MX23RW : Wednesday, June 16 21:22:21| >> :600:1985151:1985151:
May 27, 2021 at 1am UK at Estadio Alberto José Armando
Boca JuniorsBoca Juniors
3-0
The StrongestThe Strongest
Almendra (3'), Villa (44'), Valverde (56' og.)
Almendra (20'), Cardona (38')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Mateos (48')

Preview: Boca Juniors vs. The Strongest - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Copa Libertadores clash between Boca Juniors and The Strongest, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

In the final round of fixtures in the Copa Libertadores group stage, Boca Juniors and The Strongest lock horns in Argentina with second place on the line.

The hosts currently occupy second spot, which guarantees qualification for the round of 16, while their visitors sit just one point behind them alongside a Santos side who are also in hot pursuit of a top-two finish.


Match preview

Boca Juniors' Carlos Tevez reacts as Carlos Izquierdoz looks on on May 5, 2021© Reuters

After a strong start to the group campaign, with consecutive wins from their opening two games, Boca Juniors' qualification has fallen into doubt due to a poor run of form in South America's elite competition.

The winning start was broken by a narrow 1-0 defeat to eventual group leaders Barcelona SC, as Carlos Garces netted the only goal of the game on the hour mark.

Miguel Angel Russo's side then lost 1-0 again as they travelled to Brazil to take on Santos, with Felipe Jonatan netting the winner for the hosts on the stroke of half time.

However, the Argentinian side did bounce back with a commendable point last time out as they played out a goalless draw away against Barcelona SC, keeping their spot in second place as a result.

Russo's men currently occupy a qualification place, but with both Santos and The Strongest sitting just a point behind, they come into Thursday's game with the simple task of winning to book their spot in the final 16.

Meanwhile, their opponents will aim to seal a crucial victory, while they are also relying on Santos failing to win their final game against Barcelona SC due to the major gap in goal difference.

Boca Juniors manager Miguel Angel Russo pictured on January 2, 2021© Reuters

The Strongest have had an opposite run of form in the group stages, having started their continental campaign with three straight defeats.

In that time, the Bolivian side conceded 10 goals while failing to score at the other end, as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Thursday's opponents as well as a 4-0 loss to Barcelona SC and a 5-0 thrashing away to Santos.

Despite looking set to crash out of the tournament, Alberto Illanes's side have since recorded back-to-back victories to keep their qualification hopes alive, firstly defeating group leaders Barcelona SC 2-0 at home.

Jair Reinoso opened the scoring on the stroke of half time before he netted his and the side's second goal of the group stage to double the lead and seal three crucial points.

They then picked up an impressive 2-1 victory over Santos, despite being reduced to 10 men early in the encounter.

The Strongest took an early two-goal lead through Reinoso and Willie, but Gonzalo Castillo's red card in the 24th minute dealt their chances a huge blow.

Illanes's men then looked set to throw their lead away as Felipe Jonatan pulled a goal back for Santos on the hour mark, but they held on for another crucial win against the odds.

While they remain at the bottom of the group, a win on Thursday would see The Strongest achieve some form of continental qualification, as they could finish second if Santos fail to win on the final day, or Illanes's men would end the group stage in third spot, which allows passage to the Copa Sudamericana, if they secure a victory and Santos also win.

Boca Juniors Copa Libertadores form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D

Boca Juniors form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D

The Strongest Copa Libertadores form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W

The Strongest form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W



Team News

Boca Juniors' Sebastian Villa celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on January 2, 2021© Reuters

Given the importance of Thursday's match, Boca Juniors could call upon attacker Carlos Tevez to lead the attack.

The 37-year-old captain has been reduced to limited minutes this season, but the former Argentina international could provide the best chance of securing a victory.

He will be supported by winger Sebastian Villa, who has netted six goals in 17 appearances in all competitions this season, including two goals in four Copa Libertadores group stage matches.

At the other end of the pitch, Lisandro Lopez and Carlos Izquierdoz should continue their solid partnership at the heart of the back four, having kept an impressive clean sheet against Barcelona SC last time out.

The Strongest come into Thursday's game without both Gonzalo Castillo and Matheo Zoch, as the pair will serve suspensions following red cards in the recent win over Santos, despite Zoch not making it onto the pitch.

In Castillo's absence, Jesus Sagredo could come into the back five, with Luis Martelli and Gabriel Valverde expected to also keep their places in the defence.

Their attack will be led by Jair Reinoso, who has fired his side to consecutive victories with three goals in the last two group matches.

Boca Juniors possible starting lineup:
Andrada; Capaldo, Lopez, Izquierdoz, Mas; Medina, Campuzano, Almendra; Soldano, Tevez, Villa

The Strongest possible starting lineup:
D Vaca; Torres, Valverde, Martelli, Jesus Sagredo, Jose Sagredo; S Vaca, Miranda, Willie; Reinoso, Blackburn


SM words green background

We say: Boca Juniors 1-1 The Strongest

Given the importance of the game for both sides in the battle for second spot, we see this being a cagey affair as the two teams fear defeat.

While a draw is not adequate for The Strongest to break into the top two, it could be enough to book Boca Juniors' place in the final 16, and we see them holding on for a point despite the strong form of the visitors.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 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.Over 2.5:data


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How you voted: Boca Juniors vs The Strongest

Boca Juniors
50.0%
Draw
28.6%
The Strongest
21.4%
14
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Santos' Angelo Gabriel celebrates scoring their fifth goal with teammates on May 4, 2021
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