Preview: Santa Fe vs River Plate
Sports Mole presents Thursday’s Copa Libertadores clash between Santa Fe and River Plate, including predictions, team news and possible rosters.
Santa Fe host River plate Thursday in the third week of the Copa Libertadores, with the hosts still looking for their first win in this season’s tournament.
The meeting between the two teams is the first since 2018, when Argentina’s River Plate came out on top with a 1-0 victory, and they finally won their fourth Copa Libertadores title that year.
Harold RiveraSanta Fe finished the Primera A season in second place, meaning they made it to the championship playoffs, but the Colombian team was knocked out of the mini-league tournament at the first hurdle.
Last time around, Santa Fe hosted Atletico Junior at Estadio Nemesio Camacho El Campin in the second leg of their quarter-final, with the visitors holding a 3-1 lead from the first leg.
The home side recorded four shots on target in that game on Sunday, but failed to convert any of their chances into goals and the game then ended in a goalless draw.
Midfielder Daniel Giraldo, who has been an integral part of Santa Fe’s starting XI this season, was sent off in the dying moments of that game for a second bookable offense and added selection issues for Rivera ahead of Thursday’s clash with River Plate.
The league’s playoff loss means Santa Fe will now be fully focused on improving her form in the Copa Libertadores, as with four games to go she is currently at the bottom of Group D.
In varying fortunes, Thursday’s visitors River Plate got off to a better start to their Copa Libertadores campaign, with a win and draw to their name.
Marcelo GallardoThe early favorites to win Group D with Fluminense, who made the exact same start to the tournament, including goals scored and goals conceded in their group matches.
However, their form in Liga Profesional Argentina is not as good as two losses on the rebound put River Plate in fourth place, and last time they suffered a 1-0 loss to Banfield.
Despite dominating possession in that game, seeing 69 percent of the ball, River Plate failed to register enough shots on target and the hosts on Sunday claimed a 1-0 victory over Gallardo’s side, thanks to a strike from the 63rd minute of Juan alvarez.
The history of head-to-head meetings between Santa Fe and River Plate suggests Thursday’s game won’t be a high-scoring game, with two of their last four games ending in 0-0 draws.
Santa Fe Copa Libertadores form:
Santa Fe form (all competitions):
River Plate Copa Libertadores shape:
River Plate shape (all competitions):
The article continues after the announcement
Santa Fe will be without Giraldo, 28, as he will serve his suspension for his red card he received against Junior, with Jhon Velasquez in line to enter the midfield.
Carlos arboleda returned to Rivera’s starting lineup last time around after missing week two of the Copa Libertadores with a suspension, and he is expected to start again on Thursday.
Top scorer in Santa Fe Kelvin Osorio, who has six goals this season, will be looking to score his first goal since the tournament’s opening round.
Center-Back River Plate Javier pinola stay away with a broken hand and forward Matias suarez has also been absent since early April for injury.
A potential defensive boost for Gallardo will be the return of Jonatan Maidana, which has been excluded from recent games due to coronavirus.
Rafael Santos Borre Will lead the line for the Argentina team, and he has seven goals in 12 appearances for his team this season.
Possible starting line-up from Santa Fe:
Castellanos; Mosquera, Moralez, Torijano, Arboleda; Velasquez, Pico; Osorio, Gonzalez, Arias; Ramos
Possible starting range of River Plate:
Armani; Martinez, Rojas, Diaz, Angileri; De La Cruz, Perez, Montiel; Alvarez, Rollheiser; Borre
We say: Santa Fe 1-2 River Plate
River Plate hasn’t kept a clean sheet in their last four games in all competitions, potentially giving Santa Fe a chance to get on the scoreboard.
However, River Plate is a four-time Copa Libertadores champion and we expect them to withdraw from the last two teams in Group D with a win over Santa Fe without a win.