MX23RW : Monday, May 17 04:40:08| >> :600:474211:474211:
Apr 23, 2021 at 3am UK at Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez
JuniorAtletico Junior
Santa FeSanta Fe
Hinestroza (31'), David Osorio Antury (35' pen.)
Steven Angel Bernal (6'), Adolfo Arias Andrade (17'), Arboleda (24'), Torijano Cano (29')
Arboleda (71')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Atletico Junior vs. Santa Fe - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Copa Libertadores clash between Atletico Junior and Santa Fe, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two Colombian sides will lock horns in the group stages of the Copa Libertadores when Atletico Junior host Santa Fe on Thursday evening.

Both teams, who are in Group D with Fluminense and River Plate, will be looking to open their accounts with three points at the Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez.

Match preview

Atletico Junior have reached the group stages of the Copa Libertadores for the fourth successive year after beating Bolivian side Bolivar over two legs.

Despite losing the first leg 2-1, the Sharks came out on top in the second leg last Friday securing a 3-0 victory and winning 4-2 on aggregate, thanks to goals from Miguel Borja, Jhon Pajoy and Fredy Hinestroza.

Junior, who have won the Colombian top-flight title nine times in their history, finished seventh in this season's Categoria Primera A and have progressed into the quarter-finals. The Sharks drew three of their final four league matches but if they had won those games then they would have finished at the summit.

The Barranquilla-based outfit now turn their attention to the Copa Libertadores, a competition they have never won. Their best performance to date was back in 1994 when they reached the semi-finals, only to be eliminated by eventual winner Velez Sarsfield.

Junior have only won one of their last four meetings with Santa Fe and have claimed just one point against them in the Colombian top-flight this campaign. However, manager Luis Amaranto Perea will be confident that his side can secure all three points on Friday.

Santa Fe qualified for this year's Copa Libertadores after finishing top of the Categoria Primera A last season, although they were unable to clinch the title, losing to America de Cali in the final.

This campaign, the Cardinals finished second in the Colombian top-flight, one point behind Atletico Nacional, and have progressed into the quarter-finals, where they will hope to go one better than last year and win for the first time since 2016.

Like Junior, Santa Fe have won the Categoria Primera A nine times in their history and have never won the Copa Libertadores. However, they have reached the semi-finals of the competition twice before, back in 1961 and more recently in 2013.

Santa Fe have failed to win any of their last four visits to the Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez, including a 1-1 draw in March.

They did, however, win 3-1 on home soil in February and head coach Harold Rivera will be hoping that his side can replicate that performance and pick up three points on Thursday evening.

Atletico Junior form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W

Santa Fe form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Atletico Junior could start with the same back four of Fabian Viafara, Willer Ditta, German Mera and Gabriel Fuentes that started the last match against Bolivar.

Defensive midfielder Homer Martinez could be brought into the first XI if Perea decides to start with an extra man in midfield, which may then see either Borja or Teofilo Gutierrez drop to the bench.

Either Fabian Sambueza or Luis Gonzalez is set to start on the right-wing, while Hinestroza is expected to keep his place on the opposite flank.

For Santa Fe, Leandro Castellanos is set to replace Omar Rodriguez in goal, while either Alejandro Moralez or Jeisson Palacios could partner Fainer Torijano in central defence.

Former Junior midfielder Leonardo Pico may start alongside Daniel Giraldo in the middle of the pitch with Kelvin Osorio expected to play in the number 10 role, in behind striker Jorge Ramos.

Atletico Junior possible starting lineup:
Viera; Viafara, Ditta, Mera, Fuentes; Martinez; Gonzalez, Vasquez, Moreno, Hinestroza; Teolilo

Santa Fe possible starting lineup:
Castellanos; Arboleda, Torijano, Palacios, Mosquera; Giraldo, Pico; Velasquez, Osorio, Arias; Ramos

SM words green background

We say: Atletico Junior 1-1 Santa Fe

Both Atletico Junior and Santa Fe will fancy their chances of getting off to a strong start in Group D and claiming all three points on Thursday. However, with little to separate the two Colombian teams, a score draw could be on the cards in Barranquilla.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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