Fluminense v Cerro Porteno
Live on Betfair
The early stages of the knockout rounds have found out a few teams in this year’s Copa Libertadores, but one side firmly on track of reaching the last eight are Brazil’s Fluminense.
Quickfire goals in the second half saw Fluminense dispatch Paraguayan outfit Cerro Porteno 2-0 and without sounding too cliché, they now have a mountain to climb in the second leg if they are to get anything out of the tie.
Domestically, Cerro Porteno have struggled of late, having failed to win any of their last 10 matches. You have to go all the way back to the 2nd May for their last victory, a 2-0 win over Olimpia Asuncion – a side who surprisingly knocked out Internacional on penalties last week to reach the quarter-finals stage.
Two 1-0 victories over La Guaira and America De Cali in the Copa Libertadores has only masked over the problems the Paraguayan side are currently facing and it’s worth noting they have never reached the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores in their 38 appearances to date.
They are very much out of their depth at this stage of the competition and their trip to Brazil will only reinforce that statement.
Although Cerro Porteno have their own issues, Fluminense have hit a rocky patch of form of late, which may suggest why their price is currently 1.84/5 – which I still find to be rather generous.
The Brazilian club have lost both domestic matches 1-0 since defeating Cerro Porteno – although they were to Palmeiras and Gremio – both giants in Brazil.
Fluminense then lost their first leg of their Copa do Brasil fixture to Criciuma, but they tore them apart at home 3-0 to reach the semi-finals.
At a quick glance, Fluminense’s form hasn’t been great, especially winning just one of their last five home matches, but factoring in their opponents within those matches, Fluminense head into their Copa Libertadores match knowing they can once again dominate their opponents.
Despite a 2-0 lead, I’ll be surprised to see Fluminense not look to kill the tie off early and rest players ahead of their hectic schedule. The home side will also be allowed a limited crowd back for the first time in this competition, and as we have seen around the world, the addition of fans has certainly brought more out of players. With a quarter final spot on the line, make no mistake that Fluminense will bring their A game.
The only negative I can see for Fluminense is the fact their winger, Caio Paulista, who assisted both goals in the first leg, is likely to miss the tie due to a thigh injury. However, they do have Kayky to call upon, Manchester City’s future wonderkid who has featured on numerous occasions in this competition.
Using the Bet Builder option, you can back Fluminense to win and under 3.5 goals at 2.1011/10 which I’d advise to back with a one-point stake.
A repeat of the 2-0 score line is available at 7.06/1 for those wanting punchier odds, but I won’t be risking my current win streak with that particular bet.
The quarter-finals kick off next week, so watch out for my column then.