Godoy Cruz vs Gremio
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 5 July 2017
Kick-off: 00:15 CET
A week ago, Godoy Cruz beat Newell’s Old Boys 2-0 in Rosario on the last day of the championship in Argentina, but those three points were not enough to push them higher than 14th, which means that they failed to earn one of the tickets for either the Copa Libertadores or Copa Sudamericana of next season. Actually, this is their last game of the season, in a way, meaning that right after the final whistle the squad goes on vacation, and there are players who don’t know if they will still be at the team on July 18, when they will return to training. One player who already knows he won’t be back, is Rodrigo Rey. The 26-year-old goalkeeper has already signed for PAOK, and will spend the next season at the Greek Cup holders. Godoy Cruz qualified rather easily from the group stage, finishing second, two points behind leaders Atletico Mineiro, and five above Libertad. Coach Lucas Bernardi is expected to start the game with Rodrigo Rey, Luciano Abecasis, Leonel Galeano, Sebastián Olivarez, Fabrizio Angileri (or Facundo Cobos, this seems to be his only dilemma), Ángel González, Fabián Henríquez, Gastón Giménez, Juan Fernando Garro, Javier Correa and Santiago García.
Gremio dropped the ball in Brazil’s championship. Back-to-back losses to Corinthians and Palmeiras have left them seven points behind the former (Corinthians won last weekend as well). They did thrash Atletico Paranaense 4-0 in a Copa do Brasil game last week though, having given priority to the knock-out matches at this stage of the season. Ecuadorian attacking midfielder Miler Bolaños and left-back Marcelo Oliveira recovered from injuries and played in Gremio’s 1-0 loss to Palmeiras on Saturday. There are three players who didn’t travel with the group to Argentina though. Right-back Léo Moura, central midfielder Maicon and Argentinian attacking midfielder Gastón Fernández are all injured and unavailable. Gremio finished top of their group in the previous stage, two points above second-placed Guarani.
Godoy Cruz vs Gremio: Head-to-head Stats
Godoy Cruz and Gremio have never faced each other before in a Conmebol competition.
Godoy Cruz vs Gremio: Prediction
I will be very surprised if Gremio lose. I have no doubt the Argentines will… bleed, if necessary, to get a positive result, but the difference in the quality between the two teams is such, that deep down I expect the visitors to at least avoid defeat.
Godoy Cruz vs Gremio: Tips
Given that ‘draw or Gremio’ pays too little, just 1.45, I’m taking the risk to back the visitors to win, at 2.60. For even more than that, I would bet on them to win and keep a clean sheet, a combination that pays 4.00.