Thursday night (9:30pm Eastern; 2:30am UK) in Argentina, Estudiantes La Plata host Brazilian side Fortaleza in the second leg of a tight Round of 16 Copa Libertadores tie, with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line.
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Where to watch Estudiantes LP vs Fortaleza on TV:
- UK: BBC
- US: beIN Sports
A week after battling to a 1-1 draw in the northeast of Brazil, Estudiantes La Planta and Fortaleza reconvene just down the coast from Buenos Aires to settle their round of 16 Copa Libertadores tie, and determine who will go on to face Brazilian side Club Athletico Paranaense in the tournaments quarterfinal round.
In the first leg in Brazil, the sides were fairly evenly matched, attempting the same number of shots (10) and free kicks (14), with Fortaleza holding a slight advantage in corner kicks (4-2) and Estudiantes holding the same 4-2 edge in shots on target. In the end, each had a second half goal – an opener from Fortaleza’s Silvio Romero in the 55th, and an equalizer by Estudiantes’ Leandro Diaz eight minutes later – to show for its effort, though it is worth noting that Estudiantes did look the likelier of the sides to find a winner, with a 56-44 advantage in ‘dangerous attacks’.
Domestically, neither of these sides is having the best of times. Through six games of Argentina’s Primera División season, Estudiantes sit 16th in the 28-team league, with just two wins and six goals scored. Their guests, meanwhile, are faring markedly worse. Through 15 matches in Brazil’s Serie A, Fortaleza sit rock bottom with 10 points, having won just twice, with just 13 goals scored.
Needless to say, Fortaleza will need to find some form between now and season’s end if they’re going to make up the (for now) seven-point gap between themselves and the safety of 16th in the table. Estudiantes, meanwhile, have no survival concerns whatsoever – in part because, yes, they currently enjoy the comfort and safety of mid-table, but really because Argentinean professional football has yet to reinstitute relegation following its suspension at the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic.
All of these, however, are matters for another day. On Thursday, these two sides will take to the pitch in La Plata, with a simple mission: win. By any means… win! Do so, and awaiting you is a place in the final eight of the most prestigious club competition in South America.
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