MX23RW : Sunday, June 26 04:41:37| >> :600:740721:740721:
[monks data]
May 26, 2022 at 11pm UK at Estadio Dr. Nicolas Leoz
Libertad
4 - 1
The Strongest
Melgarejo (25'), Mendieta (55' pen., 90'), Jusino (71' og.)
Merlini (33'), Barboza (76'), Caballero (81'), Gomez (90+3')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Ursino (41')
Aponte (35'), Saucedo (50'), Benegas (55'), Triverio (56')
Aponte (66')

Preview: Club Libertad vs. The Strongest - prediction, team news, lineups

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

With everything still to fight for in the race to qualify for the knockout stage, Club Libertad and The Strongest will square off on Thursday in the final round of Copa Libertadores group fixtures.

The hosts currently top the group, although their visitors sit just a point behind in third place, meaning only one can qualify for the round of 16 as Athletico Paranaense and Caracas will battle for the points in the other game.


Match preview

Daniel Garnero, now in charge of Club Libertad, pictured in September 2020© Reuters

After winning their 21st league title in the Apertura phase of the Paraguayan top flight this season, Club Libertad bypassed qualifying and headed into this year's Copa Libertadores group stage with high hopes.

Following an opening 1-1 draw with The Strongest, the Gumarelo put themselves in pole position to qualify with consecutive wins over Caracas and Athletico Paranaense to move onto seven points from three outings.

Their hopes have since taken a hit, though, as they lost both reverse fixtures with those sides heading into the final day, most recently falling to a 2-0 away defeat at the hands of Athletico Paranaense as Tomas Cuello and Agustin Canobbio hit second-half goals.

Such results have seen Libertad's lead over the Brazilian outfit quickly cut, and, now only leading on goal difference with Wednesday's opponents and Caracas one point behind, they still have plenty of work to do to achieve a top-two finish and progress in the competition.

On the back of a crucial win over rivals Nacional to remain at the summit of their domestic top flight, Daniel Garnero's side will head into Thursday's contest on home turf vying for a win to book their place in the final 16.

The Strongest also arrive with everything still to play for, as the group is split by just a single point going into the final day.

With just two points from their opening three matches, the Bolivian side did not look in a good position to qualify, but they then put themselves in contention with an eye-catching 5-0 thrashing of Athletico Paranaense, as Enrique Triverio hit a brace alongside goals from Martin Prost and Bautista Cascini and a late own goal.

The Tigre were then unable to break the deadlock away at Caracas in their most recent contest, but that point saw them move one behind Libertad and remain ahead of the Venezuelan outfit on goal difference heading into the final day.

Knowing that a win will suffice to see them qualify for the knockout stage, while third place is good enough to salvage a spot in the Copa Sudamericana, Christian Diaz will hope to see his side come out firing in Paraguay with so much on the line.

Club Libertad Copa Libertadores form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Club Libertad form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

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

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


Team News

Libertad defender Alexander Barboza was sent off in their recent league win over Nacional, but he will be eligible to play on Thursday with the suspension instead carrying over to the next domestic outing.

They will likely remain without star striker Julio Enciso, who has been out injured since mid-May, having netted 11 goals and provided three assists in the first 14 league games of the campaign.

However, Garnero will be able to call on veteran striker and Paraguay legend Roque Santa Cruz, who scored his third goal of the season against Nacional.

Martin Prost will lead the line for The Strongest, having netted seven goals in all competitions this term, including four across Copa Libertadores qualifying and group action.

Enrique Triverio will also be vying for a spot up front, although Diaz has tended to deploy one striker recently.

Club Libertad possible starting lineup:
Silva; Piris, Bocanegra, Barboza, Samudio; Bareiro, Riveros, Bogarin, Franco; Santa Cruz, Melgarejo

The Strongest possible starting lineup:
Viscarra; Wayar, Castillo, Jusino, Aponte; Calleros; Saucedo, Ursino, Cascini, Esparza; Prost


SM words green background

We say: Club Libertad 2-1 The Strongest

The Strongest's thrashing of Athletico Paranaense earlier in the group stage certainly makes us think that they could stage another surprise result, but we ultimately expect them to fall just short.

Libertad have a strong squad and will be confident of winning to progress, particularly with home advantage.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win 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.Home Win:data

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How you voted: Libertad vs The Strongest

Club Libertad
69.2%
Draw
30.8%
The Strongest
0.0%
13
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