River Plate vs Emelec
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 11 May 2017
Kick-off: 00:15 CET
River Plate have been very consistent so far in the group games, they have maintained a perfect record of wins and only wins, two of those away from home, two of their three wins have come even though they were left behind in the score in the first five minutes, they have scored a total of nine goals, and all in all they have shown that they have what it takes to be considered serious contenders for the Libertadores title, no matter if it’s still early. Last weekend they beat Temperley 4-1 at home, they now have six wins in their last seven games in Argentina’s championship, they have climbed fifth, just one point below the top four, and seven from leaders Boca Juniors, having a game in hand as well. This Sunday they are actually visiting Boca. Coach Gallardo decided to give center-back Jonathan Maidana, left-back Milton Casco, and defensive midfielder Leonardo Ponzio a much needed rest, keeping the Boca derby in mind. According to reports, he intends to include in the starting lineup against Emelec, players who haven’t appeared that much lately, like Arturo Mina, Luis Olivera, and Tomás Andrade.
Emelec have been below average so far in the group, losing at Melgar, losing at home to River Plate, but at least beating Medellin in Guayaquil. Their last game was ten days ago, an 1-1 draw at home to Delfin, their second straight draw in Ecuador’s championship, where they are now sitting third in the table, three points behind leaders Delfin, but with a game in hand. It’s impressive that Emelec failed to beat Delfin twice the last three weeks (they drew 3-3 at Delfin as well), conceding goals in the 92nd and 89th minute. Plus, River’s second goal in their 2-1 victory in Guayaquil two weeks ago came also in the last ten minutes of the match. Even so, this is Emelec’s huge opportunity to earn at least a point in a stadium they shouldn’t have expected to pick up any points. River seem concentrated on their Boca derby coming up this Sunday, with Gallardo making it all too clear he is ready to rotate several players.
River Plate vs Emelec: Head-to-head Stats
River Plate have hosted Emelec twice before, beating them 5-0 and 2-0 in 2001 and 2003 respectively.
River Plate vs Emelec: Prediction
Super tricky… There is no doubt River are much-much better, but Gallardo decided to rest key players, and looks like he is going to leave on the bench several others. River, though, do have players to step up and do the job, especially against a team that have looked very unreliable so far in the group matches. Deep down, despite Gallardo’s extensive rotation, I expect River to win, even by just… half a goal.
River Plate vs Emelec: Tips
River’s win pays just 1.57, which would look normal under different circumstances, but for reasons already explained (extensive rotation), I find it inadequate. Under 2.5 goals is at 2.07, and I feel it represents better value than a simple River win, given that the hosts are going to play with a super alternative lineup, and Emelec have struggled offensively in their group matches so far. River Plate and under 2.5 is at 4.33, it’s a much bigger gamble than a simple under 2.5, but at 4.33 I do find it tempting.