Atletico Nacional vs Barcelona
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 26 May 2017
Kick-off: 02:45 CET
Atletico Nacional have been a major disappointment in this season’s Copa Libertadores, but judging by what they have been saying these last days, they are determined to leave the competition on a high. Besides, mathematically, they can still finish third, which would allow them to continue in the Copa Sudamericana, the competition they didn’t win last year, despite reaching the final, after everything that happened with Chapecoense’s plane on their way to Colombia. Last week they lost 1-0 at Botafogo, that was the decisive blow to their hopes for a top two finish, and right after that they drew 0-0 at home to Deportivo Cali, a game in which coach Reinaldo Rueda made seven changes to his starting lineup, compared to the one against Botafogo. Atletico Nacional remain first in Colombia’s championship, ten whole points above second-placed Medellin. To finish third in the group, they need to win, obviously, and also Estudiantes to lose at home to Botafogo.
Barcelona have already qualified for the next stage of the competition, but in their previous game they managed to make a ridicule of themselves losing 3-0 to Estudiantes at home, making it all too clear that they couldn’t care less about finishing first in the group. Last weekend they beat Universidad Catolica 2-1 away from home, in Ecuador’s championship. They are sitting fourth in the table, four points behind leaders Delfin, but also with a game in hand. In their two previous away games in the group they were impressive, to say the least. They beat Estudiantes 2-0 in Argentina, same with Botafogo in Brazil, two massive wins over big opponents, without even conceding a goal.
Atletico Nacional vs Barcelona: Head-to-head Stats
Atletico Nacional have hosted Barcelona twice before. In 1998 they beat them 4-0, but in 2015 they lost 3-2, in a Copa Libertadores group stage game.
Atletico Nacional vs Barcelona: Prediction
I would back Atletico Nacional to beat Barcelona even if the visitors hadn’t lost with their hands down in their previous group game, the one after their qualification for the next stage had been secured. Atletico may have failed in the Libertadores this season, but they still have their pride, they are the running champions in the competition, and they must, as well, exhaust their chances to finish third, and continue playing international football this season, even in the Copa Sudamericana.
Atletico Nacional vs Barcelona: Tips
Atletico Nacional’s win pays just 1.53. For something over 2.00, I’m going for an Atletico win in a game that will have no more than two goals. This pays 3.50. Atletico were impressive in their last home game in the group, they beat Estudiantes 4-1, soon after that they scored four goals against Chapecoense as well (return leg of the Recopa Sudamericana final), but in their last four games in all competitions they have scored just one goal. One goal in four matches is a pitiful number, no matter if in some of those games Atletico played with an alternative lineup.