Copa Libertadores semi-final: Defensor Sporting vs Nacional preview

Defensor Sporting vs Nacional
Estadio Centenario, Montevideo
29/07/2014; 20:15 (01:15 BST)
Semi-Final, 2nd Leg (0-2 aggregate)
TV: Fox Sports (Latin America)

The tricolor arrive in Montevideo knowing they are just 90 minutes from the Copa Libertadores final. No Paraguayan side other than Olimpia have ever made a continental final and Nacional did the hard work in the first leg with two goals and an all-important cleansheet that gives them plenty of breathing space. It will be their fourth trip to Montevideo, they’ve lost the previous three by a two-goal margin.

Nacional celebrate goal in the 1st leg in typical fashion, Photo: Club Nacional Paraguay

Nacional celebrate goal in the 1st leg in typical fashion, Photo: Club Nacional Paraguay

Nacional took the game to their rivals in the 1st leg and were slick in midfield with the strength of the Riveros and Torales central midfield combination having been a theme of this Libertadores campaign. Their role is likely to be slightly more defensive this time but Gustavo Morinigo is confident he has the better side on paper and as such will keep the same XI that started the first leg. That means two strikers with Julian Benítez and Brian Montenegro hoping to get in behind the Uruguayan defence at every opportunity. The main man to watch however is Marcos Melgarejo, the 27-year-old winger was a constant threat and maybe now after this incredible season he will finally get the chance to test himself  abroad.

The iconic stadium, used for the first World Cup is the scene for tonight's game

The iconic stadium, used for the first World Cup is the scene for tonight’s game

Defensor Sporting were understandably negative in the game in Asunción but it backfired and now they need to score at least twice to have a chance of making the final. Ramón Arias is likely to return at full back replacing Etcheverry while 6 ft 5 in striker Joaquín Boghossian is set to replace Matías Alonso. With the inclusion of Boghossian in the violeta side it is likely that Nacional captain Raúl Piris will have his work cut out especially at set pieces.

Nacional XI (probable): Ignacio Don; Ramón Coronel, Raúl Piris, Leonardo Cáceres, David Mendoza; Marcos Melgarejo, Marcos Riveros, Silvio Torales, Derlis Orué; Brian Montenegro, Julian Benítez

Prediction: 1-1

Selected Odds: Defensor Sporting win 1.81, Draw 3.65,  Nacional win 5.1, 1-1 draw 7.2, Under 2.5 goals 1.7

Best Bet: Defensor have to go out and look for goals, Nacional have pace on the counter so Both Teams to Score is not out of the question

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Stats and Trivia

This is the second meeting between Nacional and Defensor Sporting.

Nacional’s previous three games in the Estadio Centenario ended in 2-goal defeats but they’ve always scored at least once, losing 3-1 twice and 4-2 once. 

Nacional vs Uruguayan opposition  (Copa Libertadores)

Pld 7 W 1 D 1 L 5 GF 7 GA 17

Nacional last five away in Copa Libertadores

Pld 5 W 0 D 3 L 2 GF 4 GA 8 
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Authors Note: All odds are selected from Betfair Sports and accurate at the time of writing, there is a live market on this game

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