With the group phase concluded, the knockout rounds for the 2020 Copa Libertadores get underway this week, with Boca Juniors travelling to Internacional for the first leg of their round-of-16 match-up on Thursday at 12:30 am (UK time).
Boca, now managed by Miguel Angel Russo for his second stint in the La Bombonera’s dugout, delivered the Blue and Gold’s last Copa Libertadores triumph, lifting the coveted South American silverware in 2007 before leaving that same year.
Nine clubs and 13 years later the 64-year-old has returned to south Buenos Aires, joining in January before guiding the club to Primera Division glory two months later; he will now be hoping to mirror that success in the annual CONMEBOL competition.
And his side have been in stellar form so far, sauntering to first in Group H without losing a single game, which pairs the Argentines against Group E runners-up Internacional, two-time winners of this competition, with their previous success coming as recently as 2010.
So, despite Boca being the second most successful club in Copa Libertadores history, with six triumphs, their Porto Alegre opposition in midweek are the more recent recipients and under former PSG centre-back Abel Braga they will hope to go all the way again.
The ex-Marseille manager is in charge of Internacional for his sixth separate spell, delivering the club’s first-ever Copa Libertadores win in 2006, and he replaced Eduardo Coudet only a fortnight ago.
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Internacional & Boca Juniors‘s previous line-ups:
- Internacional (vs America Futebol Clube): Lomba; Rodinei, Ze Gabriel, Cuesta, Moises; Dourado, Lindoso, D’Alessandro, Edenilson, Fernandez; Galhardo.
- Boca Juniors (vs Lanus): Andrada; Jara, Mas, Zambrano, Lopez; Campuzano, Gonzalez, Maroni, Villa; Abila, Zarate.
Peru captain Paolo Guerrero remains sidelined for Internacional, with the 36-year-old yet to recover from a cruciate ligament injury picked up in August, while Gabriel Boschilia is also out of action for the hosts. For Boca they could welcome back former Atletico Madrid winger Eduardo Salvio and skipper Carlos Tevez.
Scoreline prediction: Internacional 1-2 Boca Juniors
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