MX23RW : Saturday, August 20 03:42:03| >> :600:2359789:2359789:
[monks data]
Jul 7, 2022 at 1.30am UK at Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti
River Plate
0 - 0
Velez Sarsfield

Romero (53'), Mammana (90+3'), Alvarez (90+5')

Garayalde (33'), Hoyos (51')

Preview: River Plate vs. Velez Sarsfield - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Copa Libertadores clash between River Plate and Velez Sarsfield, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Velez Sarsfield are on the verge of making it to the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores for the first time since 2012 as they lead River Plate by a 1-0 score heading into the second leg of that knockout fixture on Wednesday.

La Banda suffered their first defeat of the tournament last Wednesday, while the team from Liniers are winless in four straight road fixtures in all competitions.

Match preview

River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo reacts on April 13, 2022© Reuters

After tallying 18 times in the opening phase of this tournament, not many people would have expected River Plate to be shut out against a side like Velez Sarsfield, who conceded the most goals (11) of any team that advanced into the knockout stage this year.

That defeat ended a 10-game unbeaten run for Los Millionarios in Round of 16 encounters at the Libertadores, a streak that went all the way back to 2017.

If this group had a weakness before that defeat, it might have been how they play when trailing, as River had only conceded first on one occasion in this competition before their defeat to Sarsfield, and they failed to win that other fixture as well, drawing Fortaleza 1-1 after allowing Silvio Romero to notch the opener in the fourth minute.

After being eliminated by Independiente del Valle at this stage of the 2016 event, the four-time Libertadores champions have never lost a two-leg affair in the opening phase of the knockout round, capturing the title in 2018.

Marcelo Gallardo has always given his players the green light to take risks with quick ball movements in a tiki-taka approach that has enabled his side to put their opponents under duress in the majority of their encounters.

Those tactics have usually been a recipe for success, though lately they have not been able to shut down the central channels as well as we are used to seeing, conceding four goals in their previous two matches played in all competitions.

Enzo Fernandez celebrates scoring for River Plate on April 14, 2022© Reuters

To be successful against a side with the kind of firepower of River Plate, you cannot show an ounce of intimidation, and Velez Sarsfield are one of the few sides who seem to relish the opportunity of facing the Argentine giants.

In 10 previous meetings against them in this competition, Sarsfield have allowed a goal or fewer on nine occasions, losing only once in normal time.

Alexander Medina, who took charge of this team in late May, has implemented a mid-block system based on a high-pressure approach, with his players pushing forward in numbers to provoke errors from their opponents.

That tactic worked well in the opening leg of this tie, as they were able to earn a penalty and take the lead after a quarter of an hour, which was all they needed to claim victory.

When they can tally first, Sarsfield are a frustrating side to play against as they drop back with numerous players behind the ball and do not allow you many opportunities inside the box.

They have not squandered a 1-0 advantage since early May and have not lost a game when scoring first since matchday three of this tournament, when El Fortin conceded a brace to Emmanuel Gigliotti in a 2-1 defeat to Nacional.

River Plate Copa Libertadores form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

River Plate form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Velez Sarsfield Copa Libertadores form:
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Velez Sarsfield form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

Team News

River Plate's Julian Alvarez and teammates look dejected after the match on March 20, 2022© Reuters

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Julian Alvarez each scored for River Plate in a losing effort this weekend versus Huracan, while Jose Paradela picked up his second assist in the second phase of the domestic campaign.

Alvarez has six tallies so far in this competition, one fewer than Rafael Navarro of Palmeiras for the Golden Boot, Enzo Fernandez is in a four-way tie for second in that category, alongside Nicolas de la Cruz, Esequiel Barco and Matias Suarez, while Elias Gomez leads them in assists with three.

De la Cruz is nursing an Achilles tendon injury which might keep him on the sidelines until the end of July, while David Martinez had a tough outing in the opening leg of this tie, as his challenge in the box gave Sarsfield a penalty which goalkeeper Franco Armani could not stop.

A strong run from El Fortin striker Lucas Janson helped his side earn that penalty, which he converted for his fourth strike of the tournament, two more than Matias de los Santos, while Luca Orellano is first on the team when it comes to assists with three.

Goalkeeper Lucas Hoyos stopped four shots in the opening fixture versus River Plate for his second clean sheet of the competition, while goals from Lucas Pratto, Abiel Osorio, plus a brace from Janson enabled them to advance into the last 16 with a 4-0 win over Estudiantes in their final group stage encounter.

Medina put out an entirely different starting 11 on Saturday compared to the side we saw a week ago versus River Plate, with Leonardo Burian getting the start in goal, while the front three consisted of Osorio, Julian Fernandez and Gianluca Prestianni.

River Plate possible starting lineup:
Armani; Casco, Martinez, Diaz, Mammana; Perez; Palavecino, Paradela, Fernandez; Alvarez, Beltran

Velez Sarsfield possible starting lineup:
Hoyos; Jara, De los Santos, Gomez, Ortega; Orellano, Garayalde, Perrone, Janson; Pratto, Castro

SM words green background

We say: River Plate 2-0 Velez Sarsfield

River Plate were not at their best in the opening fixture last week, but you do not get the reputation they have by luck, and this is a resilient group that know how to handle any situation which may arise.

It is hard to envision Velez Sarsfield being able to keep Los Millonarios at bay for a second successive fixture, especially on their home field, where River have tallied 14 times in three Libertadores encounters this year.

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

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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