The Brazilian team will need to win Barcelona comfortable in order to achieve their big objective of this season, the Copa Libertadores
After losing the 1st leg 1-0 at the Monumental de Guayaquil, the Brazilians will have to turn the tie around at home, and they need to win by 2 or more goals in order to keep their Libertadores’ dream alive. They will have a completely packed Allianz Parque supporting them, since they have already sold 36 000 tickets, and the match is expected to be sold-out.
Both teams are focused in this competition, coming into this after 2 defeats in their domestic leagues. However, I see Palmeiras having the edge for this match, and I believe they have a good chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Their probable line-up is: Jailson; Mayke (Thiago Santos), Yerry Mina, Luan e Egídio; Jean e Bruno Henrique; Dudu, Guerra (Keno) e Róger Guedes; Deyverson.
Palmeiras’ form isn’t the best, but after an intense pre-season, where they were one of the biggest spenders. However, they didn’t work out exactly as planned (Felipe Melo and Borja) or they run into physical problems (Guerra and William Bigode).
On Sunday their starters were rested and trained at Atibaia, where the press has released that Cuca organized his training, emulating how Barcelona’s tactical scheme should be for this Wednesday.
What we saw on this last match was a team well below average, and that shouldn’t be able to help their starting line-up much if i tis needed, with the exception of Moises who showed good signs, but is still recovering from an injury so he might not start yet on Wednesday, since he didn’t present the needed intensity to win against an opponent who is also focused on this competition.
What I see as their big issue for Wednesday is the likely absence of Guerra. Dudu will most likely be his replacement, since he played that role in the match against Avaí, and he was decent, although a bit lacklustre compared to last year.
His speed, dribble and good touch can be effective against a team that comes into this match with a defensive mindset. If Guerra is in fact available it will be the best of both worlds for Palmeiras’ fans, since it might be the first time they see their ideal squad this season.
With Deyverson’s arrival, they will have a pretty scary attack and a solid midfield, with good players both offensively and defensively.
Barcelona Guayaquil should go into this duel at Allianz Parque with the following line-up: Banguera; Valencia, Aimar, Arreaga e Velasco; Minda, Oyola e Díaz; Castillo, Caicedo and Álvez.
After finishing in 2nd place on the Apertura tournament, the team hasn’t found itself yet in the Clausura and they have only 1 win in 4 matches, which was against last placed Fuerza Amarilla, who is clearly one of the worse teams on the Ecuadorian championship.
On Sunday, even playing with all their starters, who will most likely play against Palmeiras as well, the team surprisingly lost to Universidad de Chile, who was yet to get a point up on the league table.
The team will have 3 players missing, but all of these were missing too in the 1st leg match, so this isn’t a big blow. They will have however Esterilla and Pineida available again.
The team will need to repeat their good performances against Estudiantes and Botafogo, where they were able to surprise with quick counter attacks in matches were they were considered underdogs.
However, when they had a chance to take the lead of the group, they choked against an already eliminated Atlético Nacional at Colombia. Against a strong opponent like Palmeiras, I believe they will have to face the same difficulties as they did in Bogotá.
Palmeiras vs Barcelona Pick :
On a final note, both teams are not in a good form domestically, so Barcelona SC see this as a great chance for an Ecuadorian team to reach the quarter finals of a Copa Libertadores, something that doesn’t happen since 1998 (when the team reached the final).
Palmeiras, after their super season, made loads of signings and looked pretty weak on the Campeonato Paulista. They were also eliminated last Thursday from Copa do Brasil and they see their arch-rivals Corinthians ever closer to winning the Brazilian Serie A.
This Copa Libertadores, which was one of their main objectives along with the FIFA Club World Cup, is now their only possible objective. With that said, I see this Palmeiras side in a better position to get the win.
The team has superior technical quality when compared to the visitors, and this was visible in the 1st leg, where the Brazilians dominated almost the entire match,
but they came up short on the finishing aspect, and the defence slipped up on the final minutes, which put them in this tougher situation for the 2nd leg.
Even with players missing, I think that playing at home and needing this result, the team will overcome the Ecuadorian’s defence.