Back goals as Santa Fe look to overturn first leg deficit

16May 2013

Copa Libertadores


Santa Fe trail Gremio 1-2 in their Copa Libertadores last-16 tie, but Jonathan Wilson believes goals are on the agenda when the Colombian and Brazilian outfits get  their second leg underway in the early hours of Friday morning...


You're 1-0 up in a Copa Libertadores last-16 tie. You're cruising. Your side has created numerous chances and, as well as taking the lead, has hit the bar. So why,  why, when an opponent is chasing a bouncing ball just inside the left edge of the box, would you go flying into a challenge? There's no immediate danger. All you have  to do is stand him up. Even if he controls the ball you may be able to nick it. But you flew in, conceded a penalty and picked up a second yellow card.


In that one moment, Cris, who had only just returned from a suspension after a red card against Fluminense in the group stage, cost Gremio an easy win over  Independiente de Santa Fe.


Eduardo Vargas - on loan from Napoli after failing to make much of an impression in Serie A following his move from Universidad de Chile - had nodded the Brazilians in  front, and the only question appeared to be how many they would score. But then Cris lunged in on Jefferson Cuerte to give Gremio a wholly needless penalty and earn  himself a red card.


Omar Perez converted and Santa Fe suddenly had a lifeline. Fernando did thump in a winner with 10 minutes remaining but there is no doubt that the Colombians believe  they can win.


"It's a difficult game," said the Santa Fe coach Wilson Gutierez. "Gremio are a team that knows how to play. They have important players in the squad with quality. And  they also come with the advantage of having won. We will attack. We have to start attacking from the start of the game and score first, since the goal ends up with the  advantage for us. This is what we want at the beginning once we get onto the field."


Ze Roberto is likely to return and Gutierez believes that preventing he and Elano from playing is the key to preventing Gremio from finding their rhythm. "We have to  put pressure on rival players and get very close to them and take their freedom," he said. "We must make it difficult for them to play. They are two good players and  cannot have the clarity of playing with the ball. They have quality, they cannot have spaces."


Santa Fe are top of the Colombian standings but they are not a great side for closing opponents down, having conceded 21 goals in 15 league games this season - the  centre-back Carlos Valdes in particular has struggled of late. Recent form has been desperate, with just two wins in their last nine games. Not that Gremio are exactly  flying. Their league season is yet to get underway but the win over Santa Fe was their first in four matches in the Libertadores and that makes this a difficult game  to call. Given the likely atmosphere in Santa Fe, 2.2 on the home win is just long enough to be interesting.


"It's the most important game of our lives," said Gerardo Bedoya and that spirit is likely to inspire not merely his team-mates but also the 40,000 in El Campin.  Bedoya seems likely to be deployed in midfield, and it will be he and Daniel Torres who will be deputed to try to shout down Ze Roberto and Elano. The prize, should  they do so, is a quarter-final against Real Garcilaso, the side only set up in 2009 who have bcei the first Peruvian side to reach the last eight since Sporting  Cristal in 1997.


Even more interesting, though, is the Over 2.5 Goals option at 2.12. Santa Fe have leaked seven goals in five games since losing in Porto Alegre and while Gremio aren't over-attacking, nor are they that impressive at the back, particularly with the disruption caused by the suspension of Cris. That said, Sata Fe's leading  scorer, Wilder Medina, is a major injury doubt.


Recommended Bet

Back Over 2.5 goals at 2.12



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Keywords: Santa Fe, Gremio, Copa Libertadores, Jonathan Wilson

Source: Betfair

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