Reigning Copa Libertadores champions River Plate will look to retain their title when they lock horns with Flamengo on Saturday in the first-ever one-match final.
The 2018 winners beat bitter Buenos Aires rivals and last year’s opponents in the final, Boca Juniors, in the penultimate stage of South America’s flagship competition last month. They will now go toe-to-toe with Brazilian giants Flamengo for the coveted cup.
Under Benfica legend Jorge Jesus, the Rio de Janeiro-based side have been formidable, leading the charge in the Brasileirao Serie A while also masterminding a first Copa Libertadores final appearance in 38 years – back when the likes of Zico, Leandro and Junior were lighting up world football.
Read on for Flamengo v River Plate preview, predictions, TV channel info, team news and more.
When is Flamengo v River Plate and where can I watch live?
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Venue: Estadio Monumental “U”, Peru
Date: Saturday, 23 November 2019
Kick-off: 8:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): Bet365* are streaming the final live for account holders. Those without a Bet365 account already who are interested in streaming Flamengo v River Plate live on Saturday can take advantage of this service by following the simple steps below.
- Click on this link
- ‘Join now’ and enter details.
- Log in and fund the new account.
- Pick the desired event from among the ‘live now’ or ‘schedule’ sections in Bet365’s ‘live streaming’ category.
*Geo restrictions apply, 18+ only, must have a funded account, BeGambleAware.
It was also announced on Thursday that BBC Two will broadcast the match.
Previous meetings: Flamengo v River Plate
24 May 2018: River Plate 0-0 Flamengo (Copa Libertadores)
01 Mar 2018: Flamengo 2-2 River Plate (Copa Libertadores)
Aggregate Score: Flamengo (DD) 2-2 River Plate (DD)
Ones to watch
Flamengo: Gabriel Barbosa
The Inter Milan castaway has not only reinvigorated his career during a highly fruitful loan spell at the Maracana Stadium, but he has possibly enhanced his reputation, such has been the devastating form he has produced under Jesus.
Gabigol has scored a quite impressive 29 goals in 37 appearances for Flamengo, including seven in the Copa Libertadores, earning a recall to the Brazil national side as a result. Many had forgotten about this once precocious forward, but on Saturday he will have no better chance to reintroduce himself to the world and possibly even gain the attention of a certain Antonio Conte.
Key stat: Gabriel Barbosa has scored more goals in the 2019 Copa Libertadores than any other player (seven).
River Plate: Exequiel Palacios
The 21-year-old Argentina international has once again been instrumental in River Plate’s run to the showpiece final. His midfield influence was vital in both legs of Los Millonarios’ semi-final triumph over Boca Juniors, and well, Marcelo Gallardo will no doubt turn to one of his key instigators again for the match in the Peruvian capital.
Real Madrid have naturally been monitoring the progress of the attacking midfielder, who impressed in the Santiago Bernabeu final last year. Palacios will once again be given a chance to showcase his talents on one of world football’s grandest stages this weekend.
Key stat: Exequiel Palacios has registered more passes (775) than any other River Plate player in the Superliga Argentina this season.
Gabriel Barbosa picked up a red card in the league against Gremio on Sunday, adding to his 10 yellow cards, luckily for Flamengo fans this will not impact the Copa Libertadores, though he will need to keep a cool head in such an intense match on Saturday.
Vitinho is a doubt with a muscle injury, but Jesus could turn to teenage sensation Lincoln if his side are struggling in the final third.
The likes of Filipe Luis, Diego Alves, Rafinha and Gerson are all fit and available for this crunch clash, making up for a highly experienced side.
Predicted XI: Alves; Rafinha, Caio, Mari, Luis; Gerson, Arao, Ribeiro, Reinier, Henrique; Gabriel.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Former Manchester City youngster Bruno Zuculini remains out with a thigh injury, so Gallardo is likely to deploy ex-Valencia midfielder Enzo Perez alongside the aforementioned Palacios.
Further forward, the Argentina coach will look to the experienced Matias Suarez and Colombian forward Rafael Santos Borre for the goals. He also has the option of playing mercurial marvel Juan Quintero.
Predicted XI: Armani; Montiel, Martinez, Pinola, Casco; Perez, Palacios, De La Cruz, Fernandez; Borre, Suarez.
Although this current incarnation of Flamengo may not hold a candle to the 1981 Golden Era, Jesus has constructed a well-oiled, ferocious side, consisting of a blend between elite European talent, experience and youth.
River Plate, on the other hand, have vast experience in this competition and will perhaps enter the final as favourites, given that they are the defending champions, but they have been inconsistent in the league this season, while Flamengo have been lethal on all fronts.
Should Jesus coax the maximum performance out of his side, then the Scarlet-Black should be able to overcome the Argentina outfit and add a second Copa Libertadores title to their cabinet.
Scoreline prediction: Flamengo 2-1 River Plate