Emmanuel Martinez-Nicolas Sanchez-Danilo Gerlo-Cristian Villagra;
Leonardo Ponzio-Rene Lima-Fernando Belluschi;
Radamel Falcao Garcia-Alexis Sanchez-Marco Ruben;
Believe it or not, River will be fielding a 4-3-3 formation. It's been an extremely long time since "los Millonarios" last played with three fowards. Still, everything seems to indicate that Alexis Sanchez will be a few feet behind Ruben and Falcao, playing the role of an offensive playmaker.
Despite the clearly offensive-minded formation, many of our key players will be missing the match. Augusto Fernandez, Ariel Ortega, and Eduardo Tuzzio all stayed in Buenos Aires. Having played injured in the last few games, Daniel Passarella decided to finally give them all some well-deserved rest. Paulo Ferrari, River Plate's starting right-back and team captain, and Oscar Ahumada, our defensive midfielder, are in a similar situation, though they will actually have a spot reserved on the bench.
So who will replace these players? Tuzzio and Ferrari's spots will be taken by Danilo Gerlo and youngster Emmanuel Martinez, while Leonardo Ponzio will be covering Augusto Fernandez's empty space. Rene Lima will finally get more minutes, taking over the defensive midfielder slot. The day will also mark the return of Juan Pablo Carrizo and Nicolas Domingo. Unlike the goalkeeper, Domingo will not start, but he does have possibilities of entering in the second half.
One player to watch out for in Botafogo's offense is Dodó. The 33-year old has scored an impressive 300 official goals. Since his arrival to the Brazilian club, Dodó has kept a ratio of 0.74 goals per game (84 goals in 113 matches). The talented Brazilian will pose a serious threat to River's defense, who, to top it off, will have some "brilliant" defenders (sarcasm) such as Gerlo and Villagra starting. Next to these two will be Emmanuel Martinez, who barely has a few games in Primera. The defense doesn't seem to be too strong, and should not be anything to play around with. Will the outcome be positive or negative?
The match will be shown live of Fox Sports en Espanol at 3:30 Pacific / 6:30 Eastern Time.