Venezuelans Carabobo visit Colombians Junior on Tuesday night in the preliminary qualification rounds of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier continental competition.
The away side will be looking turn around a one goal deficit after losing last weeks first leg 1-0. They were unlucky to lose that match, having had more of the possession and having created more of the games opportunities. The game will not actually be played at Junior’s usual home stadium, as it is undergoing repairs, with the match instead taking place a 2 hours drive away n Cartagena.
Junior certainly don’t lack history on the big stage, with 7 league tittles and 12 appearances in the Libertadores. Their last participation came in the 2012 edition of the competition. However it wasn’t to be a run to match that of their 1994 semi final appearance, as they crashed out in the group stages in 3rd place, 3 points behind Bolivar and Union Espanola. Junior qualified via the aggregate table. in which performance over the Apertura and Clausura saw them sneak into 5th place, 1 point above Deportivo Cali with a record of 18-17-11.
This is the first Libertadores Carabobo have participated in since 1974, when the old iteration of the team, Valencia FC competed. They did take part in the Sudamericana in 2015, South America’s equivalent of the Europa League, but were knocked out on penalties at the first stage by another Colombian side, Deportes Tolima following two 0-0 draws. They qualified for the competition via their topping of the aggregate table over the whole year, which takes into both account the Apertura and the Clausura, with a record of 20-9-9. This standing was aided by a dominant performance in the Clausura, which they won with a record of 13-3-3, and a gap of 7 points between them and second place.
Junior’s starting eleven will be fresh for the game, since the majority of them were rested for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat away to La Equidad, in the opening round of the Colombian season. There will be minimal, if any, changes to the team that started in Venezuela meaning Junior could line up as follows:
Viera; Ochoa, Ávila, Pérez, Quiñones; Pico, Sánchez, Estrada, Aponzá; Ovelar, Rangel
Carabobo have not played a game since last week, with the Venezuelan season yet to begin. They previously prepared for the tie by facing off against Colombian opposition. They played current Libertadores champions Atletico Nacional twice, winning one game 2-0 and losing the other 2-1, as well as drawing 1-1 with Envigado. We expect them to take to the field with the following as starters:
Morales; Rivero, Soto, Manríquez, Mago; Suárez, Colina, Fernández, Bello; Novoa, Ocanto
Realistically, Carabobo’s big chance was last week on home soil. It was important to take a positive result, and despite playing well they failed to do so. Now they have nothing to defend and at some point they will have to look to play on the front foot. They will likely come late on in the game, as they should look to soak up pressure prior to that. Junior should have enough about them to see Carabobo off. Venezuelan sides tend to struggle on the road on the continental stage, and despite the venue change, Junior will still have a decent backing here. The hosts are priced at a fairly low 1.61 to win the match and we see more value in them to win the second half. As the visitors push forward later on in the game, the hosts should make use of their attacking quality and exploit the space Carabobo leave in defence, killing the tie off, and giving us a winning tip at fair odds of 2.00
Tip: 2nd half result – Junior. 2.00 at bet365
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