Waiting game at an end
© AFP

Ten sides have already made it through to the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores and the final six places will be decided this week. FIFA.com previews a vital few days in Latin America's biggest and best club competition, with no fewer than 12 games on the card.

Game of the week
Colo Colo-Palmeiras (Group 1)
Wednesday 29 April, Estadio Monumental (Santiago), 20.50 (local time)

Sport Recife booked their place in the next round last week, leaving the Chilean giants and their Brazilian opponents to battle it out for the final qualifying slot. The two sides are locked on seven points although El Cacique boast a superior goal difference and only need a draw to go through. For their part O Verdão can take heart from the fact that compatriots Recife beat Colo Colo in Santiago earlier in the group. Nevertheless Vanderlie Luxemburgo's men came off second best at home to the Chileans back in March, and a similar outcome on Wednesday will send them out of the competition.

Elsewhere
In Group 2, where both qualifying places are still up for grabs, Boca Juniors entertain Deportivo Tachira hoping to finally seal a berth in the next round after missing their first opportunity to do so last week. The Buenos Aires powerhouses are in such a strong position at the top of the section that they can afford to lose by two goals and still go through. The other team in with a chance of progressing are Deportivo Cuenca, who are tied on nine points with Tachira but have the better goal difference. The Ecuadorians, who will be urging Boca on, travel to bottom club Guarani.

The last available place in Group 6 will go to either Everton or Guadalajara, who meet in Vina del Mar on Wednesday. A point clear in second, the Mexicans will progress if they can avoid defeat although Nelson Acosta's men will be anxious for revenge after slumping to a 6-2 defeat when the two sides met in February.

Another Chilean side in search of a spot in the last 16 is Universidad de Chile. To advance from Group 7 the 1996 semi-finalists have to win on their visit to Aurora of Bolivia and hope that Gremio, who are already through, defeat second-placed Boyaca Chico in Porto Alegre. A draw in that match would leave La U with the task of having to win by at least two goals to qualify at the expense of the Colombians.

Libertad have long since claimed top spot in Group 8, with Universitario of Peru and San Luis of Mexico fighting it out to join them. The Peruvians, inspired by the evergreen Nolberto Solano, lie three points clear in second and with a visit to the already eliminated San Lorenzo to come, they will be confident of checking into the next round. The Mexicans, meanwhile, travel to Asuncion to take on Libertad and will be keeping a close eye on proceedings in Buenos Aires.

The two tickets from Group 3 have already gone to Nacional of Montevideo and Universidad San Martin, rendering the week's two encounters in the section purely academic.

Player to watch
Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors)

The scorer of 20 goals in the history of the competition, the veteran Argentinian has just been recalled to international duty by Diego Maradona and will be out to cap a perfect week against Tachira on Thursday.

The stat
5 -
The number of years that have passed since a Peruvian side last qualified for the knockout rounds of the competition. Universidad San Martin de Porres finally broke the barren stretch this year. Can Universitario join them?

What they said
"If anyone thinks we'll be taking it easy, they're mistaken. We want to finish as high as possible so that we can play the second leg of our knockout matches at home. That's what we'll be looking for on Tuesday." Gremio goalkeeper Victor promises maximum concentration against Boyaca Chico.

This week's fixtures

Tuesday 28
Aurora (BOL) - Universidad de Chile (CHI)
Gremio (BRA) - Boyaca Chico (COL)
San Lorenzo (ARG) - Universitario (PER)
Libertad (PAR) - San Luis (MEX)

Wednesday 29
Liga de Quito (ECU) - Sport Recife (BRA)
Colo Colo (CHI) - Palmeiras (BRA)
Everton (CHI) - Guadalajara (MEX)
Lanus (ARG) - Caracas (VEN)

Thursday 30
Guarani (PAR) - Deportivo Cuenca (ECU)
Boca Juniors (ARG) - Deportivo Tachira (VEN)
Nacional (URU) - Nacional (PAR)
River Plate (ARG) - Universidad San Martin (PER)