Preview: Wednesday's Copa Libertadores Round of 16 Second Legs

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Gabriel Pessoa

Last week's Copa Libertadores Round of 16 first leg encounters left fans with a multitude of cliffhanger notes. 

Is the gig up for Flamengo? Can Athletico Paranaense cause an upset in Buenos Aires? And will San Lorenzo snap their losing streak away from home?

All those questions will be answered this Wednesday...

 

Internacional (BRA) vs. Nacional (URU) – 6:05pm ET live on beIN SPORTS (ENG)

 

Last week’s meeting in Montevideo had scoreless draw written all over it until one man stepped up to tip the balance in his side’s favor. 

That man of course was none other than Paolo Guerrero. 

The Peruvian striker, who tasted Copa Libertadores and Club World Cup glory with former club Corinthians, held his nerve in the 90th minute to score the only goal of the game.

Now, in front of their home fans and with a narrow aggregate lead in the pocket, Inter are favorites to advance to the quarter-finals. The onus is on Nacional to hit the Brazilians with an early goal as they aim to cause an upset at the Beira Rio stadium. 

Look for veteran midfielder and team captain Andres D’Alessandro’s experience to shine in Wednesday’s match. The Argentine was part of Internacional’s Copa Libertadores-winning team in 2010. 

 

Cerro Porteno (PAR) vs. San Lorenzo (ARG) – 6:05pm ET live on beIN SPORTS (SPA)

 

Although this tie remains wide open following a combative first leg stalemate at the Estadio Pedro Bidegain, the San Lorenzo faithful has reason to be pessimistic about reaching the quarter-finals.

First off, the Argentine side has failed to convert a single shot on goal away from home throughout the tournament. 

 

Secondly, Cerro Porteno has not suffered defeat in any of its previous three Copa Libertadores encounters against San Lorenzo. 

One bit of good news for The Cyclones is that the Paraguayans will be without Alberto Espinola, with the right-back carrying a suspension after deservedly receiving a red card for a heinous studs-up tackle in the first leg. 

 

Boca Juniors (ARG) vs. Athletico PR (BRA) – 8:20pm ET live on beIN SPORTS (SPA)

 

Having lost to River Plate in the Recopa Sudamericana back in May, Athletico Paranaense is now in danger of falling to another Argentine giant. 

Boca Juniors hold the upper hand against The Hurricanes after the first leg thanks to a goal from debutant Alexis Mac Allister, followed by a missed penalty from Athletico’s top scorer in competition, Marco Ruben. 

 

Away sides are rarely afforded a stroll in the park at La Bombonera, where Boca are currently enjoying an eight-game winning streak. And to make matters worse for Athletico Paranaense, the 2018 Copa Sudamericana champions have lost their last four road games in the Copa Libertadores.

Boca’s newest signing, Daniele De Rossi, will be watching the action from the stands, having just missed the registration cut-off date for the Round of 16. The former Roma captain is in for a show as Carlos Tevez and company look to defend home soil and move on the quarter-finals. 

 

Flamengo (BRA) vs. Emelec (ECU) – 8:20pm ET live on beIN SPORTS (ENG)

 

A few months ago Flamengo’s season was destined for glory, but now the Rio De Janeiro club is on the brink of an early exit from the Copa Libertadores after being stunned by Emelec in the first leg match.

Encumbered with a depressingly long injury list and an enraged fan base, Jorge Jesus faces his toughest test to date since taking charge of Mengao.

Last week’s 2-0 drubbing in Ecuador was Flamengo’s third straight Libertadores loss, and with key players like Diego Ribas, Rodrigo Caio and Giorgian De Arrascaeta out with injuries, the omens look bad for the Brazilian giants. 

 

Emelec progressing would certainly go down as the upset of this round. 

Flamengo has won the Copa Libertadores once before and is a six-time Brazilian champion. Meanwhile, Emelec has not won three consecutive matches in the Copa Libertadores since 1999. 

Expect riots in Rio if Flamengo produces anything short of a thrashing against its Ecuadorian rival.