Independiente vs Flamengo
Competition: Copa Sudamericana
Date: 7 December 2017
Kick-off: 00:45 CET
Independiente need to leave aside their off-the-field problems (a top member of the board of directors got arrested for, among other things, co-operating with the club’s infamous “barrabravas” in his own private dirty business, while the coach denounced the head of the same “barrabravas” for blackmailing him!!), focusing on how to deal with a “typical Brazilian team, that can be quiet for half an hour, and then finish a game off in five minutes”, as Ariel Holan, the Avellaneda giants’ coach put it. “We need to be more Independiente than ever before”, Holan also said in a Press conference, “revealing” that the fundamentals of his tactics will be “keep possession of the ball, fight like lions to get it back when we lose it, be simple”. One good thing for Independiente is that their Superliga game last weekend got postponed, which gave them more time to get properly prepared for this match. In the semifinals they eliminated Libertad, losing 1-0 in Asuncion, Paraguay, but winning 3-1 at home in the second leg. Needless to mention, the stadium will be full t-o t-h-e b-r-i-m, as all tickets “disappeared” soon after the victorious return leg of their semifinal.
Funny how things in football can turn… In Brazil, Flamengo fans say they are so many, that if they were a political party, they would be winning all elections. In these two finals against Independiente, there will be more hearts beating fast for Flamengo, many of those… very unexpected. Rio de Janeiro rivals Vasco da Gama just finished 7th in the Brasileirao, earning a Copa Libertadores ticket for next season. But, just for the qualifiers. If Fla win the Sudamericana next week, Vasco get “promoted”, going to the 2018 Copa Libertadores group stage directly, skipping the risky qualifying stages. Atletico Mineiro are said to be Flamengo’s biggest rival outside Rio de Janeiro, because of how big the competition between the two clubs was in previous decades. They finished 9th last weekend, in Brazil’s Serie A, meaning that to be in the Copa Libertadores qualifiers next season, they need Fla to win the Sudamericana. Last, but not least, Sport Recife finished 15th, they avoided relegation, and will be in the Sudamericana next season, if Flamengo win the competition next week. What do they have against Fla? Mid/late 80s, controversy, ill feelings ever since, at least among some of the two clubs’ followers. Bottom line, Sport are not… thrilled to be hoping for a Flamengo triumph, but… desperate times call for improbable… alliances. As for Fla, their goal in added time last weekend, at Vitoria, gave them a 2-1 win that secured their presence in the Libertadores group stage next season. Still, a team with their budget, their roster, their history, their fan base, need something more than that to consider this season “not lost”, and at this point, the only thing that can really “save” their season is winning the Sudamericana.
Previous five matches:
Independiente vs Libertad 3-1
Racing Club vs Independiente 0-1
Libertad vs Independiente 1-0
Independiente vs River Plate 1-0
Belgrano vs Independiente 0-0
Vitoria vs Flamengo 1-2
Junior vs Flamengo 0-2
Flamengo vs Santos 1-2
Flamengo vs Junior 2-1
Flamengo vs Corinthians 3-0
Independiente’s next game is on Saturday, at Arsenal (Argentina Superliga). Flamengo just played their last Brazil Serie A match of the season, so their next game is the return leg of the Sudamericana final, at home, next week.
Independiente vs Flamengo: Head to head Stats
Independiente have hosted Flamengo twice before. They drew 1-1 in 1999, and 0-0 in 2001. Both were Copa Mercosur matches, quarterfinals.
Independiente vs Flamengo: Prediction
I feel the fact that Independiente spent a who week getting ready for this match, a home match, will prove crucial, especially in the last 20 minutes. Remember, Flamengo played a super demanding game last weekend. All things considered, I’m backing the hosts to win.
Independiente vs Flamengo: Betting Tips
Independiente’s win pays 2.05, and that’s my only tip. I can see this game end anything from 1-0 to 3-2, so I’m leaving goals and clean sheets aside.