Sao Paulo v Toluca – Cícero Pompeu de Toledo Stadium at 01:45
On Thursday evening we have a huge Copa Libertedores clash between Sao Paulo and Mexican side Toluca in the knock-out phases of South America’s elite competition.
Sao Paulo managed to advance to the knock-out stages of the Copa Libertedores with a draw in the final round of their group stage in Bolivia against The Strongest. Due to the altitude levels in Bolivia, it’s one of the hardest places for Brazilian sides to play with players often needing oxygen masks at half time to complete the game.
Having crashed out of the Paulista A1 in the quarter finals to Audax, who have now advanced to the final, it has given Sao Paulo those extra few days to recover from their efforts in Bolivia. Had Sao Paulo beat Audax, they’d have had a game on Sunday evening, meaning they’d have only had 4 days rest instead of the full seven they have now, so it could be a blessing in disguise for the Brazilian side.
Toluca have had a difficult season in Liga MX and currently find themselves in 15th position. The Mexican side will come into this game with the aim of keeping the tie alive in the second leg so they could potentially knock the Brazilians out in their own back yard.
Sao Paulo will be missing two players for the first leg however, as goalkeeper Denis and J.Calleri were both sent off, as Sao Paulo were holding out for the draw that would advance them beyond the group stages.
We can expect the home side to adopt their usual 4-1-4-1 formation, the key player in this game will be former Lyon man M.Bastos, who will play on the left hand side of midfield and his pace should cause a magnitude of problems against the Mexican side.
Sao Paulo will expect to get to at least the semi final stage of the competition this season and I think they should advance against the Mexicans provided they make a strong start to the first leg.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Sao Paulo -0.5 at 1.75
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