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May 7, 2021 at 1am UK
Santa FeSanta Fe
River PlateRiver Plate

Pico (12')

Zuculini (27')

Preview: Santa Fe vs. River Plate - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Santa Fe host River Plate on Thursday in gameweek three of the Copa Libertadores, with the hosts still looking for their first win in this season's tournament.

This meeting between the two sides is the first since 2018 when Argentinian outfit River Plate came out on top with a 1-0 win, and they eventually went on to win their fourth Copa Libertadores title that year.

Match preview

Harold Rivera's Santa Fe finished the Primera A season in second place which meant that they qualified for the championship's playoffs, however the Colombian side were knocked out of the mini league tournament at the first hurdle.

Last time out Santa Fe welcomed Atletico Junior to the Estadio Nemesio Camacho El Campin in the second leg of their quarter-final tie, with the visitors holding a 3-1 lead from the first leg.

The home side registered four shots on target in that game on Sunday but failed to convert any of their chances into goals and the match subsequently ended in a goalless draw.

Midfielder Daniel Giraldo, who has been an integral part of Santa Fe's starting 11 this season, was sent off in the final moments of that game for a second bookable offence and has added selection issues for Rivera ahead of Thursday's clash with River Plate.

Defeat in the league playoffs means that Santa Fe will now be fully focused on improving their form in the Copa Libertadores, as with four games to play they currently sit bottom of Group D.

In different fortunes, Thursday's visitors River Plate have made a better start to their Copa Libertadores campaign, with one win and one draw under their belt.

Marcelo Gallardo's side are early favourites to win Group D along with Fluminense, who have made the exact same start to the tournament including goals scored and goals conceded in their group games.

However, their form in the Liga Profesional Argentina is not so good as two losses on the bounce place River Plate in fourth, and last time out they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Banfield.

Despite dominating possession in that game, seeing 69% of the ball, River Plate failed to register enough shots on target and the hosts on Sunday claimed a 1-0 win over Gallardo's side, courtesy of a 63rd-minute strike from Juan Alvarez.

The history of head-to-heads between Santa Fe and River Plate suggest that the game on Thursday will not be a high scoring one, with two of their last four meetings ending in 0-0 draws.

Santa Fe Copa Libertadores form:
  • D
  • L

Santa Fe form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D

River Plate Copa Libertadores form:
  • D
  • W

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

Team News

Santa Fe will be without 28-year-old Giraldo as he will serve his suspension for his red card that he received against Junior, with Jhon Velasquez in line to step into the midfield.

Carlos Arboleda returned to Rivera's starting lineup last time out after he missed gameweek two in the Copa Libertadores through suspension, and he is expected to start again on Thursday.

Santa Fe's top goalscorer Kelvin Osorio, who has six goals this season, will be looking to net his first goal since the opening round of fixtures in this tournament.

River Plate centre-back Javier Pinola remains sidelined with a broken hand and forward Matias Suarez has also been absent since the beginning of April through injury.

A potential defensive boost for Gallardo will be the return of Jonatan Maidana, who has been ruled out of recent games due to coronavirus.

Rafael Santos Borre will lead the line for the Argentinian side, and he has seven goals in 12 appearances for his side this season.

Santa Fe possible starting lineup:
Castellanos; Mosquera, Moralez, Torijano, Arboleda; Velasquez, Pico; Osorio, Gonzalez, Arias; Ramos

River Plate possible starting lineup:
Armani; Martinez, Rojas, Diaz, Angileri; De La Cruz, Perez, Montiel; Alvarez, Rollheiser; Borre

We say: Santa Fe 1-2 River Plate

River Plate have not kept a clean sheet in their last four games in all competitions which potentially gives Santa Fe the opportunity of getting on the scoreboard.

However, River Plate are four-time champions of the Copa Libertadores and we expect them to pull away from the bottom two teams in Group D with victory over winless Santa Fe.

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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