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May 26, 2022 at 11pm UK at Arena da Baixada
Athletico PR
5 - 1
Pablo (19', 22'), Christian (45+1', 71'), Rocha (75')
FT(HT: 3-0)
Rivero (58')
Suarez (55'), Notaroberto (90+1')

Preview: Athletico Paranaense vs. Caracas - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Athletico Paranaense vs. Caracas - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Copa Libertadores clash between Athletico Paranaense and Caracas, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

In a group separated by just a single point, Athletico Paranaense and Caracas will fight for a place in the Copa Libertadores knockout stage on Thursday, as they square off in the last set of group stage matches.

The hosts currently sit second on seven points after a victory last time out, having leapfrogged their opponents who find themselves fourth but within touching distance of the top two.

Match preview

Athletico Paranaense booked their place in this year's Copa Libertadores as they triumphed in the Copa Sudamericana last season, and they kicked off the new continental campaign with a goalless draw away at Caracas and a 1-0 home win over The Strongest.

A narrow defeat to Club Libertad then followed, before they were thrashed 5-0 by The Strongest in Bolivia, leaving the Rubro-Negro with a tough task to break back into the top two.

Newly under the management of Luiz Felipe Scolari, Athletico Paranaense gave their qualification hopes a huge boost in their most recent continental outing, beating Libertad 2-0 on home turf thanks to goals from Tomas Cuello and Agustin Canobbio.

With that win moving them level with the Paraguayan outfit and one point ahead of The Strongest and Thursday's opponents, they still have plenty of work to do and will hope to book their place in the last 16 with what would be a third win of the group campaign.

They take on a Caracas side aiming to leapfrog their hosts and climb into the top two with an away win.

Los Rojos del Avila returned to the continent's elite tournament after reaching the final of their domestic top flight last term, but they were left on just two points from three matches as their opening stalemate with the Rubro-Negro was followed by a defeat to Libertad and a 1-1 draw with The Strongest.

They then posted a crucial 1-0 victory at home to the latter thanks to Samson Akinyoola's goal, leaving the Venezuelans third in the group, ahead of Thursday's opponents, heading into the last two games.

Francesco Stifano's side then drew 0-0 with The Strongest in their latest continental outing, with neither side able to break the deadlock, meaning they now head into the final round of games with a one-point gap to bridge if they are to qualify for the knockout stage.

With their opponents and Libertad both sitting on seven points, Caracas, who currently sit seventh in the Venezuelan top flight, will be keen to post a victory that would guarantee a place in the round of 16, while a third-placed finish would at least grant entry into the Copa Sudamericana.

Athletico Paranaense Copa Libertadores form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Athletico Paranaense form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Caracas Copa Libertadores form:
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D

Caracas form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Athletico Paranaense will likely remain without Thiago Heleno, Marcelo and Vitinho due to ongoing injury issues.

Creative midfielder David Terans scored a brace in their recent league win over Avai to take his tally to seven goals for the season across all competitions, and he will again feature from the outset in a 4-2-3-1 system.

Either side of him, Tomas Cuello and Agustin Canobbio should again operate on the flanks after each netting goals in their win over Libertad.

Despite being sent off in their last league game, Manuel Sulbaran will be available for selection for Caracas, with his suspension instead applying to their next domestic match.

Samson Akinyoola will again lead their line, having netted five goals and contributed two assists across league and continental action this season.

Athletico Paranaense possible starting lineup:
Bento; Khellven, Henrique, Hernandez, Abner; Moura, Christian; Canobbio, Terans, Cuello; Pablo

Caracas possible starting lineup:
Baroja; Fereira, Rivero, Osio, Rivillo; Rodriguez, Suarez; Osei, Ortega, Guarirapa; Akinyoola

We say: Athletico Paranaense 2-1 Caracas

With a place in the final 16 on the line, we predict a tight and cagey affair in Brazil that could go either way.

However, Athletico Paranaense have the stronger squad on paper, and with home advantage, they should have enough to just get over the line.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a draw 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.Draw:data

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