The South American club football tournament, the Copa Libertadores, is a hotly contested affair with its three-month long group stage. The 16 clubs that make up this tournament are drawn into four groups of four teams each where they compete in a round robin format until all but two squads have been eliminated from contention.
The “flamengo vs atletico mineiro live stream” is a match that will take place in the Copa Libertadores group stage. The two teams are heavyweights and have been playing each other for decades.
Palmeiras, the defending champions, are among the favorites to win the Copa Libertadores. AMA/Getty Images/Matthew Ashton
The South American Copa Libertadores, which begins on Tuesday, has 12 past champions. However, not all of them have realistic chances of winning this time. Penarol and Nacional, both from Uruguay, were highly powerful in the early years but haven’t won the title since the late 1980s. Colo Colo of Chile won the tournament for the first and only time more than 30 years ago. And Paraguay’s Olimpia won the championship 20 years ago. That leaves just Brazil and Argentina.
The dominance of the major two has been all but total since the Libertadores shifted to its present structure in 2017, when it was spread out across the whole year rather than being crammed into the first six months. Only one other team from the other eight nations, Ecuador’s Barcelona, has advanced to the semifinals. Since the contentious River Plate vs. Boca Juniors final in 2018, Brazil has seized control, winning three straight matches, the previous two of which were all-Brazilian finals.
Palmeiras defended their championship last season, defeating Flamengo in the final, with domestic double winners Atletico Mineiro advancing to the semi-finals undefeated. The most reasonable place to go for this year’s favorites is among Brazil’s current big three.
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Palmeiras, who are still coached by Abel Ferreira of Portugal, seem to be particularly strong. Flamengo has a new Portuguese coach, former international player Paulo Sousa, who may already be questioning if he made the right decision by leaving the Polish national team to take command of the Rio giants. He’s not off to a great start. So far, his three-centre-back system seems to be a rigid imposition. Flamengo’s group, on the other hand, does not seem to be very strenuous, which should provide Sousa some much-needed rest.
Atletico Mineiro also has an Argentinean coach, Antonio Mohamed. He is less dogmatic than Sousa, adjusting his approach to the players rather than the other way around. But his squad has been placed in one of the harder groups, with two local derbies against America Mineiro, who are competing in their maiden Libertadores season and eager to put a damper on their flashy city rivals’ champagne.
Much will be expected of Corinthians, the other Brazilian club, whose veteran roster may be better suited to a cup tournament than the lengthy stretch of the Brazilian league. And thus sets up an early matchup between Brazil and Argentina, a significant matchup in this year’s championship. Corinthians are in the same group as Boca Juniors in a rematch of the 2012 final, Corinthians’ lone Libertadores win.
The pragmatic side of Estudiantes might be a challenging opponent. River Plate and Boca Juniors, on the other hand, seem to be the key Argentine challengers. The rivals from Buenos Aires have quite different styles. River are vast and pleasant on the eye under Marcelo Gallardo’s leadership, which has lasted almost eight years. Gallardo has previously led the team to two Libertadores titles, but the Brazilians have become more difficult to beat in the past three years. This year, the club has made significant investments to equip him with a more competitive team, and it will be interesting to see whether his team can defend against the best of the Brazilians. In the group stage, debutants Fortaleza will be a test, but the tougher obstacles will undoubtedly come in the second part of the year.
River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo has been allocated monies to improve his team for the next season. Getty Images/Hernan Cortez
Boca, on the other hand, is expected to rely on a defensive and counter-attacking style of play. It could work better against the Brazilians, and the two group games against Corinthians will provide some early proof.
The Ecuadorian clubs are continuously attracting attention elsewhere. Little Independiente del Valle has upped the bar tremendously with their youth work, and they have recently shown that they can contend for trophies while still achieving their primary goal of creating and selling players. They were crowned domestic champions for the first time in 2019 after winning the Copa Sudamericana, the continent’s Europa League equivalent. Their style may be too broad for the Libertadores, since they were dismantled by Palmeiras previous season, but they are always entertaining to watch.
If Ecuador has been punching above its weight, the same can be said about Paraguay, whose teams can compensate for their lack of remarkable quality with tenacity. Cerro Porteno and Olimpia, two historic Asuncion rivals, have been put in the same group, and the current iteration of Paraguay’s great derby will be a huge draw on Tuesday’s opening night.
If Ecuador and Paraguay have performed better than predicted, Colombia has done the exact opposite. The trophy was won by Atletico Nacional in 2016, the final year before the format change. Since then, just one Colombian team has advanced beyond the group round, a dismal showing from the continent’s most populous nation outside of Brazil.
This year has gotten off to a shaky start. Millonarios and Atletico Nacional both lost in the preliminary round. And the Colombian challenge will be put to the test in the first week. Deportivo Cali hosts Boca Juniors on Tuesday, while Tolima hosts Atletico Mineiro 24 hours later. The Colombians will next go head-to-head with some of the tournament’s favorites. They do, however, have the benefit of playing at home. Will they be able to make a difference? Or will the Champions League in South America continue to be dominated by Brazil and Argentina in 2022?
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