Monday 17 September 2018, 18:57

Elite eight set to lock Libertadores horns

  • Atletico Tucuman the odd ones out in this year’s quarter-finals

  • The other seven sides have all won the Libertadores at least once

  • The champions will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018

The 2018 Copa Libertadores de America continues this week with the first legs of the quarter-finals, which features seven clubs who know what it takes to win the competition.

The other team still in contention are tournament newcomers and surprise packages Atletico Tucuman, who are looking to continue their dream run against defending champions Gremio.

Also catching the eye in the last eight are Independiente, the most successful side in the history of the competition, who are in the quarter-finals for the first time in 28 years, and Colo Colo, the only Chilean side ever to win the Copa and who had gone 21 years since last advancing this far.

The winners of the competition will book a place at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018.

This week’s matches

Tuesday 18

  • Atletico Tucuman-Gremio (second leg: 2 Oct)

Wednesday 19

  • Boca Juniors-Cruzeiro (second leg: 4 Oct)

  • Independiente-River Plate (second leg: 2 Oct)

Thursday 20

  • Colo Colo-Palmeiras (second leg: 3 Oct)

Did you know?

  • VAR inbound: VAR will now be used for the rest of the competition, having been introduced last season for the semi-finals and final only.

  • Valdivia homecoming: The meeting with Palmeiras is sure to be special for Colo Colo coach Jorge Valdivia, who is an idol at the Brazilian club, having made 241 appearances for them in a nine-year stay, during which he scored 42 goals and provided 52 assists.

  • A blue reunion: The last time Boca Juniors and Cruzeiro met in a knockout tie in the competition was in the last 16 ten years ago. El Xeneize won on that occasion and got as far as the semi-finals. Will the Brazilians get their revenge this time?

  • An unhappy hunting ground: Marcelo Gallardo has lost on all three of his visits to Independiente as River coach, the last of those defeats coming with Ariel Holan already installed in the Rojo dugout. Gallardo has also lost out on all three occasions he has faced Holan, the previous two defeats coming when the current Independiente boss was in charge at Defensa y Justicia.

  • More Gremio glory?: Gremio are gunning to become the first side to retain the Copa Libertadores since Boca Juniors achieved the feat in 2001.

  • Fantastic first-timers?: The last Argentinian side to reach the quarter-finals on their Libertadores debut were Argentinos Juniors in 1985, when they went on to win the trophy. Can Atletico Tucuman kick on and do the same?