Boca Juniors - Corinthians Preview: Two of South America's giants face off in first leg of Copa Libertadores final
La Bombonera will be packed to bursting point as Juan Roman Riquelme looks to be the man to unlock a stubborn Brazilian side in search of their first ever Libertadores title
By Tom Webber
Roncaglia, Schiavi, Caruzzo, Clemente
Ledesma, Somoza, Erviti
Alessandro, Chicao, Leandro Castan, Fabio Santos
Jorge Henrique, Emerson
Corinthians will make one change from the team that secured progression to the final with a 1-1 draw against Santos. Emerson Sheikh returns from suspension and will therefore start in attack at the expense of Willian. This could see Tite move away from the 4-2-3-1 formation though it could remain the same should Jorge Henrique operate from the right.
Boca will line-up with the same starting XI that held Universidad de Chile to a goalless draw in the semi-final second leg. After training separately from the team on Monday, Juan Roman Riquelme rejoined the group and is now expected to be ready to face the Timao.
Ronaldo Schiavi will be partnered in defence by Matias Caruzzo, meaning that Juan Manuel Insaurralde will start among the substitutes. None of the starters played a part in the Xeneize's 3-1 league defeat to All Boys at the weekend as their title-winning chances had been reduced by losing to eventual winners Arsenal de Sarandi the week before.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Boca Juniors will be taking part in the 10th Copa Libertadores final in the history of the club. They have emerged victorious on six occasions, beating Brazilian clubs Gremio, Palmeiras, Santos and Cruzeiro in previous finales.
- The Xeneize have only suffered defeat once in this year's edition of the competition and that came at the hands of Brazilian opposition in Fluminense.
- A win would see Boca equal Independiente's all-time record of seven Libertadores triumphs. It could also be the fourth time Riquelme lifts the trophy, but he would need another two victories to match Francisco Sa's record of six winners' medals with both Independiente (4) and Boca (2).
- In stark contrast, Corinthians will be participating in the final for the first time in their history.
- The Timao possess the competition's meanest defence having only conceded three goals in their previous 12 Libertadores fixtures.
- The Sao Paulo club are yet to taste defeat in the tournament though they came close to losing their opening group game. A header from Ralf rescued an embarrassing point against Deportivo Tachira in Venezuela.
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Top 3 Predictions
Boca Juniors 2-0 Corinthians
- 21.49 %
Boca Juniors 0-1 Corinthians
- 16.71 %
Boca Juniors 1-2 Corinthians
- 9.55 %
|Copa Libertadores (CL)||May 16, 2013||Corinthians 1 - Boca Juniors 1|
|Copa Libertadores (CL)||May 2, 2013||Boca Juniors 1 - Corinthians 0|
|Copa Libertadores (CL)||Jul 5, 2012||Corinthians 2 - Boca Juniors 0|
|Copa Libertadores (CL)||Jun 28, 2012||Boca Juniors 1 - Corinthians 1|
|Dec 8, 2013||Boca Juniors 1 - Gimnasia de La Plata 1||AR1A|
|Dec 1, 2013||Lanus 2 - Boca Juniors 2||AR1A|
|Nov 24, 2013||Boca Juniors 0 - All Boys 2||AR1A|
|Nov 18, 2013||Arsenal 3 - Boca Juniors 2||AR1A|
|Nov 10, 2013||Boca Juniors 2 - Tigre 1||AR1A|
|10||Juan Román Riquelme||Midfielder|
|28||Juan Sánchez Miño||Midfielder|
|Juan Román Riquelme|
Looking to win his fourth Libertadores title, Boca will focus all of their attacking through Riquelme. His fantastic array of passing make him able to wreak havoc in the space of a few seconds and he will do just that if he is afforded too much space. His side will no doubt be fired up for the occasion in front of a full house at La Bombonera and he will need the help of his fellow midfielders to create space away from Ralf and Paulinho.
Emerson showed his class with an exquisite goal in the first leg of the semi-final against Santos and Corinthians fans will be hoping he can pull something similar out away from once more. He should be fresh after serving a suspension over the second leg and his acceleration could cause problems for Schiavi in defence. However, if the visitors are forced to sit back and he does not receive enough support in attack then it could well be a difficult night for him.
It is hard to separate these two sides as they both possess resilient defences. Boca displayed this by stopping the typically prolific Universidad de Chile from scoring across two legs while Corinthians restricted Neymar's Santos to just one goal. Riquelme will no doubt be the key for the Argentines but and he will need to be watched closely. There will not be many goals and Corinthians would do well to squeeze out a draw.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed