Cruzeiro vs Racing Club
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 23 May 2018
Kick-off: 02:30 CET
Cruzeiro have – practically – already qualified for the next round of the Copa Libertadores, insane things need to happen to be left third, but even so, Mano Menezes chose to rest several key players last weekend, when the “Raposa” faced Atlético Mineiro in Belo Horizonte’s huge derby. Cruzeiro lost 1-0, their first bad result after four wins in a row. Center-back Dedé is available, despite having been called-up by Tite, Brazil’s national coach, in the pre-selection for the World Cup finals. Cruzeiro asked and got a special permit to have their player available in this game. Same with Uruguayan attacking midfielder Giorgian de Arrascaeta. Cruzeiro are on eight points, three less than Racing Club, and have a better goal difference, meaning that a simple 1-0 win will be enough for Cruzeiro to finish first (and have, theoretically, a better draw in the round of 16, on June 4). Universidad de Chile are three points behind them, but the goal difference is huge, Cruzeiro are at +9, and “La U” at -7.
Racing Club players’ ears must still be buzzing after that deafening 1-0 defeat to minnows Sarmiento Resistencia in the Copa Argentina, last Thursday. It was a knock-out game early in the competition, against a team that had to travel 1000km on a bus, a team coming from a lower category, Racing played with a pretty much full squad, and still, they lost 1-0, a real shock. Coach Eduardo Coudet used some pretty harsh words after the game, including himself in those who let the fans down, the club down. This is their chance to bounce back, the last game in this first half of the year. They have already qualified for the last 16 of the competition, but they need a draw to finish first, and have – at least theoretically – a better draw. Center-back Leonardo Sigali, right-back Renzo Saravia, and defensive midfielder Nery Domínguez are out, due to different injury problems. Lautaro Martínez, Racing’s biggest star at the moment, with five goals to his name in as many Libertadores group matches, is one of those who made the trip to Belo Horizonte.
Previous five matches:
Atletico Mineiro vs Cruzeiro 1-0
Atletico Paranaense vs Cruzeiro 1-2
Cruzeiro vs Sport Recife 2-0
Cruzeiro vs Botafogo 1-0
Vasco da Gama vs Cruzeiro 0-4
Racing Club vs Sarmiento Resistencia 0-1
Racing Club vs Colon 1-3
Racing Club vs Arsenal 2-0
Estudiantes vs Racing Club 1-2
Racing Club vs Universidad Chile 1-0
Cruzeiro’s next game is at Santos, on Sunday (Brazil Série A). Racing don’t have a next game scheduled yet.
Cruzeiro vs Racing Club: Head to head Stats
Cruzeiro have hosted Racing just once before, in 1999. It was a Copa Mercosur group stage game, which the Brazilians won 2-0.
Cruzeiro vs Racing Club: Prediction
Racing are hurt, their last game was a… trauma, they want at least a draw to finish first, but I feel Cruzeiro have what it takes to impose their own rule on the pitch, in front of their fans.
Cruzeiro vs Racing Club: Betting Tips
Cruzeiro’s win, at 1.85, is my main tip. “Both teams to score” pays 1.95 (I have a 2-1 hunch).
More Copa Libertadores betting tips and match previews: