Friday’s crunch Copa Libertadores action sees Colombians Atletico Nacional playing host to Chileans Colo Colo, with a place in the last 16 of the competition on the line.
Though a draw would guarantee Atletico Nacional of their place in the next round, they’ll be chasing the 3 points to get as a high a possible seeding. El Verde currently have 9 points from 5 group matches, with dominant home wins over Delfin and Bolvar, alongside victory at Colo Colo themselves providing the platform for Jorge Almrion’s troops to top the group.
The hosts certainly arrive with confidence at peak levels, after advancing to the semi-finals of the domestic playoffs with a 2-0 home win over Deportivo Cali. Nacional have been almost unplayable at the Estadio Atanasio Girardot so far this year, winning a staggering 12 games there in a row, conceding just a single goal in the process, and that’s a sequence they’ll be looking to prolong in this one.
Meanwhile, Colo Colo take to the field desperate to spring an upset as they look to avoid continental failure yet again. Los Albos have a miserable recent record in the Libertadores, failing to make it out of the group since 2007 and know that defeat here would send them packing early once again.
The Chileans have given themselves hope with wins over Delfin and Bolivar in recent weeks, after taking just 1 point from the opening 3 games, but still have a massive amount of work to do. Hector Tapia’s troops were in excellent form prior to the weekend, but went on to lose 3-2 at Union Espanola, representing a return to a fairly weak away record, which reads just 2 wins from the last 8 games, 4 of which defeats.
Ultimately, you could argue that there is no team on the continent as powerful as Atletico Nacional as hosts at the moment and with Colo Colo average at best on their travels, you do have to fear for the visitors.
Atletico Nacional have not only been dominant on their own patch in recent weeks, but have also won won 13 of their last 15 Libertadores home games. Taking all things into account, we’re happy to back a home win in this one with full confidence. Colo Colo have rarely turned up the big occasions in continental action in recent years and look like crashing out once again, with a 2-0 margin of Nacional victory on the cards.
Atletico Nacional possible starting XI: Monetti; Palacios, Braghieri, Henriquez, Mafla; Campuzano, Castellani, Lenis, Torres, Hernandez; Moreno
Colo Colo possible starting XI: Orion; Opazo, Insaurralde, Fierro, Zaldivia; Carmona, Valdivia, Baeza, Valdes; Paredes, Rivero.
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Atletico Nacional’s 1-0 win at Colo Colo earlier on in the group was the first ever meeting between the two.
Daniel Bocanegra misses out with a muscular problem.
Centre back Julio Barroso is the only absentee.