On the past week, we had the definition of the encounters of the 8th finals of the Copa Libertadores, and, subsequently, the encounters of the quarter finals of the competition. Standing out, we have the encounter between the Brazilians, and once again, Boca Juniors and River Plate coming into the decisive stage of the play-offs in good form.
Palmeiras vs Grêmio: the clash between two completely different playstyles
On one side we have Palmeiras, with their millionaire roster, extremely competitive, but that doesn’t produce much with the ball possession.
On the other side we have Grêmio, one of the teams that likes to retain possession the most in Brazil, being the one that makes the most passes, but sometimes failing to score.
These are two different styles, but despite the weak points I’ve mentioned, they manage to be very good on their strongest points.
Due to the fact they play with a more transitional style, Palmeiras tends to be more vertical.
They come into the attack with strength, most of the times utilizing the wings. At home they are very strong, having won all their matches as hosts, scoring 11 goals and not conceding any.
Grêmio had a poor start to the competition, and some even doubted if they could advance. It is true that they’ve evolved a lot on their performances throughout the Copa Libertadores.
On the 8th finals, they have eliminated Libertad very easily, winning by 5-0 away from home.
They have a more controlling style. They manage to create spaces and reach the opposing goal with a lot of passes. Everton is their biggest offensive weapon, and besides that, they also have very good power away from home.
I see this 180-minutes clash being very tight, and I find a strong trend for the hosts to win. The odds on the bookmakers should be good due to the level of this encounter.
Internacional vs Flamengo: The solidity of the team from the South against the unevenness of the team from the capital
Here we have two teams with indisputable quality. Inter managed to build a competitive team, that has been forming for almost 3 seasons.
As for Flamengo, they’ve built a good team last season, and they’ve bought a set of great players, that however have very little experience at the club.
Inter plays on a 4-3-2-1 formation, with a lot of support of their defensive midfielders. Besides a great duo on defence, they manage to have with that trio of defensive midfielders, besides a great defensive solidity, a strong offensive transition.
On the 8th finals, against Nacional, they didn’t struggle much defensively. It is true that they didn’t create much on the 1st match, but their superiority was clear during the 180 minutes. They have good power of reorganization, besides being very strong on the air.
Flamengo almost mounted the roster of a national team. They’ve signed players with a lot of technical quality, elevating their level considerably, they’ve signed a Portuguese manager that is accustomed to managing great players.
The problem? They’ve done all of that during a season.
We see that Flamengo has individual quality, managing to have good offensive options, but they still struggle to have a playstyle to control their opponents. They attack very well, but they offer too many spaces to any team.
On the 8th finals, they were easily defeated away from home, crushing on the 2nd leg and needing to go to penalties to advance.
Their main weapon is their aggressiveness, which allied to a packed Maracanã, but on the same proportion, it has been a true thorn in their side playing far from home and changing their approach from extremely aggressive to more controlling and solid.
I see Internacional having the advantage, on aggregate, despite expecting two strong performance from the respective teams at home. On 1xbet, Internacional is priced at 6.50 to win the Libertadores, while Flamengo has odds of 7.00.
The Argentinians as favourites on the other side of the draw
Both Boca Juniors and River Plate have eliminated great opponents to reach this stage of the competition.
Boca advanced with 2 victories over Athletico-PR. On the first match, they’ve managed to withstand the pressure of the Brazilians, a team that manages to take the speed out of the game and play in their own way.
On the 2nd leg, the strength of the Bombonera.
They aren’t a very technical team, playing more with strength than in a plastic way. But they manage to be very competitive. Their next opponent will be LDU, that at home has an important strength, but they manage to hold on well when they play as visitors.
I predict that the Bombonera will make the difference once again. Boca is, behind Palmeiras, the 2nd biggest favourite to the title of the competition, with odds of 5.50 on Bet365.
River Plate had to suffer a little bit more to advance against Cruzeiro.
As the script suggested, we saw two extremely tense matches, without a lot of goalscoring chances, with two teams that manage to tighten up the match.
On the 1st match, River was more audacious, managing to create the best chances and inclusively losing a penalty on the last minute.
On the 2nd leg, Cruzeiro didn’t manage to own the actions, there was only a swap of a couple blows, but neither of them managed to be incisive enough.
— La Página Millonaria (@RiverLPM) August 4, 2019
On penalties, the star was the goalkeeper Armani, that defended two penalties and put the Argentinians on the next stage.
Now, their opponent will be Cerro Porteño. The Paraguayans have done very well so far, having a very aggressive style when playing at home, and also managing to be very solid as visitors.
I expect this one to be more balanced, but I’m appointing River as favourites in the first match at home, and if they get the victory, I believe they will be able to once again diminish the pace of the 2nd leg, and tighten up the match until the 90th minute.
I’ll remind you that we’re speaking about the current champions of the competition. River has 6.50 odds on Bet365 to renew the title.
Copa Libertadores will start to be decided next week, and we will bring you detailed analysis of the matches. Stay tuned!