In two months’ time, the final of the Copa Libertadores will be played. That’s a few days longer than the duration of the normal season. Well, it’s been an unusual year, hence the unusually long season.
The group stage of the competition was completed before the international break. From now till January, teams will now fight it out in the knockout stages of the competition. The remaining 32 teams will now fight tooth and nail for a chance to progress to the next round of the competition.
Of the teams that made it thus far, Gremio and Nacional are two teams that will be looking to go all the way. And they have a solid group stage record that they can leverage upon.
Both sides only lost once in the six group games played. While Nacional won five of those games, Gremio could only manage three wins. Unequal wins, yes, however, both sides kept it tight at the back, both keeping four clean sheets each. It’s no wonder they only conceded three goals in that round of games.
Boca Juniors of Argentina had the best defense of the group stage.
Click here to predict and win..
After managing four wins and an unbeaten run in the first half of their Copa Libertadores campaign this year, they kept five clean sheets.
The side from Argentina may have managed the best defensive display of the round. However, River Plate, another Argentine side, was the best offensive team in the group stage. They scored 21 goals in the six games they played – an average of three goals per game. The only side that came close to that was Palmeiras, with 17 group stage goals.
Click here to predict and win.
Three sides made it out of the group stage without losing: Palmeiras, Santos, and Boca Juniors. And all three teams finished the group stage as the top teams. They will now be taking on teams that finished in second from other groups.
The best of that bunch is Gurani and Racing. These two sides, although they finished second in their group, lost only once. While Gurani managed an average of two goals per game, Racing only scored nine goals. At this stage however, being second best is as good as going home.
Every goal is key to progressing from the group. Every goalkeeper save can keep a team in the running for a chance to lift the highly-coveted trophy. It’s the unforgiving stages of the tournament, a battle for the survival of the fittest.
For teams like Boca Juniors and River Plate, it’s a chance to add to the list of Copa Libertadores trophies in their cabinet. For other sides like Gurani, it’s a chance to win a maiden Copa Libertadores trophy. As club football continues in South America, there’s a lot at stake.
Which of these two sides will go all the way, or at least qualify for the next round of games? Join the conversation below by dropping your comments.