River Plate vs Independiente Medellin
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 26 May 2017
Kick-off: 00:30 CET
River Plate have already qualified, actually they have already secured the group’s top spot, they have 13 points, but… almost as many players missing. Read this: goalkeeper Enrique Bologna, center-back Leandro Vega, left-backs Milton Casco and Luis Olivera, defensive midfielder Ivan Rossi, attacking midfielder Denis Rodriguez, and center-forwards Rodrigo Mora, Marcelo Larrondo, and Ivan Alonso, a total of nine players, are either injured, facing some other health issue, or back from an injury, but not fit enough to play. Adding injury to insult, center-back Gonzalo Montiel and attacking midfielder Exequiel Palacios are also unavailable, participating in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea. That’s a total of 11 players, a… whole team, that coach Marcelo Gallardo cannot count on. Under different circumstances, he would rest all his regulars. The way things are, though, he is obliged to play some, at least some, of those who played against Gimnasia La Plata as well, on Monday, in River’s 3-0 win away from home. Gallardo’s team are second in Argentina’s championship, four points behind leaders Boca Juniors, but with a game in hand.
Medellin have no one to blame but themselves for their dire position in the group. In their last match they hosted Emelec, and had a golden opportunity to kill them off, secure the second spot, and a ticket to the last 16 of the competition. They didn’t even earn a point… Defeat, 2-1, which means that now they are looking for a miracle, as they called it themselves, before flying to Buenos Aires. Not only they need to beat River Plate, but they also need lowly Melgar to beat Emelec. In Guayaquil. Good luck with that… Last weekend, Medellin won 2-1 at Alianza Petrolera, they remain second in Colombia’s championship, but ironically, their two best players in that match, defensive midfielder Eduard Atuesta (two assists) and center-forward Carlos Ibarguen (one goal), are not available for this game, since they were not included at the stat of the Libertadores season in the list that the club sent to CONMEBOL.
River Plate vs Independiente Medellin: Head-to-head Stats
This is the second time River Plate are hosting Medellin. The first one was… half a century ago, in 1967, when they thrashed them 6-2. River have beaten Medellin twice in Colombia as well, both in 1967 and earlier this season.
River Plate vs Independiente Medellin: Prediction
River Plate played with an alternative lineup against Emelec, two game weeks ago, and they drew 1-1, at home. This time their lineup will be… even more alternative, but I really doubt they will ‘allow’ Medellin to get a better result than what Emelec got in Buenos Aires. Exactly because of their… situation though, explained earlier, I’m super hesitant to back them to win. Since ‘River or draw’ pays practically nothing, I’m turning to something else to double my money.
River Plate vs Independiente Medellin: Tips
Under 2.5 goals, this is my tip on this game, it pays 2.00, and I prefer it to a simple River Plate win (at 1.75).