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Apr 22, 2021 at 1am UK at Estadio General Rumiñahui del Valle de Los Chillos
IndependienteIndependiente del Valle
DefensaDefensa y Justicia
Ortiz (28')
Garcia (50'), Pellerano (88')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Rotondi (7')
Escalante (56')

Preview: Independiente del Valle vs. Defensa y Justicia - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Copa Libertadores clash between Independiente del Valle and Defensa y Justicia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Independiente del Valle look to remain unbeaten at home this season when they open up their Copa Libertadores campaign on Wednesday against Defensa y Justicia from Estadio Ruminahui in Ecuador.

Los Negriazules are coming off a 2-1 win against 9 de Octubre on Sunday in league play, their eighth straight match without a defeat in all competitions, while Defensa y Justicia have gone winless in their last five domestic league games in Argentina.

Match preview

Independiente del Valle's Beder Caicedo celebrates scoring their fifth goal with teammates in September 2020© Reuters

The appointment of Renato Paiva as manager has brought new hope to the team from Sangolqui, who are looking to shake off their image as perennial losers.

Since taking over on Christmas Day 2020, the Portuguese coach has won nine of his first 13 games in charge, which included an upset of the 2017 Copa Libertadores champions Gremio in the qualification stage of this competition.

The Ecuadorian side have never won their domestic league, finishing no better than second back in 2013, which was also their best-ever finish to a Copa Libertadores campaign back in 2016.

However, there is good reason for optimism as they have performed much better on the international stage of late, winning the Copa Sudamericana in 2019 and finishing as runners-up in the Recopa Sudamericana last season.

Defensa y Justicia's Brian Romero celebrates scoring their first goal against Bahia with teammates in December 2020© Reuters

In his third spell with Defensa y Justicia, Sebastian Beccacece has not enjoyed the same kind of success as his Portuguese counterpart in 2021.

Currently sitting in seventh place in Group B of the Argentine Primera Division, El Halcon are looking to make it past the group stage of this competition after missing the knockout stage by a single point last season.

The team is made up primarily of local players from around their home country, as all but three members of their current roster are from Argentina.

Like their opponents, the Argentine side have fared a lot better internationally, winning the Copa Sudamericana last season and capturing the Recopa Sudamericana earlier this year under former manager Hernan Crespo.

Independiente del Valle Ecuadorian Serie A form:

  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Independiente del Valle form (all competitions):

  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Defensa y Justicia Argentine Primera Division form:

  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L

Defensa y Justicia form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Team News

Defensa y Justicia players celebrate with the trophy after winning the Copa Sudamericana in January 2021© Reuters

Bolivian centre-back Jose Maria Carrasco has missed the entire season with a knee injury.

Goalkeeper Jorge Pinos has missed the last 10 games for the Ecuadorians with a fractured hand.

Moises Ramirez will start in goal, having maintained three clean sheets in relief.

Los Negriazules will rely on Christian Ortiz for more contributions after scoring both goals in their 2-1 win over Gremio to get to this stage of the competition.

On the opposite side Defensa y Justicia are healthy heading into this tournament and will hope leading scorer Walter Bou can regain his form having gone without a goal in his last four matches in all competitions.

Braian Romero has stepped up with two goals in his last four matches while winger Francisco Pizzini leads the team with five assists in the Argentine Primera Division.

Independiente del Valle possible starting lineup:
Ramirez; Schunke, Tenorio, Segovia; Sanchez, Pellerano, Ortiz, Uca, Faravelli, Caicedo; Montenegro

Defensa y Justicia possible starting lineup:
Unsain; Benitez, Frias, Meza, Britez; Loaiza, Fernandez, Rotondi, Bou, Pizzini; Romero

SM words green background

We say: Independiente del Valle 1-1 Defensa y Justicia

The opening match of this competition for both teams could be more challenging for the officials than anyone else as the Argentines have received eight yellow cards and three red cards in their last three games.

These sides score about as much as they concede although neither side are all that clinical in front of goal, and while qualification is a distinct possibility for both teams, neither will want to take an unnecessary risk given they each have five more games to play after this one.

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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