decisions is who will play at left back, David Mendoza could return but his understuday against Cerro Porteño, Marcos Miers, must be giving Javier Torrente a selection headache following a strong display on Saturday. The Academia will line up in a 4-4-2 with the brief experiment of three at the back against Cruz Azul relegated to the dustbin of history.

Ariel Bogado will be sorely missed

Deportivo Táchira arrive in Asunción with just one point in the bag, a surprise home draw with Corinthians followed by a 4-0 rout by Cruz Azul in Mexico. Friday’s league victory ended a five-game winless streak with the side currently sitting 8th in the Venezuelan league. The man to watch out for is José Villafraz, the veteran midfielder will try to conduct proceedings and has netted three goals in his last five appearances. But even with his best efforts I see this one as three valuable points for the home side.

Nacional XI (probable): I.Don; R.Mazacotte, H.Miranda, D.Caniza, D.Mendoza; C.Ruiz Peralta, M.Riveros, J.Villarreal, R.Caceres; R.Texeira, G.Cano

Prediction: 2-0

SELECTED ODDS: Nacional win 1.57, Draw 4.0, Táchira 7.6; 2-0 scoreline 7.0, Under 2.5 goals 1.76

BEST BET: Nacional have had a habit of scoring early, most of their goals this season have been in the first half so if you fancy them to win but feel outright is too short try Nacional to be winning at Half Time currently 2.22

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STATS & TRIVIA

Nacional last 5 home in Copa Libertadores

Pld 5 W 2 D 0 L 3 GF 7 GA 8

Táchira last 5 away in Copa Libertadores

Pld 5 W 0 D 1 L 4 GF 4 GA 13

Nacional have never played a Venezuelan side before. They were meant to face Táchira in 1986 but on that occassion Venezeulan sides didn’t participate with the Venezuelan FA (FVF) suspended by FIFA. 

Nacional are looking for their 30th goal in the competition, they are currently on 29, Táchira are on 90.

Táchira have played Guaraní, Libertad and Cerro Porteño in the 2009, 2010, 2011 editions of the tournament, in those six meetings they managed 3 wins, 1 draw and suffered 2 defeats including an away win over Guaraní. 

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FULL SQUAD LIST:

GK: Ignacio Don, German Caffa

DEF: Denis Caniza, Raul Piris, David Mendoza, Ricardo Mazacotte, Herminio Miranda, Marcos Miers

MID: Gustavo Noguera, Gustavo Cristaldo, Ramón Cáceres, Silvio Torales, Carlos Ruiz, Marcos Riveros, Javier Villareal, Derlis Orué

ATT: Rodrigo Teixeira, Germán Cano, Ángel Orué

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By Ralph Hannah

Author’s Note: All odds up to date at the time of writing, vía Betfair

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