Nacional vs Corinthians
Estadio Oddone Sarubbi
11/04/2012, 21.00 hs (02.00 BST)
Nacional need to break their scoring duck against Brazilian sides to boost hopes of qualification from Group 6 in the Copa Libertadores. A win tonight in Ciudad del Este would leave La Academia just one point from the coveted top two places before their final game in Mexico against Cruz Azul. Corinthians on the other hand know that just a point will be enough to secure their passage into the next phase, it promises to be a tense affair.
Nacional, based in Asunción, arrived in Ciudad del Este yesterday with a full squad to choose from and Javier Torrente has opted for a 4-3-1-2 formation clearly seeing the midfield as a key battleground. Defensive midfielders Javier Villarreal and Marcos Riveros will try to stop the Timão tide with Silvio Torales on hand to help. The latter may drift to a flank when Nacional have possession to allow Derlis Orué more space to work in as he tries to link with the two strikers. The attacking partnership of Ricardo Teixeira and German Cano has worked well, the Brazilian Teixeira offers a physical presence while his Argentinian teammate Cano is fast and has better movement. On the bench is Paraguayan forward Ariel Bogado who could come in to form an offensive trident if the home team are still in need of a goal in the second half.
São Paulo’s biggest club, Corinthians, are doing well in the Paulista state championships, unbeaten in their last six and winning the previous four games. The key player is veteran striker Liedson who has the quality to unsettle Nacional’s defence, further back in midfield is Danilo who scored in first game between these sides. They will be cheered on by a large crowd as the game is a relatively short 800 kilometres away and Brazilians can cross freely into Ciudad del Este.
Prediction: Corinthians have more quality but less motivation to win and have struggled away so a score draw is on the cards, 1-1
Selected Odds: Nacional win 3.95, Draw 3.4, Corinthians win 2.12; 1-1 scoreline 7.2; Under 2.5 Goals 1.79; Nacional/Draw 17.0
BEST BET: Try Unders for this one – the game is likely to be tense and the seven Copa games involving either Corinthians or Nacional this year have yielded just 1.85 goals on average
Nacional XI (confirmed): I.Don; R.Mazacotte, D.Caniza, H.Miranda, M.Miers; S.Torales, M.Riveros, J.Villarreal; D.Orué; R.Teixeira, G.Cano
STATS AND TRIVIA
Nacional vs Brazilian teams in Copa Libertadores
Pld 3 W 0 D 0 L 3 GF 0 GA 7 – Nacional faced São Paulo twice in the 2010 group stages before Corinthians this year
Nacional last 5 home games in Copa Libertadores
Pld 5 W 2 D 0 L 3 GF 6 GA 8
Corinthians last 5 away games in Copa Libertadores
Pld 5 W 1 D 2 L 2 GF 3 GA 4
The game is being played in Ciudad del Este on the Paraguay/Brazil border to attract more Brazilian fans with the cheapest tickets priced at US$50 out of reach for most local fans.
GK: Ignacio Don, Oscar Agüero, German Caffa,
DEF: Matías Pérez, Williams Pereira, Raul Piris, Herminio Miranda, Denis Caniza, Marcos Miers, David Mendoza, Ricardo Mazacotte,
MID: Gustavo Noguera, Gustavo Cristaldo, Derlis Orue, Ramón Caceres, Carlos Ruiz, Marcos Riveros, Javier Villarreal, Silvio Torales,
ATT: Ariel Bogado, Rodrigo Teixeira, Javier González, Germán Cano, Angel Orué, César Florenciañez
By Ralph Hannah
Author’s Note: All odds up to date at time of writing and via Betfair