Sao Paulo banking on resolute backline
Sao Paulo defender Rafael Toloi believes his side's excellent defensive record will help the Brazilian giants reach the Copa Sudamericana final. Sao Paulo host Chilean side Universidad Catolica tomorrow night in the second leg of the tournament's semi-finals.
Ney Franco's side have not conceded any goals at home in the competition so far and Toloi knows if they maintain that record at the Morumbi they will progress, whether they score themselves or not, after a 1-1 draw in Santiago last week.
"Catolica are a great team but we have been playing very well in defence. If we do not concede goals we'll reach the final," Toloi told reporters in Sao Paulo.
"I'm hopeful we mark well in order to progress. All the players go back to mark when needed, even forwards, so we are hopeful of a repeat on Wednesday. It is important to be careful all the time and not concede goals."
Midfielder Jadson does not believe penalties will be needed tomorrow night, adding: "We are not expecting penalties. If we play the same way we've been playing so far, we'll qualify. The draw in Chile was a shame because it could have been a 3-1 win for us. We created opportunities we failed to finish. We hope to be more lucky next game."
Defender Rhodolfo is doubtful for Sao Paulo due to a shin injury, while midfielder Fernando Cordero is expected to return to the Universidad side after he was banned for the first leg.
Catolica's Argentinian forward Nicolas Trecco told reporters in Santiago: "We are full of hope and confidence. We know the 0-0 score is useless for us. We must play a very intelligent match. In the first match, when we attacked them they felt uncomfortable and we had a chance to win."
Forward Alvaro Ramos added: "We know we can play a good game. We are totally convinced and hopeful of qualifying. Sao Paulo will feel the pressure and we must be calm, show our football on the field and win."
The remaining semi-final will be played in Bogota on Thursday between Colombian side Millonarios and Argentina's Tigre after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.