Copa Sudamericana 2008 draw made

The initial draw for the 2008 Copa Sudamericana was made at the AFA headquarters on Tuesday. Not all the qualifiers are known yet, but so far we do know that River Plate, Boca Juniors (both invited rather than needing to qualify), Arsenal de Sarandí (as defending champions), San Lorenzo and Estudiantes (qualified via the league) will be there. There will also be two other Argentine sides in the preliminary round. There are details of the fixtures as they affect Argentina’s representatives here.

River Plate and Boca Juniors will start in the quarter-final. Boca will take on the winners of the previous round tie between Ecuadorian Copa Libertadores finalists LDU Quito and Bolívar of Bolivia. River, meanwhile, will play either Paraguay’s Libertad, or a Uruguayan side as yet unknown (they’ll play a qualifying playoff before meeting Libertad in the last 16). If Both sides reach the semi-finals, the draw will thow them together in a double-headed superclásico.

Copa Sudamericana holders Arsenal de Sarandí will begin their defence against the third-placed qualifiers from the CONMEBOL region, and will play the second leg away from home, by their own choice apparently. Argentina’s other qualifiers will play preliminary round ties between themselves before entering the last 16. San Lorenzo will play the third-placed qualifiers (currently Independiente), and Estudiantes will take on the fourth best (currently Argentinos Juniors).

This year’s edition of the tournament sees a couple of relatively small changes: first, the Mexican representatives will play from the first round this year, and secondly to prevent confusion the rules regarding away goals will be changed to match those of the Copa Libertadores – that is, away goals will count as a tie-breaker in all rounds except the final. The first matches in this year’s Sudamericana will be played on the 30th July.

14 thoughts on “Copa Sudamericana 2008 draw made

  1. Another silly showing by the Conmebol! They can’t do anything right!

    All you could see during that draw was: ARGENTINA 3 will play ECUADOR 4. PARAGUAY 2 v URUGUAY 3.

    Rubbish! Just rubbish! How can a draw (televised) be attractive if you don’t even know the name of the teams that are being drawn????

    And don’t even get me started on that ridiculous invitation that Boca and River get year after year to even skip the first rounds and start playing from the eight-finals onwards.

    How can you measure with a fair parameter Boca and River’s international cups titles with any other Argentine teams when they get a free ticket to the eight-finals every year and they only need to play 4 home and away legs?

    Ridiculous! It absolutely takes all the (little) seriousness this tournament has.

    I won’t watch it. I never do.

  2. I know what you mean, Seba. I did watch the final last year, but I couldn’t find myself wanting Arsenal to win really, Grondona and all that….
    I much preferred the Supercopa. I only starting watching Argentine futbol in the 90s, so I missed Racing’s 88 triumph, I heard and read about the 92 final run (didn’t it turn into a punch-up?), but at least the whole competition had a kind of point to it. This one seems very arbitrary, and possibly just there to fill a TV schedule before Christmas.
    If Argentina reverts to a single championship again – and I would be quite sad if that happens – then maybe AFA should ditch the Copa Sudamericana, and create a new cup competition for all AFA affialiated clubs, to fill those midweek gaps. It would be quite dull if only one club could call themselves trophy winners all year, but if there were a national cup – maybe starting in June, with the top division joining in in September, with a December final, I think that would create a lot of interest, especially if there were a Libertadores repechage place at stake.

  3. That Supercopa 92 wasn’t much of a punch-up. It was rather a beat-up by Cruzeiro! They scored 4 on us in Belo Horizonte and then we only managed to win 1-0 in Avellaneda.

    Now I don’t share your opinion on short tournaments. The point of them all was to keep the competition tight and give chances to a number of teams and blah blah blah.

    See this season…Lanús won the Apertura, River won the Clausura and yet, the two best teams were Boca and Estudiantes. And both would be coming into the last week of the season with everything to play for.

    The Apertura had a champion one week before the end and so did the Clausura.

    Besides…there were only two or three teams with chances to be champions after week 15 of the Apertura and the same happened with the Clausura.

    If you had, say, the champion plus the following 4 teams going to the next Copa Libertadores, the next 4 or 5 going to the Copa Sudamericana, the last two getting relegated and the third and fourth from bottom going to la promoción, you’d have virtually every team fighting for something.

    That’s clearly not the case for a lot of teams that have a bad start of either the Apertura or the Clausura and have no problems with the promedio. They can spend a good few months playing for NOTHING!

    If we had a year-round tournament (live almost every league in the world and as every serious league in the world), things would look like this:

    Boca would go with a 1-point cushion over Estudiantes to play the last week of the season.

    You’d have 4 teams fighting for the last berth for the next Copa Libertadores (Independiente 58, Argentinos Jrs. 58, Velez 56 and Tigre 56).

    Four other teams with chances to get the last ticket to the Sudamericana (Banfield 54, Lanús 53, Newell’s 53 and Huracán 52).

    That’s 12 teams fighting for something big coming into week 38.

    Arsenal playing for nothing (saved from relegation, promoción and out of contention for the cups).

    And all the other teams fighting to avoid the drop.

    Colón 42
    Olimpo 42
    Rosario Central 41
    Racing Club 40
    Gimnasia LP 36
    San Martín SJ 35
    Gimnasia J 34

    No team would be relegated before the last week of the season with San Martín de San Juan still with a chance to stay through the promoción.

    What about the fight to avoid la promoción?

    To me…it’s no contest between a proper 38-week tournament and that joke that are the short 19-week tournaments, 2 champions per year system.

    If only the AFA could change the system! It’ll be hard for somebody to argue the Argentine is not the most attractive league in the World. As it stands…it’s not (despite its huge potential).

  4. Personally Seba, I don’t mind the short tournaments too much. They’re an interesting experiment for this period of Argentine football history. But I suspect they will be history for too much longer. The Brazilian league having moved to a (now apparently fixed) year-long championship, and with the switch from this year to ‘tidy up’ Libertadores qualification (Apertura winners going into the following year’s Copa, rather than the next-but-one year’s), the way seems to be paved…

    It’ll be interesting to see how it goes from here.

  5. The problem, Sam, with this “experiment” is that it’s been going on for almost 20 years now! It started in 1989/1990 and I don’t think they will be removed as long as Grondona (and all his sons and nephews) lives.

  6. I must admit to liking the short championships because it has democratised the league to an extent. For instance, neither Lanus or Tigre would ever have had a chance at any kind of title in a long championship, despite playing some really good football.
    We can’t really claim that Merlo’s Racing played ‘really good football’ :) but the short championship gave that side its shot at glory and they took it. Had the championship gone on longer, River would surely have overtaken Racing within a couple of weeks and run away with the title by the end.
    I think if the long championships come back, Argentine football will be in danger of becoming as sterile and uncompetitive as the EPL. I think you’ll find that it will be River and Boca every year, and it will start to become dull. Also, a simple ‘top five to Libertadores’ may even devalue the currency of the championship. A team may finish 18th in the Apertura, and under a long championship, dreams of success are pretty much wiped out. But in this format, that side can switch things around, buy and sell players, and six months later can dream of entering the Libertadores by winning the Clausura. Of course it means that maybe the sides entering the Libertadores are not always the best ones, but you look at the EPL: yes, the best four sides represent the EPL in the Champions League, but it’s the SAME FOUR TEAMS EVERY YEAR. And I honestly don’t think it’s ever going to change.
    I’d hate this to happen in Argentina, as I think it could if the long championships return. I think it would end Racing’s chances of ever becoming champions again, and it would be River and Boca swapping at 1 and 2, with Estudiantes, San Lorenzo and Independiente consolidating their power in the next 3 places.
    I must admit, an end to promedios would be good. I remember the excellent season Talleres had in 2004, challenging for the Clausura but still ending up going down, simply because they were being dragged down by poor performances from players who weren’t even at the club anymore, from as far back as 2001! And although I like Gimnasia LP, it’s a bit unfair to see their poor side of today being kept up by the likes of Lucas Lobos and they points and goals they scored two and a half years ago!
    These promedios were presumably introduced to prevent grandes ever going down, but it’s not helping Racing any! :(

  7. Just to add, the combined table is interesting, but possibly misleading. River’s 3rd place reflects their collapse in the Apertura – once they realised they couldn’t win it, they just seemed to give up, losing to Colon for goodness sakes (how I wish they hadn’t done that now!)
    In a long championship, I think River and Boca’s bigger resources, which are pretty much as untouchable in Argentina as Chelsea and Man Us in England or Celtic and Rangers in Scotland, will *always* see them finish in the top two places.
    If there is a long championship, I think the introduction of a concurrent cup competition would be essential, to keep hope alive for clubs like Lanus, Tigre and, I’m sorry to put us in this bracket but this is where the team has left ‘the club’ right now, Racing.

  8. I’m not quite convinced and I’ll explain. If a team losses 3 or 4 matches in a row in the Apertura and then give up, what kind of a tournament is that?

    Teams should get the chance to recover and fight in the long run. We know how variable form can be. Teams can peak very soon then collapse, then surge again. That’s the beauty of the long seasons.

    Remember the format I’m suggesting will keep all but one team (in this season’s case) fighting for something up to the very last week of the season.

    The short tournaments have brought that urgent need to get results that often get managers fired after only 3 or 4 games at the helm. Ridiculous.

    If the season was longer, the planning would play a big part rather than spending money, firing managers and try quick fixes in the first 8 or 9 weeks to see if you still have a shot.

    Besides, a team from Buenos Aires can probably get an easy fixture in the Apertura and draw Gimnasia de Jujuy, San Martín de San Juan, Olimpo, one of the Rosario’s teams and Colón and one or two of the big 5 at home and get an unfair advantage over another team that will probably have to travel long distances more than 2 or 3 times in the tournament.

    Take Racing in the Clausura for example. A trip to both Rosario’s teams, Colón away, Boca, River and Independiente away.

    It’ll be fair if every team could play home and away to all the other teams. It’s the way it should be for a team to be considered the real champion.

    I know what you mean regarding Racing in 2001 and how River would have catch up with them. But at the same time, I think the pressures Racing had in week 17 (I think it was week 17) against Banfield or Lanús would have been a lot smaller and Racing would have probably won those matches comfortably if stakes weren’t as big as they were at that point. Do you know what I mean?

    Argentine football was always dominated by River, Boca, Independiente, San Lorenzo and Racing with the odd title win by Estudiantes, Newell’s, Rosario Central, Vélez and a few others.

    River won 22 titles between 1931 and 1990 (when the short tournaments started). Then they won 12 more since 1991. I don’t see them not dominating when it comes to league title. And you have to have in mind that they were going through a big crisis lately. Had the keep up their normal form, they would have probably 5 or 6 more titles.

    Boca won 7 short tournaments. That makes 19 between the Big 2 out of a total of 34 tournaments. Over 50% of them. I think they still dominate, as far as I’m concerned.

    The rest were won like this:

    Velez 5
    San Lorenzo 3
    Newell’s 2
    Independiente 2
    Racing 1
    Lanús 1
    Estudiantes 1

    You can argue that Velez won that much because they had a good organization and great managers in Bianchi and Bielsa. Besides, they would have won the long tournament in 95-96 when they won the Apertura and the Clausura.

    Lanús won the league after years of great management, youth team developement and financial prowess. They crashed in the Clausura because they didn’t have a squad deep enough to fight in both the league and the Copa Libertadores and they went all out to try and have a good cup run.

    Estudiantes built up a great structure and they would be fighting for the long tournament this season too.

    So I don’t know how much credit you can give the short tournaments in preventing the big clubs from dominating. I don’t think they’ll ever stop dominating.

    If they are to continue dominating, it better be under a proper year-long, home and away against every team tournament without stupid promedios and that made-up urgency the majority of teams suffer from.

  9. Regarding international cups, I don’t think you can take many of the clubs’ totals on face value. I mean I’m sorry but Independiente and their 7 Libertadores titles, most came in the era when the winner went straight to the semi-final the next year! That is a completely different competition than the one today. Boca and all the tournaments they include in their international titles, some of them were only played for a few years and then just went away (the Copa Oro and the Supercopa Masters).

  10. i really dont understand the thing about that if your playing away you get another point added,,what about with deportivo quito.,and universitario., the first game ended up 0-0 played at universitario and the 2nd one was played in ecuador.,.the 2nd game ended up to be 2-1 ecuador with the 2 and universitario 1… wasn’t it suppose to go to penalties since with the added point it was 2-2.,????

  11. here again!!!! i just wanted to say that anybodii who has there hopes up for any other team other then LDU or deportivo quito,,,is gunna be torn up b/c the fact is that the finally is going to be LDU vs Dep quito.,.,and again LDU is gunna make histor.,.and also not to sound cocky wer also gunna beat manchesters ass and take home the copa intercontinental,,,and make history by being the one and onlii club team and country to take the copa libertadores—-copa nissan sudamericana—and the intercontinental..,!!!!!K viva LIGA DE QUITO><!!!!!!

  12. Andrew – away goals are used to separate teams who finish level on aggregate score. No ‘points’ are involved. Since the aggregate score was 2-1 to LDU, away goals didn’t come into it.

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