It’s honours even and all to play for when Santos host Gremio in the second leg of their quarter-final clash for a place in the Copa Libertadores semi-final on Wednesday at 10.15pm (UK time).
The Brazilian sides played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg with plenty of late drama. The Sao Paulo club led through a first-half strike from wonderkid Kaio Jorge, before going a man down in the dying embers and conceding a 97th-minute penalty in a separate incident, which veteran Diego Souza converted.
Where to watch Santos vs Gremio on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: beIN SPORTS
Where to live stream Santos vs Gremio:
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Scoreline prediction: Santos 2-1 Gremio
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Santos vs Gremio build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Cuca’s Santos flew through the group stages, topping Group G in unbeaten fashion with five wins and a draw from their six games, but their meeting with Group D runners-up LDU Quito was anything but a straightforward task in the last-16. Santos progressed, but only on away goals after a hard-fought 2-2 draw.
Gremio meanwhile followed suit and clinched top spot in Group E, but the Porto Alegre side breezed through the first knockout round, putting Paraguayan outfit Guarani to the sword in a 4-0 demolition. Having struck late in the first leg against Santos, the momentum is very much with Renato Portaluppi’s men.
- Santos (vs Flamengo): Paulo; Madson, Felipe, Alex, Leonardo; Alison, Roberto, Mota, Braga, Tailson; Leonardo.
- Gremio (vs Goias): Vanderlei; Orejuela, Oliveira, Kannemann, Cortez; Mendes, Silva, Santos, Henrique, Pepe; Churin.
Wholesale changes were made at the weekend from both managers with one eye on this clash. Santos kept 18-year-old wonderkid Kaio Jorge on ice, and he should take the place of 17-year-old Marcos Leonardo, who started against Flamengo. Both Carlos Sanchez and Raniel are currently sidelined for the hosts, while Diego Pituca is suspended owing to the red card he picked up in the first leg.
Players to watch:
- Santos: Kaio Jorge is only 18 and generating plenty of noise at a club responsible for the emergence of such talents in the mould of Neymar, Gabigol and Rodrygo, but there is a player younger than him who comes with a €100m release clause in his contract and record-breaking pedigree in the youth ranks. Marcos Leonardo, the aforementioned 17-year-old, who started in the loss to Flamengo over the weekend, has hit triple-digits in the Santos academy, more than his predecessors (including Neymar), and is being touted for future stardom. The teenage phenom has already netted in the Copa Libertadores, during the group stages, and while he may not start against Gremio, in that case keep an eye on teenage compatriot Kaio Jorge, he may get some minutes on the pitch.
- Gremio: From one end of the spectrum to the other, Diego Souza is very much in the twilight years of his career at 35, but it was the former Benfica forward who cancelled out Jorge’s opener in the first leg. Santos’ young goalscorer was not born when Souza made his professional debut for Fluminense in 2003; indeed there was an 18-year gulf between the scorers in the first leg. As a Brazil international, Souza will welcome the next generation to carry the baton forward, but he is certainly not finished yet, and will no doubt be dreaming of guiding Gremio to a fourth crown, and a first Copa Libertadores for himself.
Copa Libertadores 2020 recent form:
- Santos: DLWWW
- Gremio: DWWDW
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