27 de octubre de 2020
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Hispanic World

River Plate, Santa Fe eye first win in 2018 Copa Libertadores

Buenos Aires, Apr 4 (efe-epa).- Argentine club River Plate and Colombia's Santa Fe both will be seeking their first win in the 2018 Copa Libertadores when they square off on in Group D round-robin action here Thursday night.

Buenos Aires, Apr 4 (efe-epa).- Argentine club River Plate and Colombia's Santa Fe both will be seeking their first win in the 2018 Copa Libertadores when they square off on in Group D round-robin action here Thursday night.

Both teams currently have one point, so if either squad emerges victorious it will move level with Brazilian club Flamengo (four points) at the top of the group.

River Plate earned a surprise 2-0 win in mid-March over Buenos Aires arch-rival Boca Juniors in the Supercopa Argentina, a match-up between the reigning champion of Argentina's domestic league (Boca) and the winner of the 2016-17 Copa Argentina soccer cup competition (River).

It has remained on a roll since, having won two subsequent Argentine-league games over Belgrano and Defensa and Justicia, both by the score of 3-1.

Even so, it is suffering through a disappointing domestic season and is only in 14th place in Argentina's Primera Division with 29 points, 21 behind Boca and well off the pace for a spot in next season's Copa Libertadores, South American soccer's premier club tournament.

On Thursday night, head coach Marcelo Gallardo is expected to field the same line-up that has performed well in the previous three matches.

Santa Fe, by contrast, will come into the match at Antonio Vespucio Liberti Stadium with plenty of question marks.

The Bogota club was routed 3-0 by Deportivo Cali on Saturday and is currently 11th in the Colombian soccer league's first division with 15 points, 10 behind league-leading Atletico Nacional.

"We're aware that we're going to face a River (squad) that is coming off some good results in its most recent matches. We have to be wary of some individuals. They have players with a lot of technical skill," Santa Fe manager Gregorio Perez said.

"We have a pressing need to win. We're facing an opponent that's on the rise and that's a great team with a great line-up. But we have weapons to counter them," he added.

One key Santa Fe player who will be missing from Thursday night's game will be first-team goalkeeper Leandro Castellanos, who suffered a groin strain against Deportivo Cali.

Midfielder Juan Daniel Roa, who sustained a sprained ligament in his right knee in the Cali match, also will be unavailable against River.

They will be replaced by Robinson Zapata and Sebastian Salazar, respectively.

The River Plate-Santa Fe game will wrap up second-round Copa Libertadores action in Group D.

The third round of games in that group will take place in two weeks, with Flamengo hosting Santa Fe on April 18 and River Plate visiting Ecuadorian side Emelec on April 19.

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