The Brazilians enjoy a three-goal lead from the first leg and need only avoid defeat to reach the final
The CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores has reached its semi-final stage, as the delayed 2020 competition nears its end.
Tuesday will determine the first club to reach the final, as Palmeiras look to see out the second leg at home to River Plate in Sao Paulo.
The Brazilians shocked their hosts last week with a 3-0 victory to take the upper hand in the semi-final tie.
And while the 2018 winners are still dreaming of a miracle comeback, the odds are firmly stacked in Palmeiras’ favour in this return clash.
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How to watch Palmeiras vs River on US TV
|Time (US PT / ET)
|4:30pm / 7.30pm
|Palmeiras vs River Plate
What has happened to Palmeiras and River so far in the 2020 Copa Libertadores?
Palmeiras hold the distinction of being the only surviving team yet to lose a single match in this Libertadores campaign. The signs were there from the start that the Verdao would prove tough customers, as they advanced from Group B in top spot with five wins, a draw and just two goals conceded in a formidable opening to the tournament.
Ecuador‘s Delfin proved no match in the last 16, falling 3-1 at home before suffering a 5-1 thrashing to bow out of their first experience of the Copa knockout phase.
Libertad pushed the Brazilians a little harder, but still to no avail: a tough-fought 1-1 draw in Asuncion was followed by Palmeiras running riot in the second leg to win 3-0 and book only their second semi-final berth in the competition since 2001.
River’s quest began in subdued fashion with a 3-0 defeat away to Liga de Quito in Group D, but Marcelo Gallardo’s charges quickly rediscovered their best form.
Peru‘s Binacional were thrashed 8-0 and 6-0 while the Millonario also picked up four points against a Sao Paulo team featuring Dani Alves, pushing the Brazilians into third place and the Copa Sudamericana while River qualified in first.
In the last-16 stage River dominated over Athletic Paranaense, racking up 39 shots over two legs to their opponents’ 14. Goals proved hard to come by, though, and after tying the first leg 1-1 in Coritiba a single strike from Nicolas de la Cruz saw the Argentines over the line. Uruguay‘s Nacional were then put to the sword, with River’s 2-0 home win followed by a 6-2 thrashing in Montevideo to produce an emphatic aggregate victory for the Millonario.
Palmeiras and River team news and preview
Palmeiras will have to do without star striker Gabriel Veron. The 18-year-old, who had recently returned from injury, was forced off at the weekend and is ruled out for the second leg having been an unused substitute in the opener.
Midfielder Patrick also misses out due to suspension, but Palmeiras will be able to count on the services of Raphael Veiga, who has shaken off a knock sustained against Sport to resume regular training.
Jorge Carrascal picked up a red card in last week’s opening match and thus will be suspended for River as they seek to come back from behind in Sao Paulo.
Coach Marcelo Gallardo may be able to field Fabricio Angileri, who has been unavailable through injury but is now available for selection.
Probable Palmeiras XI: Weverton, Gabriel Menino, Luan, Gómez, Vina; Danilo, Ze Rafael, Raphael Veiga; Gustavo Scarpa, Rony, Luiz Adriano.
Probable River XI: Armani; Montiel, Robert Rojas, Paulo Díaz, Pinola, Angileri; Zuculini, Perez, De la Cruz; Suarez, Borre.
When does the 2020 Copa Libertadores finish?
The 2020 Copa Libertadores was originally scheduled to conclude with a single final in a neutral ground, the system which replaced the old format of home and away legs last year, at the end of November.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the tournament suffered almost six months of interruption, meaning that the final phases had to be pushed back into the South American summer months of late December and January.
The last quarter-final tie between Boca Juniors and Racing Club concluded on December 23 with the former advancing to meet Santos. The second leg of that tie takes place just under 24 hours after Palmeiras and River lock horns in their decider.
The final proper is scheduled to be held at Rio de Janeiro’s landmark Maracana Stadium on January 30.