Tuesday’s Copa Libertadores action sees Universidad de Chile playing host to Brazilians Vasco da Gama. With both sides heading out of the competition, the match is essentially a direct shootout for the third spot in the group, which would provide the consolation of dropping into the Copa Sudamericana.
A lot has changed in Universidad ranks since they won away at Vasco in the group’s opener. La U had looked set to compete for the domestic title and continental progression but have capitulated since, with 6-1 and 7-0 defeats to Union La Calera and Cruzeiro respectively costing Guillermo Hoyos his job and interim boss Esteban Valencia now struggling to raise spirits.
The hosts arrive knowing that avoiding defeat would guarantee themselves third spot, currently 3 points ahead of Vasco, but after losing 2-1 at home to Palestino over the weekend, confidence isn’t exactly flowing in home ranks. All in all, Universidad have won just 1 of their last 9 games and serious improvement is going to be needed if they are to at least remain in continental competition come the end of the match.
Meanwhile, visitors Vasco are hardly in fine fettle themselves but at least take to the field off the back of a positive 1-1 draw away at arch rivals Flamengo at the weekend. The situation within the Brazilian club is a hostile one at the moment, in the midst of an internal political war and those that take to pitch in Chile will be desperate to raise spirits by claiming the points.
The only way Vasco can leapfrog their opponents is by winning by any margin other than 1-0, so the mission for the visitors is very clear. Vasco have thus far collected just two points in the competition but put in a much improved performance against a powerful Flamengo side in league action, leaving fans hopeful of seeing their team pick up their first 3 points in the group in what is the last game.
Ultimately, both sides arrive under huge pressure from their respective fan bases and thus there’s still a great deal of pressure riding on the game. Universidad have not shamed themselves in the group, the hammering at Cruzeiro apart but miserable domestic form has enraged fans, whilst Vasco have been pitiful in Libertadores action throughout.
Best value looks to be found in backing both nets to be hit. On home soil, La U will want to play in an expansive manner as they look to get the crowd back on side, whilst visitors Vasco have no choice but to play on the front foot, with chasing the win the only option. Both nets have been hit in 5 of Universidad’s last 6 home games, whilst goals at both ends have also featured in 3 of Vasco’s last 4 outings. Given the likely strategy of each team, little change to those sequences is expected, with a 1-1 draw looking on the cards.
Universidad de Chile possible starting XI: De Paul; Schultz, Contreras, Jara, Beausejour; Seymour, Pizarro; Araos; Guerra, Pinilla, Soteldo.
Vasco possible starting XI: Silva, Galhardo, Breno, Werley, Fabrício, Wellington, Desabato, Kelvin, Wagner, Fabricio; Riascos.
Looking for Accumulator tips? See what our experts are tipping today and follow the smart money.
Prior to Universidad’s 1-0 win away at Vasco earlier on in the group, the sides hadn’t met since a 2011 Sudamericana clash which La U won 3-1 on aggregate.
Central midfielder Lorenzo Reyes is suspended.
Left back Henrique is suspended whilst Ramon and young star Paulinho miss out through injury.