Independiente, Millonarios eye first win in Copa Libertadores

    14 de marzo de 2018

    Buenos Aires, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- Argentine club Independiente and Colombian side Millonarios both will be seeking their first victory of this year's Copa Libertadores campaign when they square off Thursday night in Group G action in Avellaneda, Argentina.

    El Rojo suffered a 1-0 defeat on March 1 against Venezuelan club Deportivo Lara in Cabudare, Venezuela, a match that was the Argentine team's first in Copa Libertadores in seven years.

    Millonarios, for its part, played to a 0-0 draw against Brazilian club Corinthians in Bogota on Feb. 28.

    The Argentine squad comes into the match on a hot streak after going undefeated over its past five games in the Argentine league, where it is currently in third place behind Boca Juniors and Talleres.

    Head coach Ariel Holan, however, said he was wary of his team's Colombian rival.

    "In the Libertadores, all opponents are tough," he said of the teams in South America's premier club soccer competition. "I think on Thursday Millonarios will pull back and look to counter-attack. We need discipline when passing the ball, patience, perseverance and a lot of care in dead-ball situations."

    Independiente won last year's Copa Sudamericana, South America's secondary club soccer competition.

    Millonarios, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back after losing 3-1 last Thursday in its domestic league to Aguilas Pereira, a result that has left it in 14th place with eight points, eight behind leader Once Caldas.

    Midfielder Jhon Duque said, however, that the team was mentally prepared for its match-up Thursday at Independiente's Libertadores de America Stadium.

    "The group is mentally ready for the Copa and for what it needs to do against Independiente. The goal is to (earn at least one point) as a visitor," he said.

    It is unclear if Argentine head coach Miguel Angel Russo, who has been out since the beginning of the year due to cancer surgery and a subsequent urinary infection, will coach Millonarios on Thursday night.

    Hugo Gottardi has been leading the Bogota team in Russo's absence.

    Prior to the match the squad will meet with Russo, who is continuing his recovery process in Buenos Aires.