With the group stage of the Copa Libertadores da América winding down, almost everything is within an easy-to-follow script. Of the four nominees highlighted for the title, three won: Palmeiras, Flamengo and River Plate. Only one does not follow the performance, Atlético Mineiro, who won one and drew two. Among the heaviest jerseys on the continent, only Boca Juniors are in danger of getting lost.
Gallo, with five points, does not even lead the group, because they have a lower goal than Independiente del Valle, who has the same five points. Was the performance poor? not exactly. It is necessary to understand the context. Atletico have played two games away from home, against Tolima and del Valle, one there in Ibague (an undesirable trip) and the other at altitude.
You could say that Gallo’s opponents were more bored than those of Palmeiras and Flamengo. Palmeiras traveled to Venezuela and Ecuador, opponents so weak that Abel took victories using mixed teams – Emelec has a similar level to Del Valle, but at least they have the playing field at sea level. Flamengo played in an empty stadium in Peru and yesterday they hit a Catholic in a crisis in Chile.
By winning one and drawing another away from home, you can easily say that Atlético will increase the score in the second leg and win the set. But it will not be among the top three or four campaigns, so it is possible that any head-to-head matches against the other candidates, in a knockout, will be decided on the opponent’s field.
It is important to note that one of Atlético’s group-stage draw was against America-MG, in Mineirao, in a match which Gallo completely dominated, but that ended in a draw only because Ademir’s goal was checked, despite his offside position. Next week, they face each other again – at Independencia -, with Coelho effectively eliminated in the tournament. It is an advantage that the lot gave Gallo, not to leave the city and play ‘on his land’ even though he was a visitor.
Of the teams with 100%, River Plate can say they have won the most complex away matches – Fortaleza, in Castellao, and Colo Colo, captain of Chile.
Regardless of Gallo’s score, Corinthians and Boca Juniors stumbled in the first round against Always Reddy and Deportivo Kale in the group stage. Boca, who also lost in Itaqueira (without resistance), will be eliminated for the time being. Team Xeneize is weak and in the upcoming rounds there are clashes on the rise, against Always Ready who is still alive, and in Bombonera, against Corinthians. The challenge is to get the chances of qualifying for the final round, when he faces Deportivo Cali, in Buenos Aires.
Boca is that team that “if you let it get in”, it changes itself. It can never be underestimated. But at the moment he is most at risk of being disqualified from the playoffs.
Among other Brazilians, attitudes are very different. Athletico-PR, in a weak group, should pass. But in order to be first and escape a clash against the above-mentioned candidates in the Round of 16, they will need to recover from the defeat they suffered against Libertad this week. Red Bull Bragantino performs well in a complex group (according to opponents’ tradition) and now plays two matches at home against the Argentines. Fortaleza is in a tight spot, but has a chance of making it into the final round with the chance of competing for the spot in a head-to-head match with Colo Colo.
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