Newell's Old Boys v Boca Juniors, Wednesday, 11.30pm
NEWELL'S OLD BOYS held Boca to a scoreless draw in the first leg of this Copa Libertadores quarter-final to hold the advantage going into tonight's clash.
Boca are one of the powerhouses of Argentina and indeed South American football and were beaten finalists last season, going down in a fierce battle with Corinthians.
This season has been a disaster on a league front with Boca currently 19th from 20 teams with 2 wins, 7 draws and 6 defeats.
They are safe from relegation (for now) under the country's complex three-season aggregates ruling.
But in Copa Libertadores they have fared better with 4 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats so far. They had a relatively straightforward group but struggled to dominate Nacional, Toluca and Barcelona, scraping though by 1 point.
In the last 16 they were drawn against last year’s winners Corinthians again and no one outside of Buenos Aires predicted a Boca victory.
However, La Bombonera was rocking and they prevailed at home 1-0. In Brazil they were then expected to capitulate but with a game plan and a solid performance they matched Corinthians. A goal from returning hero Juan Riquelme from about 40 yards summed up the performance and Boca won through.
Legendary coach Carlos Bianchi is back for a third spell and the belief in the club and fans is so high they could do it, even without a side anywhere near what they are used to.
A home win was vital for Boca and they ultimately lacked the quality to nick a low-scoring victory. Despite the red-hot atmosphere and the fans playing their part they could not break down the defence of Newell’s.
The tables will be turned now in Rosario and the home side will be big favourites to qualify. Newell’s have been several levels above all domestic opponents this season and with Boca in such poor form generally but especially away from home I see a home win here.
Newell’s did beat Boca 4-0 last week but that result should have little bearing on this match. We take Newell’s Old Boys to win at 1.85 (betsson).
Newell's Old Boys 1.85