Copa Libertadores: the last sixteen

Wednesday night finally saw the completion of the 2007 Torneo Apertura, as Gimnasia La Plata hosted Arsenal de Sarandí and drew 1-1, the match having been postponed in December due to clashing with the first leg of Arsenal’s Copa Sudamericana final. The bigger news, though, is the draw for the first knockout round of the Copa Libertadores, which, now that the groups have all finished, looks like this…

Copa Libertadores 2008 last sixteen:
Atlético Nacional (COL) vs. Fluminense (BRA)
Club América (MEX) vs. Flamengo (BRA)
San Lorenzo de Almagro vs. River Plate
Lanús vs. Atlas (MEX)
Boca Juniors vs. Cruzeiro (BRA)
Liga DU Quito (ECU) vs. Estudiantes de La Plata
Santos (BRA) vs. Cúcuta Deportiva (COL)
Nacional (URU) vs. São Paulo (BRA)

The side listed first will play the first leg at home, and the ties begin next week. Most intriguing is the all-Argentine tie between River and San Lorenzo. Last time these sides met in the Copa was in 1996, when the sides drew 1-1 in the Nuevo Gasometro and River triumphed 2-1 in the return, going on to lift the cup. Their victorious manager was, of course, Ramón Díaz, so the rematch already has its sub-plot.

Boca have an already difficult tie against Cruzeiro which will be made trickier still by the fact that the Brazilians have the advantage of playing the second leg in Belo Horizonte, but if both they and River can get through, the ‘tree’ of the knockout rounds would pitch them against each other in the final – since two sides from one country aren’t allowed to meet in the final, this tie would, result in the semi-finals being re-jigged to see a double-headed superclásico at that stage. It would be the third super of the new century in the Libertadores semis, but European readers don’t dismay – if it happens, it will be better than Liverpool vs. Chelsea…

Estudiantes may well be pleased to get their high-altitude leg away to LDU Quito out of the way first, whilst Lanús have an unexpected rivalry with Atlas – the Mexicans are managed by Miguel Brindisi, whose first professional club, way back when, were local rivals Huracán…

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9 thoughts on “Copa Libertadores: the last sixteen

  1. Not happy! I was hoping River would get Nacional (URU) or one of the Colombian sides. Still, I think they will squeak past San Lorenzo. As will Boca past Cruziero.

    Intriguing matchups. I will be interested to see how Club America play at the Maracana. I can see them getting overwhelmed there. Atlas on the other hand looked very comfortable away to Colo Colo (tho of course they got routed in la Bombonera). I think Lanus may have problems there.

  2. I’m supporting Flamengo all the way! 8 months living in Rio were enough to get the Fla-fever!

    I’ve checked the draw and Flamengo won’t have to play either Fluminense (the enemy!) or Boca until the final. But a possible semifinal against Estudiantes will mean the end of the road for the black and red hoops, I’m afraid.

    Nice River vs. San Lorenzo match-up. The two less-successful Argentine team in the history of the Copa Libertadores! River won only twice in I don’t know how many editions (they hold the participation record for an Argentine team in the Copa Libertadores. And they only won it twice because they faced America de Cali in the final, a team that lost all of their 5 Copa Libertadores finals in history!) and San Lorenzo are yet to win this elusive title that they’d kill for winning.

    It’ll be interesting to see Ramon Diaz and D’Alessandro facing their old team.

    So it’s 5 Argies, 5 Brazilians, 2 Mexicans, 2 Colombians and 1 from Ecuador and Uruguay. Surprised to see no teams from Paraguay! They usually perform well in the Libertadores.

  3. http://globoesporte.globo.com/ESP/0,,GEN929-4277,00.html

    Go there and make your predictions.

    Click on MATA-MATA (which means KNOCK-OUT STAGES in Portugues).

    I’ve got Boca v. Estudiantes in the final.

    Boca beats Fluminense in the semis while Estudiantes knock out Flamengo after eliminating River in the QF.

    The champion?

    Deja-vu of the Apertura 2006. Es-tu-dian-tes!

    What about you’re forecasts?

  4. Yes, Libertad in recent years has done well, but they were simply awful in the group stage this year.

    The Brazilians really underperformed last year. I genuinely think that Brazilian sides are intimidated by Boca. Which is understandable, yet Mexican and Colombian sides don’t seem to be. Boca still gets results against them too, but they don’t roll over and die in la Bombonera as did Gremio last season, and most Brazilian sides Boca has played over the years.

  5. I think D’Alessandro would prefer to be guillotined twice, one time after the other, than to play these two games against River.

  6. Justin…you are spot on in what you say about Brazilians and La Bombonera. Somehow they think they are going to die there. The mental aspect just kills their game and they don’t compete in Boca’s stadium. I’m sure Cruzeiro fans are already thinking they are out of the Copa. It’s incredible. I remember telling my Brazilian friends that if only they would go there and consider the possibility of playing with all their hearts, they’ll do just fine.

    Bostero Forever: Don’t forget D’Alessandro is a Racing supporter. I’m sure he won’t like the idea of playing in River against River but it’s not like that’s the team of his heart. Yes, he is very identified with River but I’m sure he’ll be fine and he’ll be keen on showing what River are missing after not taking the chance of signing him before he went to San Lorenzo.

  7. ‘I’ve checked the draw and Flamengo won’t have to play either Fluminense (the enemy!) or Boca until the final.’

    Careful, Seba – if Flu and Fla both get as far as the semi-finals, they’ll have to play each other, remember. CONMEBOL will re-arrange the draw if two teams from one country make it that far, to avoid an all-one-nationality final.

    So there’s a possibility, a slim one, of Fla-Flu in one semi and a superclásico in the other. We’ll see…

    And Seba, thanks for the predictor link. For future reference, due to a lot of spam comments a few days ago, I’ve had to tighten the filter – if there are any links in a post from now on, it’ll have to wait until I approve it before it shows up here. Do share them still, though!

  8. Nice Sam! I forgot about that one. So I guess if my predictions were right then Fla-Flu could be one of the semis and Boca-Estudiantes the other.

    Flamengo v. Boca in the final? The two most popular teams from Brazil and Argentina respectively! It would be great!

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