Wednesday, April 23, 2008

San Lorenzo or Audax: Future Rivals?

After a convincing 5-0 win over Universidad San Martin of Peru, River must now look ahead to the Round of Sixteen of the Copa Libertadores.

Our future rivals are unknown for now. One thing has been confirmed though: it has been reduced to two candidates - San Lorenzo (ARG) or Audax Italiano (CHI). Both are very good teams, assuring River a complicated fixture in the next round of the continental tournament.

San Lorenzo has proven to be a fantastic team. Not only do they have some of the best players in Argentina at the moment (midfielder Andres D'Alessandro, foward Andres Silvera, foward Gonzalo Bergessio, defender Diego Placente, etc.), but they are managed by none other than Ramon Diaz. We have already faced them this semester and won (the match finalized 2-0 in our favor), but nothing is guaranteed to repeat. In fact, since then San Lorenzo have had a great improvement in terms of form, and now find themselves only 3 points away from River in the Torneo Clausura. The positive to facing them would be the fact that they are at a close distance and the squad would avoid jet lag/travel inconviniences.

Audax Italiano, on the other hand, are a less known team to "los Millonarios". Their first major international appearance took place last year, while this edition of the Copa Libertadores could be the first ever that they advance from the group stage. They in no way should be underestimated, though: Chilean wonderkid Carlos Villanueva is the head of the team, and could possess a serious threat to any team. The 22-year old has been performing in a great way over the last few years, and even found a way into the Chilean National Team. Other great players are also available for Audax, who could possibly be one of the surprises of the Copa.

After today's matches between Sportivo Luqueno-Audax Italiano and Sao Paulo-Atletico Nacional, the official fixtures will be known. Make sure to check back later on tonight for updates.

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