Thursday, 28 July 2016

Atletico Nacional vs Independiente del Valle Copa Libertadores Match Preview And Prediction - July 28, 2016

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Last week’s first leg of this Copa Libertadores Final was a tight affair. The minnows, Independiente del Valle, probably had the best of the chances throughout the 90 minutes and controlled possession well on home turf, but they trailed for a large portion of the game after Orlando Berrio’s first half opener. The hosts continued to battle though, and they eventually got their reward with an 87th minute equaliser to keep their trophy hopes alive.

Atletico Nacional are unsurprisingly still favourites for the clash, and you can see why. They have made 18 appearances in the Copa Libertadores and enjoyed a very good spell a few decades ago when they won it in 1989, made two semi final appearances and then finished runners up in 1995.

Their fortunes haven’t quite been the same since then, but they are still a decent side. They are unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions, barring a penalty defeat to Junior in June, and have won six of them. In the Copa Libertadores they knocked out Sao Paulo3-2 on aggregate in the semi finals and have dispatched of Roasrio Central and Huracan previously.

Independiente del Valle don’t have the continental pedigree of their opponents, and they were actually playing their football in Ecuador’s 3rd tier of football ten years ago. Their most recent trophy haul was a 2009 Serie B title and they would never have dreamed of getting this far in South America’s elite competition.

It’s not like they’ve had an easy run of it either. They qualified from a difficult group and then had to face Colo Colo in their first knockout match. They beat them 3-2 on aggregate after winning at home and holding them to a goalless draw in Chile. What followed was a tie with the Copa Libertadores champions River Plate, which they won 2-1 before beating Pumas UNAM on penalties. Their semi final clash saw them go head to head with Boca Juniors, and they saved their best performance until last as they beat the Argentine giants 5-3 on aggregate.

However, the majority of their success this season has come on home turf, and that ship has already sailed. They need a high scoring draw or a win in Colombia now, and considering they have only won two of their last eight away days in the Copa Libertadores this seems unlikely. Atletico Nacional have won seven of their last eight home matches in the competition too, drawing the remaining one.

What I think we can be sure of is goals. Five of Independiente del Valle’s last nine away matches in the competition have seen at least three goals, and they know they need to get at least one goal on Wednesday night to have a chance of winning the cup. Atletico Nacional have 19 goals in their eight home games in the tournament though, and each of their last three home outings have seen at least three goals. I doubt the hosts will be hanging on for a 0-0 draw, and with both teams attacking this should lead to an entertaining game.

Four of Independiente’s last five away days in all competitions have seen Over 2.5 Goals too, as have seven of Atletico Nacional’s last ten at home. This makes odds of 11/10 for Over 2.5 Goals look very good value to me, so that’s what I’m going for as my main prediction alongside a 3-1 win for Atletico Nacional at 14/1 for my correct score prediction.

Last week's 1-1 draw in Ecuador was the first meeting between these sides.

Atletico Nacional have seen Over 2.5 Goals in 70% of their last ten home games in all competitions.

Left back Farid Diaz is sidelined with a cut he sustained last week.

Young striker and joint top scorer Jose Angulo will miss out on the final with a sprained ankle he sustained at the weekend.

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