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Jul 22, 2021 at 1.30am UK
Argentinos JrsArgentinos Juniors
0-2
River PlateRiver Plate

Torren (6'), Mac Allister (57'), Avalos (72'), Villalba (74'), Sandoval (79'), Gomez (81')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Romero (35', 54')
Montiel (4'), Perez (24'), Zuculini (39')

Preview: Argentinos Juniors vs. River Plate - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Argentinos Juniors vs. River Plate - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Copa Libertadores clash between Argentinos Juniors and River Plate, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Argentinian sides Argentinos Juniors and River Plate will do battle in Buenos Aires on Thursday night in the second leg of their Copa Libertadores last-16 tie.

After drawing the first leg 1-1 last week, the hosts will be looking to reach only their second ever quarter-final, while the visitors are hoping to progress to their fifth in succession.


Match preview

Argentinos Juniors head coach Gabriel Milito will be pleased that his side are not only level heading into the second leg, but are also taking a crucial away goal back to the Estadio Diego Armando Maradona.

After Matias Suarez's 10th-minute opener for the hosts, Gabriel Hauche equalised five minutes before the break with El Binho's only shot on target.

Since last week's draw, Argentinos played out a goalless stalemate away at Independiente in their opening Argentine Clausura match on Monday. They go into the second phase of their domestic season after a disappointing Apertura campaign, finishing in seventh place and winning only five of their 13 league matches.

Milito is keen for their domestic fortunes to turn but he must first focus on their Copa Libertadores second-leg tie with River Plate, as they look to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 1985, when they won the competition.

Argentinos have only lost two of their last 15 matches across all competitions and will fancy their chances of defeating their native rivals on Thursday.

Even though River Plate remain firmly in the tie heading into the second leg, their defensive frailties have been a key factor for their decline in form.

Marcelo Gallardo's men have conceded in 11 of their last 12 matches across all competitions – including eight times during this season's Copa Libertadores – and as a result have won only three times during this period.

Their most recent match ended in defeat, as they lost 2-1 at home to Apertura winners Colon in their opening Argentine Clausura encounter on Sunday.

Los Millonarios can, however, approach Thursday's game in positive fashion as they have progressed to the Copa Libertadores quarter-finals in five of the last six years, winning the competition twice during this period in 2015 and 2018.

River Plate need to score if they are to reach the last eight, and having found the net in each of their last seven games, they will believe they have the quality in the final third to cause Argentinos problems.

Argentinos Juniors Copa Libertadores form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

Argentinos Juniors form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D

River Plate Copa Libertadores form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D

River Plate form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L


Team News

Argentinos Juniors boss Milito is set to recall several players to the starting lineup who were rested over the weekend.

Defender Miguel Torren is expected to come into the first XI ahead of Marco Di Cesare to play in the back three alongside Carlos Quintana and Kevin Mac Allister.

Hauche is likely to be joined in attack by Gabriel Florentin and Gabriel Avalos, with the latter set to play as the central striker.

As for River Plate, Agustin Fontana (knee) and Lucas Pratto (fractured foot) both remain unavailable for selection due to injury.

Centre-back Jonatan Maidana is back from serving a one-match suspension and could be in contention to start at the expense of Paulo Diaz.

Experienced midfielder Enzo Perez could start alongside Agustin Palavecino, with Nicolas De La Cruz set to play in an advanced midfield role behind forwards Julian Alvarez, Braian Romero and Matias Suarez.

Argentinos Juniors possible starting lineup:
Chavez; Mac Allister, Torren, Quintana; Sandoval, Romero, Vera, Florentin, Villalba; Herrera, Avalos

River Plate possible starting lineup:
Armani; Montiel, Maidana, Martinez, Casco; Palavecino, Perez; De La Cruz; Alvarez, Romero, Suarez


We say: Argentinos Juniors 1-2 River Plate (2-3 on aggregate)

A tight encounter between two evenly-matched sides is set to be played out on Thursday, with River Plate knowing that they need to score if they wish to progress.

The visitors have not performed particularly well of late, but they have an impressive record during the Copa Libertadores knockout stages.

Even though Argentinos have made themselves difficult to beat in recent months, we feel that River Plate could turn up for the big occasion in Buenos Aires and seal a narrow victory.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



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