Gremio vs River Plate
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 31 October 2018
Kick-off: 01:45 CET
Gremio hosted Sport Recife on Saturday, being considered huge favorites to win the game. In that preview I explained why I preferred Sport’s double chance (2.40) and the Recife side’s win in “draw no bet” (4.40). Both came good, as Gremio lost 3-4(!). The exclamation mark in parenthesis has to do with the score, and not with the fact that Gremio lost. As in many-many cases since the start of the season, they played with their reserves, because they visited River Plate last week, and had the return leg of their Copa Libertadores semifinal coming up right away. Gremio’s reserves are good players, obviously, but they had dropped the ball in several matches recently, so I had very little faith in them. Plus, they were hosting a team that were simply obliged to earn “something” in Porto Alegre, no matter what. Sunday’s training session, had good and bad news for Gremio; winger Everton trained properly, and is expected to start. On the other hand, attacking midfielder Luan didn’t train, and left earlier. Thirty hours before kick-off, the prevailing feeling was that he wouldn’t play against River. According to reports, coach Renato Gaúcho will have Marcelo Grohe, Leonardo Gomes (or Léo Moura), Geromel, Paulo Miranda (or Bressan), Cortez, Maicon, Michel, Ramiro, Cícero, Everton (or Alisson) and Jael in the starting lineup. Center-back Walter Kannemann is out, having received a third yellow card in the first leg, last week, in Buenos Aires. Gremio’s 0-1 victory there gives them a narrow one-goal advantage, but an important one, no doubt.
Just like Gremio, River Plate played with reserves on Saturday, at home, against Aldosivi. Despite not having 10(!) players who usually start, I backed them not just to win (1.65), but to keep a keep sheet as well (2.30, the combination of these two). They did, 1-0, thanks to an awesome Cristian Ferreira strike from outside the box in the 56th minute. River looked… blocked by Gremio in the first leg, created very few chances to score, and generally got outplayed, outsmarted. In the Press conference after their victory over Aldosivi, their coach, Marcelo Gallardo, who receives at least two standing ovations by the fans in every home game at Monumental, told reporters he and his players “couldn’t wait for the return leg to start”. He seemed to… have figured out what went wrong in the first leg, and be eager to… apply solutions. Colombian attacking midfielder Quintero was extremely poor last week, and may not start. Scocco was poor as well, and may lose his position to Pratto. According to reports, River’s starting lineup will be Armani, Montiel, Maidana, Pinola, Casco, Quintero or Nacho Fernández, Ponzio, Palacios, Pity Martínez, Borré, Scocco or Pratto.
Previous five matches:
Gremio vs Sport Recife 3-4
River Plate vs Gremio 0-1
America Mineiro vs Gremio 1-1
Palmeiras vs Gremio 2-0
Gremio vs Bahia 2-2
River Plate vs Aldosivi 1-0
River Plate vs Gremio 0-1
Colon vs River Plate 1-0
River Plate vs Sarmiento Resistencia 3-1
River Plate vs Independiente 3-1
Gremio’s next game is on Saturday, at Atlético Mineiro (Brazil Série A). Same day, River Plate will be visiting Estudiantes de La Plata (Argentina Superliga).
Gremio vs River Plate: Head to head Stats
Gremio have hosted River three times in the past. Two wins for them, one for the Argentinian side. Total goals, 7-3.
Gremio vs River Plate: Prediction
Detail: the grass at Monumental is absolutely perfect. At Arena do Gremio, anything but. Part of it was destroyed a few days ago when the stadium hosted a Shakira concert. It looked poor even before that, and now looks even worse. Gremio’s coach admitted that this is a real problem for his team, who love… good fields, being blessed technically. Gremio are considered favorites to win the game. I’m going against the odds, backing River to earn at least a draw, and honestly, I won’t be surprised if they qualify for the final.
Gremio vs River Plate: Betting Tips
River’s double chance is at 1.70, and their win in “draw no bet” at 2.60.