Copa Libertadores Semi-Final preview: River Plate vs. Palmeiras (Tue - 21:30h. GMT-3; Wed - 01:30h. CET) - Team news, possible lineups

River Plate will be looking to make a statement of intent when they welcome Brazilian opponents Palmeiras to the Estadio Libertadores de América in the first leg of this eagerly-awaited Copa Libertadores semi-final.

Palmeiras, who last won the competition back in 1999, will need to go all out in Buenos Aires if they are to take any advantage into the second leg next Wednesday.

Match preview

Undefeated, although not exactly fresh from their Superclasico stalemate on Sunday, Los Millonarios can take pride in the fact that they are now unbeaten in 13 consecutive games, a statistic that may well be giving Palmeiras boss Abel Ferreira sleepless nights in the lead-up to this contest.

It is fair to say that, so far in the competition, things have been pretty straightforward for River, who comfortably won their group before dispatching Club Athletico Paranaense in the second round.

In the quarter-final against Uruguayan adversaries Nacional, River turned on the charm, ruthlessly ending their opponents' dreams of reaching the semi-finals in a tie that ended 8-2 on aggregate.

There is little doubt about it, with the form that River are in, a comprehensive result against the Big Green could propel them to within touching distance of their third Copa Libertadores final in as many seasons.

However, Palmeiras, who are perhaps the buoyant underdogs of this season's semi-finals, are not likely to simply roll over for Marcelo Gallego's side.

During the formative stages of the competition, the Sao Paulo-based outfit stormed their group, finishing top without losing a single game.

In the last 16, Ferreira's men outplayed Delfin across both legs, scoring eight goals against their Ecuadorian opponents.

Against Libertad in the quarter-finals, Palmeiras put the Paraguayans to the sword, winning the tie 4-1 on aggregate.

However, Palmeiras have undoubtedly been more tested in the Brasileirão this season, with the team finishing 2020 in sixth place.

On the other hand, a spot in the Copa Libertadores final for Ferreira's men would undoubtedly make these domestic shortcomings look very trivial.

River Plate Copa Libertadores form: WWDWWW
River Plate form (all competitions): WDWWWD

Palmeiras Copa Libertadores form: WWWWDW
Palmeiras form (all competitions): WWLDWW

Team News

The games have been coming thick and fast for Gallego's men over the festive period, and fatigue will certainly be something that the manager will consider when naming his starting XI.

The Superclasico on the weekend was also something of a gruelling experience for River and its impact may well prompt Gallego into making a change or two.

Matias Suarez, who did not feature against Boca Juniors, could partner Rafael Borre in attack, but Gallego may instead opt for Lucas Beltran.

Fabricio Angileri and Jorge Moreira are both unavailable due to injury.

Palmeiras, who have also had a busy festive schedule, will be without Gabriel Veron and veteran skipper Felipe Melo, the latter due to COVID-19.

Wesley and Jean also remain out with more long-term injuries.

River Plate possible starting lineup:
Armani; Pinola, Diaz, Rojas, Montiel; Perez, De La Cruz, Carrascal, Zuculini; Borre, Beltran

Palmeiras possible starting lineup:
Weverton; Vina, Gomez, Garcia, Rocha; Menino, Danilo, Willian, Veiga, Rony; Adriano

Source: Sports Mole / Francis Buchanan 



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