Guarani vs River Plate
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 5 July 2017
Kick-off: 02:45 CET
Guarani gave their all the last weeks of Paraguay’s Apertura championship, they finished the season with consecutive wins, but so did Libertad, the leaders did not drop points, not even on the last day of the championship ten days ago, so they finished top, just a single point above Guarani. In the Copa Libertadores group stage, they needed a draw at home on the last day against Deportes Iquique to finish second behind Gremio, and they earned it, 0-0, enough to send them through to the last-16 of the competition.
River Plate traveled to Paraguay with new faces. Left-back Javier Pinola and forward Nacho Scocco signed at the club just a few days ago, coming from Rosario Central and Newell’s Old Boys respectively, and coach Marcelo Gallardo included them in the group that flew to Asuncion. Both players are over 32, obviously River are not… investing in the future by signing them, but both are super experienced, and interestingly, the older they’ve been getting the last couple of years, the better they looked. On the other hand, 21-year-old forward Sebastián Driussi has already been given permission to fly to Russia and finalize the details of his move to Zenit Saint Petersburg. River Plate are also without center-backs Jonatan Maidana (injured), Lucas Martínez Quarta and right-back Camilo Mayada. The last two have been banned provisionally by Conmebol, having been found positive in a doping test. Hopefully, the game will go on without incidents at the gates. The cheapest tickets for the locals cost something like 4.50 euros, while the cheapest tickets given to River Plate fans cost almost 54 euros(!!!), so there are reports that some hardcore River fans will try to get the tickets intended to be sold to locals. Guarani ‘warned’ River’s fans that everyone will be checked at the gates, and only holders of Paraguayan IDs will be allowed in, having one of the cheapest tickets in their hands.
Guarani vs River Plate: Head-to-head Stats
Guarani have hosted River Plate three times in the past. They lost 3-1 in 1966 and 1-0 in 2001. In 2015 they earned a 1-1 draw, it was the return leg of a Copa Libertadores semifinal, but the result was not even close to what the Paraguayan team needed to qualify, having lost 2-0 in Buenos Aires in the first leg.
Guarani vs River Plate: Prediction
Guarani have five consecutive wins, but in Paraguay’s championship. River shot their own foot in the last games of the season in Argentina, ending up finishing second, seven points behind champions Boca. Everything considered, I’m backing the hosts not to lose. River will be perfectly fine with a draw, especially if they score.
Guarani vs River Plate: Tips
‘Guarani or draw’ pays 1.72. If that’s not enough for you, draw is at 3.20, and personally, to make the risk of betting only on draw more worth it, I’d go for ‘draw and under 2.5 goals’, which pays 3.75.