Nacional of Uruguay, Universidad de Chile, Alianza Lima and Universitario can all make sure of top-two finishes if they win their respective matches in week ten of the Copa Libertadores 2010. Elsewhere, Colo-Colo, Deportivo Cuenca and Independiente Medellin each need three points to maintain their remote hopes of progressing beyond the group phase. FIFA.com previews this week’s six matches.
Game of the week
Flamengo-Universidad de Chile
Wednesday 7 April, Rio de Janeiro, Estadio Maracana, 21.50 (local time)
La U have a tough but tantalising task ahead of them at the Maracana. The Group 8 leaders will secure at least second place in what is a very tight pool if they can down Flamengo on their own patch. Yet although Gerardo Pelusso’s men beat the Brazilians in Santiago earlier in the group, Fla are an altogether different proposition in Rio de Janeiro and have the incentive of moving top if they can see off the Chileans. With that objective in mind, coach Andrade will once again be lining up with star strikers Adriano and Vagner Love.
Universitario have what is, on paper, an altogether easier task at home to Bolivian strugglers Blooming in Group 4. Victory for the Peruvians, who lie second with eight points, will guarantee them a top-two placing, taking them out of reach of third-placed Lanus. Currently third on seven points, the Argentinians will then have to beat Universitario in their final game and hope that current leaders Libertad are defeated by Blooming to have any possibility of advancing as one of the six best second-placed teams.
Group 6 pacesetters Nacional of Uruguay will finish no lower than second if they can avoid defeat at Deportivo Cuenca on Wednesday. Bottom of the section on three points, the Ecuadorians know that nothing less than victory will do for them. Unbeaten away from home, the Montevideo outfit need four points from their final two games to make sure of winning the group.
One point is all Alianza Lima require from their home game with the already eliminated Bolivar to retake the lead in Group 3 and knock fellow countrymen Juan Aurich out of the running. Alianza should be capable of collecting of all three points, having won both their home matches to date, scoring six goals and conceding just the one.
Two sides hoping for a miracle are Colo-Colo and Independiente Medellin. El Cacique’s hopes are hanging by a thread in Group 7, which means they have no option but to beat Deportivo Italia in Venezuela on Tuesday evening. The Colombians face a similar task in their Group 1 game at home to bottom-placed Cerro Porteno. Anything less than a win will result in their elimination.
Player to watch
Wilmer Aguirre (Alianza Lima)
The powerful Peruvian striker has failed to score since hitting a stunning hat-trick against Estudiantes on Matchday 2. Can Aguirre rediscover his scoring touch against Bolivar at the Estadio Alejandro Vilanueva on Thursday?
30 - The number of times that Nacional of Uruguay have faced Ecuadorian opposition in the Copa Libertadores. Since the first of those matches back in 1967, El Bolso have won 15 times, drawn seven and lost eight, all of those defeats coming away from home.
What they said
“Obviously Cruzeiro’s defeat of Velez has left us with very little hope of going through. Mathematically we still have a chance, though, and we’ll be going all out to win in Venezuela. If we can get a good result, we’ll stay alive until the final match,” Colo-Colo coach Hugo Tocalli.
Universitario (PER) – Blooming (BOL)
Deportivo Italia (VEN) – Colo-Colo (CHI)
Deportivo Cuenca (ECU) – Nacional (URU)
Flamengo (BRA) – Universidad de Chile (CHI)
Independiente Medellin (COL) – Cerro Porteno (PAR)
Alianza Lima (PER) – Bolivar (BOL)