Brazilians Atletico Paranaense host Colombians Millonarios on Wednesday night in the preliminary qualification rounds of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier continental competition.
The home fans will be eagerly anticipating the clash as their side return to the Libertadores following a 2 year absence. On that occasion they were narrowly eliminated in the group stage, despite winning 3 of their 6 games. In 2005 the Curitiba outfit made it all the way to the final but were hammered 5-1 over two legs by compatriots Sao Paulo. A strong showing last season has earned qualification, they finished 6th, with a record of 17-6-15. They will come into this match in great confidence given that 15 of those 17 wins came on home soil, with a home record of 15-3-1.
Millonarios are also no strangers to the competition having made the semi finals on three occasions. That being said, this is their first appearance since the 2013 edition of the competition, in which they came bottom of their group with a measly 3 points. Los Millos return this year courtesy of their consistent performance over the 2016 season, which saw them finish 4th in the aggregate table with a record of 23-7-14.
Atletico drew to Uruguayans Penarol last week in a friendly, while a mainly second string side contested the first State League match at the weekend, also drawing 1-1 away to Rio Branco. They have a few injuries/suspensions in the camp prior the game but of those unavailable only Deivid, Nikao and Joao Pedro featured for any substantial period last season. Key man Hernani departed to Zenit a few weeks ago but other than that it’s a fairly settled squad.We expect boss Paulo Autuori to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with the following as starters:
Weverton; Jonathan, Paulo André, Wanderson, Sidcley; Otávio, Lucho González; Felipe Gedoz, Pablo, Crysan; Grafite
Millonarios have a new manager for the upcoming season, Argentine Miguel Ángel Russo, Libertadores winner in 2007 with Boca Juniors. His side have played a number of friendlies in the build up to the game. They participated in the Florida Cup, finishing in 5th place after losing 1-0 to River Plate but beating Barcelona of Ecuador by the same scoreline. They have also notched two wins over Mexicans Chivas (5-0, 3-0) and two more against compatriots Cortulua. Seven new signings go straight into the squad for tonight’s game, with Jacobo Kouffaty the only real injury concern. They could line up in a 4-4-2 formation with the following as starters:
Vikonis; Palacios, Figueroa, Cavidad, Machado; Dominguez, Duque, Maxi, Quiñonez; Arango, Del Valle
Millonarios face an uphill battle tonight. They are facing one of the strongest home sides on the continent in and with a new manager and new players settling in it’s hard to see an upset. The home fans will pack out the ground and we think that the hosts will look to make a quick start to the game, playing on the front foot against what should a defensive visiting side. The visitors will be looking to remain in the game ahead of the second leg, where they should stand a far greater chance. We like the look of the corner market here, and think it provides more value than the home win, which is rather short at 1.61. Back over 4.5 First Half corners on the Asian Line at bet365 at odds of 1.85, as the hosts apply early pressure on the visiting goal, with some possibility of visiting corners on the counter attack.
Bet: Back over 4.5 First Half corners on the Asian Line at bet365 at odds of 1.85