Spotlight on history men
The highlight of the latest round of Copa Libertadores matches is the meeting of two teams who, between them, have contested ten of the competition's 50 finals. With the group phase in full swing, there are plenty of other enticing match-ups on the card as the battle for places in the knockout phase intensifies. FIFA.com previews the week ahead in Latin America's premier club competition.
Game of the week
America de Cali-Sao Paulo (Group 4)
Thursday 5 March, Estadio Pascual Guerrero (Cali), 21.30 (local time)
There can be no disputing the Libertadores pedigree of these two sides. Between them, El Diablo Rojo and O Tricolor Paulista have appeared in one fifth of the tournament's 50 finals. Following four defeats in four appearances in the competition showpiece, the competition has become something of an obsession for the Colombians. But after beginning their latest bid for glory with defeat away to Defensor Sporting, America need a positive result on Thursday to maintain a realistic challenge this time around. Three-time winners Sao Paulo were held at home to Independiente Medellin in their group opener, however, and will be anxious not to let any more points slip as they push for their now-customary place in the last 16.
Group 1 is the only section where all four sides are in action this week. Palmeiras take on Colo Colo in Sao Paulo on Tuesday, in a game neither side dare lose. Both sides slipped to defeat on their group debuts, although El Cacique appear to have the greater need after falling at home to Sport Recife and with two games against reigning champions Liga de Quito still to come. Liga face off against the Brazilians in Recife on Wednesday, and should be in confident mood after overwhelming Deportivo in the Quito derby on Saturday.
In Group 8, Libertad entertain San Lorenzo in Asuncion in a potentially decisive clash. El Gumarelo collected maximum points from their opening two games, but should take nothing for granted against El Ciclón, who slumped to defeat away to Universitario a fortnight ago but ran out easy winners over River Plate in the Argentinian Clausura at the weekend.
Following that heavy defeat, Los Millonarios face an immediate test of their resolve when they travel to Peru to face Group 3 rivals Universitario San Martin. The omens are not good for the Argentinians. They lost 2-0 to their Peruvian hosts in the group phase last season, handing Universitario their first Libertadores win in their short history. Should River gain revenge, however, they will join Nacional of Uruguay at the top of the section.
Another Argentinian outfit aiming to maintain a perfect record are perennial favourites Boca Juniors. Denied the services of talismanic striker Martin Palermo, Los Xeneizes travel to Venezuela's Deportivo Tachira, who kicked off their Group 2 campaign with a surprise win at Paraguay's Guarani.
Staying in Venezuela, Caracas host unbeaten Group 6 leaders Guadalajara on Tuesday. Three points for Noel Sanvicente's side will allow them to leapfrog the Mexicans.
The week's two other fixtures involve two Bolivian sides looking for their first wins. Universitario de Sucre play host to Group 5 frontrunners Cruzeiro on Wednesday, while Aurora visit Universidad de Chile in Group 7 on the same day.
Player to watch
Walter Calderon (Liga de Quito)
The 22-year-old striker joined the reigning Libertadores champions at the end of last year and scored two goals in their opening match against Palmeiras. Can the muscular forward get in among the goals again when Liga face Sport?
13 - The number of years since an Argentinian side last won in Venezuela. In 1996 River Plate eased to a 4-1 triumph at Caracas en route to their second Libertadores title. In seven visits thereafter, Argentina's representatives have lost four and drawn three.
What they said
"It's always tough to play away, particularly in Caracas. They've just beaten Lanus, they're motivated and they've got quality players who battle for every ball. But if we want to get through to the next round we have to go and get the three points," Guadalajara defender Hector Reynoso.
This week's fixtures
Tuesday 3 March
Palmeiras (BRA) - Colo Colo (CHI)
Caracas (VEN) - Guadalajara (MEX)
Deportivo Tachira (VEN) - Boca Juniors (ARG)
Sport (BRA) - Liga de Quito (ECU)
Universitario de Sucre (BOL) - Cruzeiro (BRA)
Universidad de Chile (CHI) - Aurora (BOL)
Universitario San Martin (PER) - River Plate (ARG)
America de Cali (COL) - Sao Paulo (BRA)
Libertad (PAR) - San Lorenzo (ARG)