The most prestigious club competition in South America, the Copa Libertadores, enters its knockout stages. The stakes are higher with very few chances for mistakes.
The defending champions, Palmeiras, have remained strong, perhaps stronger than they were when they defeated Flamengo in Uruguay last year.
Expectedly, the Brasileiro side are the favourites to retain the title this season. Indeed, they have lived up to the predictions so far, taking out all comers in the group stages with no room for complacency.
And yet, the likes of Estudiantes, Atletico Mineiro and River Plate who have all qualified for the round of 16 will be contending desperately.
The fixtures for the second round are mouthwatering. And without a doubt, goals will rain aplenty. It has become a tradition with this competition.
Here are some well-calculated bet options in this round that could help punters reap massive rewards on their stakes.
Palmeiras To Win Against Cerro Porteno
This looks almost like a mismatch. And yet, the Paraguayan side will look to ride on its underdog status, especially at home.
Porteno finished second in Group G with eight points, two behind Colon. They managed just two wins.
Francisco Arce’s men sit second in the Apertura and will look to replicate their league form in the Copa Libertadores.
The objective will be to limit the freedom of the opponent’s deadly forwards. Rafael Navarro, Wesley and Breno Lopes have proven their worth so far.
Carlos Rolon and Alexis Duarte will have their work cut out in central defence.
However, Abel Ferreira will be keen to dominate from start to finish. Gustavo Scarpa and Gabriel Menino will hope to dictate the play from midfield.
It is difficult to look beyond the team that scored 25 goals in six matches in the group stage. The defending champions will most likely seal victory beginning from this night.
River Plate To Win And Over 1.5 Goals Against Velez Sarsfield
With both teams participating in the Argentine Primera, this promises to be a fascinating watch.
Again, River Plate looks almost assured to win both encounters. Velez Sarsfield has struggled on both the domestic and international fronts.
Julio Vaccari’s side only managed to advance from the group with two wins behind a rampant Estudiantes team. In the league, they have won just once in four.
The visitors, on the other hand, cruised through their group to finish unbeaten as leaders
The hosts will also be aware of their failure to progress past this stage in the last three editions of the Copa Libertadores.
River Plate is sweating on the fitness of midfielder, Nicolas de la Cruz. However, the presence of Manchester City-bound Julian Alvarez is more than enough positive.
Both teams are familiar with themselves. Hence, both legs will be closer than it appears in theory.
Still, River Plate will likely come out on top, scoring at least two goals.
Over 2.5 Goals Between Deportes Tolima and Flamengo
Last season’s finalists will resume their quest for a second successive final when they travel to face the Colombian side.
The 2019 champions are only the third team not to have lost in this season’s Copa Libertadores.
And for Deportes Tolima, they will be chuffed to have reached this stage for the first time ever. Even then, they were particularly impressive in the group stages, only failing to secure the top spot as a result of an inferior goal difference.
The motivation is high for Hernan Torres’ men especially after failing to defend their league title.
They will look to contain the opponent and frustrate their attack, especially Gabriel Barbosa.
Daniel Cantano will be desperate to influence things from midfield for the Colombian side.
Dorival Junior will miss the presence of David Luiz due to injury. However, he can call on Manchester United forward, Andreas Perreira.
While Flamengo would be expected to win based on pedigree, it will be a risky option not to consider the form of both teams.
An over 2.5 goal outcome is much safer.
Goal/goal Between Fortaleza and Estudiantes
Fortaleza will be positive when Argentina giants, Estudiantes travel to Brazil.
However, Juan Pablo Vojvoda will be desperate to arrest their league form which has seen them place last on the table.
The manager will rely on his star forward Moises whose brace helped guarantee passage to this round. Yago Pikachu has proven to be a threat on the wings. The Brazilian will look to exploit his pace and skill on the right.
Estudiantes has not found its feet in the league this season, especially after a comfortable group stage Libertadores outing. Ricardo Zielinski’s men sit in 17th position.
However, veteran, Mauro Boselli is his pawn in the attack. The Argentine will hope to increase his 11-goal tally at home.
It is tough to call a winner between two struggling sides. Yet, it is almost certain that both teams will find the net in both matches.