After securing a 2-1 lead in Guadalajara last week, Internacional are hot favourites to lift the 2010 Copa Libertadores in front of their own fans in Porto Alegre. However, while the Brazilians are guarding against euphoria, the Mexicans are confident of staging an unlikely comeback and snatching the trophy for the first time in their history.
FIFA.com previews the final act in Latin America’s premier club competition.
The big match
Internacional-Chivas, Estadio Beira-Rio (Porto Alegre), Wednesday, 18 August, 21.50 (local time)
All O Colorado need to do to win the competition for a second time is draw or lose 1-0. However, having prevailed in all six of their home games in this year’s tournament, the Brazilians will want to claim the trophy in style. Worryingly for their opponents, Inter have scored 11 goals and conceded just one at their Beira-Rio fortress so far during their campaign, and have gone 450 minutes without conceding there, disposing of the likes of Argentinian champions Banfield, 2009 Libertadores winners Estudiantes and domestic rivals Sao Paulo along the way.
On the downside, the hosts have four key players struggling with injuries: midfielders Sandro and Pablo Guinazu, both vital to their pressing game in the midfield, as well as Tinga and in-form striker Alecsandro. It remains to be seen whether any of the above will be able to take to the field.
Chivas can take heart from their away record in the competition, having won on the road in the last 16, the quarter-finals and in the semis, when they downed Universidad de Chile 2-0 to reach the final. The Guadalajara faithful are hopeful of a similar outcome this time around as they seek to become the first Mexican team to win the competition.
Players to watch
Renan (Internacional) vs Adolfo Bautista (Guadalajara)
After returning to the club during South Africa 2010, goalkeeper Renan could hold the key to Inter’s second Copa Libertadores triumph. A clean sheet would guarantee that objective, although Chivas striker Bautista, who opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time in the first leg, will be doing his level best to prevent. If his side are to have any chance of overhauling Inter, the veteran goalscorer may well need to repeat the trick in Porto Alegre.
7 - Inter fans snapped up all the tickets for the return leg at the Beira-Rio seven days before the game, without even knowing the result of the first leg. The online allocation was sold out within a matter of three hours.
What they said
“Ever since the end of the match in Mexico we’ve been telling ourselves we need to stick really tightly to them because Chivas have a lot of quality players. If we can do what we did in the first game, then we’ll have every chance,” Kleber, Internacional left-back.
“Adrenalin can often help you get into a game, but to be in contention you also have to be aware and stay calm. The coach has been giving us some really good advice and we all know we can’t let that adrenaline get the better of our concentration, which is what happened in the first game,” Hector Reynoso, Guadalajara captain.
Voice of the fans
“Inter are one of the best sides in Brazil right now. If they play the way they did last Wednesday, then nothing can stop them taking the title. I can see them winning 2 or 3-0 and I’m sure a side called Inter will go on to become world champions. I just don’t know if it’ll be the one from Brazil or the one from Italy.” FIFA.com user igorlima1995 (Brazil)
Have your say
Which player do you think will prove decisive in Wednesday’s second leg?