Sporting Cristal vs Libertad
Estadio Nacional, Lima
12/03/2013; 19:15 (22:15 GMT)
TV: Fox Sports 2 (Paraguay); ESPN (UK)
The Gumarelo are unbeaten in the group and are on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stages, in fact a win would guarantee their passage into the last 16 with two games to spare. Libertad are unbeaten so far in the competition coming back from two goals down to salvage a draw against Sporting Cristal last week in Asunción. They have a mixed record in the Peruvian capital, having won, drawn and lost once on their previous three visits scoring three and conceding three.
Ruben Israel has almost a full squad to choose from although a key absentee is José Ariel Nuñez, the striker is injured and hasn’t traveled with the group. The idea seems to be to play Nelson Romero as a withdrawn striker behind Pablo Velázquez which will also give the Paraguayans a stronger defensive base, which is logical given that they are away from home. Almost none of these players were in action over the weekend against Carapeguá in the league match so they should be fully rested.
The draw in Asunción was a big boost to Cristal’s hopes of progressing to the knockout phase so they’ll surely be looking for a win tonight on home soil. The main man in the last fixture was Irven Avila who scored both goals and will hope to inflict more damage this evening.
A prediction is harder considering the draw last time round although I still fancy Libertad who beat Alianza Lima in 2012 and Universidad San Martín in 2011 in Peru.
Sporting Cristal XI (possible): Diego Penny; Nelinho Quina, Horacio Calcaterra, Nicolas Ayr, Jesús Alvarez; Eduardo Uribe, Jorge Cazulo, Carlos Lobatón, Irven Avila; Hernan Rengifo, Junior Ross
Libertad XI (probable): Rodrigo Muñoz; Jorge Moreira, Pedro Benitez, Ismael Benegas, Gustavo Mencia; William Mendieta, Sergio Aquino, Pablo Guiñazu, Miguel Samudio; Pablo Velazquez, Nelson Romero
Selected Odds: Sporting Cristal win 2.86, Draw 3.3, Libertad win 2.8, 0-1 win 8.8, Under 2.5 goals 1.74
Best Bet: The away win for me – if you aren’t convinced by Libertad then the second-best option would be Under 2.5 goals as their away games are rarely high scoring
Libertad head-to-head vs Peruvian opposition (Copa Libertadores)
Pld 9 W 5 D 3 L 1 GF 18 GA 9
Libertad away vs Peruvian opposition (Copa Libertadores)
Pld 4 W 2 D 1 L 1 GF 4 GA 3
Libertad last 5 away (Copa Libertadores)
Pld 5 W 2 D 2 L 1 GF 6 GA 5
Libertad have reached the Quarter Finals in their previous four continental competitions
By Ralph Hannah
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