After two matchdays, the last day will conclude the round of 16 stage. Which two teams will complete the list for the quarterfinals?
Libertad (Paraguay) v Boca Juniors (Argentina)
First leg score: 0-2
When? Friday, 0030
Where? Estadio Nicolas Leoz, Asuncion
Libertad would have prefered to meet Boca before the World Cup break, while they were in a great momentum, unlike their Argentine rival who was very close to being eliminated in the group stage. A 2-0 loss at the Bombonera is not the end of the world, especially due to Boca’s last unconvincing performances, but even though they will play at home in one of the toughest stadiums in Paraguay, it’ll be very hard for Libertad to try and overcome the two-goal deficit. If Libertad is looking for some optimism, they can find it in their three-win streak which came after the loss to Boca. Coach Villalba will continue with the same starting line-up who has the momentum and scored six goals in their last three matches.
But with all due respect, this match depends on Boca. They have a promising advantage, tons of experience and one of the best teams in the continent in order to qualify to the quarter-finals. They failed to impress in their last two league matches, which may cost striker Mauro Zarate his spot in the starting line-up and Raul Abila may return instead. Barros-Schelotto won't take risks and he'll have Carlos Tevez and Dario Benedetto on the bench, just in case. Boca will miss, of course, Colombian left back Frank Fabra, due to an injury. However, besides him the whole squad is fit and ready to play.
Palmeiras (Brazil) v Cerro Porteño (Paraguay)
First leg score: 2-0
When? Friday, 0245
Where? Allianz Parque, São Paulo
Palmeiras made a huge step towards the quarter-finals three weeks ago with their road win 2-0 in Paraguay, which basically makes Cerro’s mission almost impossible. Palmeiras are not only the favourites to win this match, but also the favourites to go all the way. Their two-goal advantage should be enough, especially when they play in front of their fans. With an excellent run of 4 wins out of their last 5 matches; with key player, Miguel Borja, who was injured for two months, just to return to the first leg and score both goals and to win the match for Palmeiras. Coach Scolari will most probably continue with the same starting line-up as in the first leg, Palmeiras are clearly favourite to win the series.
On the other hand, the expectations in Cerro for this match are very low. They will come to play for their honour, but I highly doubt that it’ll be enough. Even the most optimistic fans of Cerro can’t believe that their team will win 3-0 in Brazil. The team is unstable, winning three and losing two matches from their last five. Uruguayan Hernan Novick, who didn’t play in the last match, will be fit, while the situation of Jorge Benitez is still uncertain. Spaniard coach, Fernando Jubero, will continue with his starting line-up and offensive strategy. He has no other option.
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