Following their controversial first-leg meeting, Atlético Mineiro and Boca Juniors will face off at Estádio Mineirão with a Copa Libertadores quarter-finals berth up for grabs on Tuesday night (23:15 UK time).
Boca had a goal disallowed through VAR and, following the game, South America’s footballing governing body Conmebol suspended the refereeing team. The game nevertheless ended goalless, meaning it’s still all to play for.
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Where to watch Atlético Mineiro vs Boca Juniors on TV:
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Scoreline prediction: Atlético Mineiro 2-1 Boca Juniors
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Atlético Mineiro vs Boca Juniors build-up & previous line-ups:
The only blip in Atlético Mineiro’s group phase came on matchday one when Deportivo La Guaira held Cuca’s men to a 1-1 draw. It was smooth sailing afterwards. Galo won their remaining five matches, registering 14 goals and conceding just twice. It meant the 2013 champions secured a seventh Copa Libertadores knockout stage appearance. They would soon be drawn against Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors, who they last faced in this competition 43 years ago. Boca couldn’t maximise their first-leg home advantage as Atlético Mineiro left La Bombonera with a hardfought goalless draw, meaning they are one win away from reaching a first quarter-final berth since 2016
Miguel Ángel Russo’s side will not be panicking, though, as they have 90 minutes to secure victory. After starting Group C with back-to-back wins over The Strongest (1-0) and Santos (2-0) they fell to a 1-0 defeat against Ecuadorian side Barcelona, which led to another 1-0 loss at Santos. Following a goalless draw against the aforementioned Barcelona, they concluded the group phase with a straightforward 3-0 success against The Strongest meaning Azul y Oro finished as runner-up. Chasing a record-equalling seventh Copa Libertadores title, and first since 2007 when club icon Juan Román Riquelme played a pivotal role, Boca have it all to do in Brazil where there is no room for error.
- Atlético Mineiro (vs Corinthians): Éverson; Mariano, Silva, Alonso, Dodô; Allan, Jair; Nathan, Hyoran, Zaracho; Hulk.
- Boca Juniors (vs CA Unión): García; Giampaoli, Zambrano, López, Barco; Molinas, Campuzano, Varela, Obando; Orsini, Vázquez.
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Player to watch: Hulk (Atlético Mineiro)
After spending 16 years plying his trade away from home, 34-year-old marksman Hulk returned earlier this year by signing for Atlético Mineiro on a two-year contract. Hulk has a wealth of international tournament experience that includes netting 26 goals across 76 matches in European club competition.
Playing in his first Copa Libertadores, the 48-time capped Brazil international hasn’t disappointed. Hulk would blank in Atlético Mineiro’s opening two matches before registering four goals across his next four appearances, including a brace against Cerro Porteño. Hulk also heads into this meeting with Boca having ended a nine-game goalless drought in Brazil’s top division by netting twice against Corinthians.