Nacional vs Defensor Sporting
Defensores del Chaco, Asunción
22/07/2014; 20:15 (01:15 BST)
Semi-Final, 1st Leg
TV: Fox Sports (Latin America)
The wonderful story that is Nacional’s historic cup run resumes on Tuesday with their first ever semi-final in continental competition as they take on Uruguayan outfit Defensor Sporting. This will be the Academia’s 49th continental game, their 41st in the Copa Libertadores. They’ve won 4 of their 5 home games in this year’s tournament so will be confident they can take a good result to Montevideo.
Nacional haven’t played a competitive game in almost a month, that was a 6-2 defeat to Guaraní in the last game of the Apertura and actually ended the season in rotten form with no wins in their final 7 matches. However, this is a different game and another kind of motivation. Up front they are boosted by the returns from injury of both Fredy Bareiro and Julian Benítez while new signings Bryan Montenegro (on loan from Libertad) and Cecilio Dominguez (ex-Sol de América) will be eligible to play. Marcos Riveros was linked with a switch to Olimpia but the lure of a Libertadores semi-final was too much of a pull and he will continue with the Barrio Obrero club.
Defensor Sporting are also making history having gone one round further than their previous best in 2007 and 2009. While some of their success can be seen as a continuation of their performance in the 2012 U20s Copa Libertadores (they were runners up) with members of that squad such as Girorgian De Arrascaeta now in the senior side the main source of goals has been 36-year-old Nico Oliveira. The former Sevilla striker has scored five times and is joint topscorer in the competition.
It is fair to say we can expect a cagey game, not one of the Quarter Final’s 8 games went Over 2.5 goals and both of Nacional’s knockout games in the Defensores have been won 1-0. Could they complete the hattrick?
Nacional XI (probable): Ignacio Don; Ramón Coronel, Raúl Piris, Leonardo Cáceres, David Mendoza; Marcos Melgarejo, Marcos Riveros, Silvio Torales, Derlis Orué; Cecilio Domínguez, Fredy Bareiro.
Selected Odds: Nacional win 2.1, Draw 3.35, Defensor Sporting win 4.3, 1-0 home win 6.0, Under 2.5 goals 1.6
Best Bet: With the Under 2.5 odds on there is a bit of value in the 0-0 HT scoreline at 2.52 taking into account 3/4 of Nacional’s and all of Defensor’s knockout games were goalless after the first 45
Stats and Trivia
This is the first meeting between Nacional and Defensor Sporting.
Nacional’s most frequent result in this competition is a 3-1 defeat which has happened 5 times.
Nacional vs Uruguayan opposition (Copa Libertadores)
Pld 6 W 0 D 1 L 5 GF 5 GA 17
Nacional home to Uruguayan opposition (Copa Libertadores)
Pld 3 W 0 D 1 L 2 GF 1 GA 7
Nacional last five home in Copa Libertadores
Pld 5 W 4 D 1 L 0 GF 8 GA 4