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Copa Libertadores 2020: A look at the opening-day fixtures

  • Tonight sees the return of the Copa Libertadores, Here is a brief overview of Tuesday evening's fixtures.
Louis Smith
ANALYST
Preview
Modified 03 Mar 2020, 22:27 IST

Flamengo are the defending champions.
Flamengo are the defending champions.

The Copa Libertadores group stage will finally get underway after months of intense qualifying rounds on Tuesday night, with twelve teams hoping to get off to the perfect start.

Tonight they will be six games for you to cast your eyes on, similar to the Champions League format, there will be two earlier kick-offs followed by four later ones.

The first games begin at 22:30 GMT, with Santos of Brazil playing in the competition for the first time since 2018, their first game sees them taking on an Argentine side making their debut in the Copa Libertadores, Defensa y Justiça.

Defensa managed to upset the odds in the domestic league in 2019 by finishing runners-up, narrowly missing out on what would have been their first-ever title. They're also currently managed by former Chelsea forward Hernan Crespo.

In the other early kick-off, another Brazilian side, Internacional, take on the Chilean champions Universidad Católica. Inter only narrowly made it through the qualifying rounds, so it will be interesting to see how they get on in their opener.  

Then at 00:30 GMT Libertad of Paraguay take on Independiente Medellín (known as DIM) in Colombia in what promises to be an exciting game which could go either way.

Libertad have started their domestic league campaign extremely well and sit on top of the league standings after seven games; however, at the weekend they suffered a first loss to newly-promoted Guaireña. 

For DIM, despite making it past the qualifiers, domestically they’ve started the season poorly as they sit in 14th after seven matches. 

2017 winners, Grêmio, face a potentially tricky to take on America De Cali. Gremio will be aiming to put last year's semi-final mauling by Flamengo behind them. They have managed to keep on to their little onion Everton Soares, who will be hoping to help spearhead a Gremio victory.

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2018 runners up, Boca Juniors play their first Copa Libertadores game since losing to River Plate in the semi-final last year, they start their campaign with a trip to Caracas where they're expected to pick up three points. 

Athletico Paranaense host Uruguayan giants Peñarol, which could have the potential to be one of the games of the night. 

Peñarol just missed out on qualification for the knockout stages last year, this time they will be hoping for an improvement, a result in Brazil would get them off to the perfect start.

Athletico have lost one of their key figures in Bruno Guimarães, who has made a blinding start to life in Europe at Lyon, it will be interesting to see how they get on in the competition without him. 

Published 03 Mar 2020, 22:27 IST
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