Santa Fe vs River Plate
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 4 May 2018
Kick-off: 02:30 CET
Santa Fe hosted Flamengo last week being the only Libertadores group stage team to have three draws in as many games. Make that four. They are third in the group, two points behind second-placed Flamengo, still in with a chance of finishing in the top 2. Because of Colombia’s irrational calendar, they played at La Equidad a day after hosting Flamengo, and on Sunday they played again, at Deportes Tolima. They failed to qualify for the final stages of Colombia’s championship. Center-backs Javier López and Nicolás Gil are out, as well as defensive midfielder Yeison Gordillo. At this point, the Copa Libertadores presents Santa Fe with a chance to… sort of save their season, at least the first half of it.
River Plate are leading on eight points from four matches, but they haven’t qualified yet. The way they have been looking lately though, it feels that it’s just a matter of time. They have five wins in a row, nine (and a draw) in their last 10 matches, in which they have conceded just three goals. Interestingly, the only time they failed to score was against Santa Fe, in Buenos Aires, in a very dull 0-0 draw. The timing looks perfect for River, who, on top of everything else, didn’t play last weekend in Argentina’s championship, getting extra days of rest ahead of this major game. Marcelo Gallardo doesn’t really have any problems with players missing, his only “problem” is to pick his first 11 among a group of players who have been delivering on a constant basis for weeks now.
Previous five matches:
Deportes Tolima vs Santa Fe 0-0
La Equidad vs Santa Fe 2-0
Santa Fe vs Flamengo 0-0
Santa Fe vs Leones 2-1
Flamengo vs Santa Fe 1-1
River Plate vs Emelec 2-1
Arsenal vs River Plate 0-3
Emelec vs River Plate 0-1
River Plate vs Rosario Central 2-0
Racing Club vs River Plate 0-2
Santa Fe’s next game is against Millonarios, the coming weekend (Colombia championship). River Plate will be visiting Colón Santa Fe on Monday (Argentina Superliga).
Santa Fe vs River Plate: Head to head Stats
Santa Fe have hosted River Plate twice in the last, drawing both times, 2-2 in 1967(!), and 0-0 two years ago (first leg of a Copa Sudamericana final).
Santa Fe vs River Plate: Prediction
I seriously doubt this good-looking, well-rested River Plate will lose to a mediocre-looking and tired Santa Fe.
Santa Fe vs River Plate: Betting Tips
River Plate’s double chance is at 1.48. The fact that they don’t really need to win, keeps me from suggesting their victory in “draw no bet”. Remembering how the first game between these two went, in Buenos Aires, “under 2.5 goals” feels very probable, but doesn’t pay more than 1.53. I would risk with “under 1.5”, at 2.62. I have a 0-0 hunch, or 0-1 for River in the last minutes, when Santa Fe will have to take bigger risks to score that goal they need.
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