Copa Libertadores: Flamengo - Tolima

31 Aug 2021
07.07. 02:30 CET

Flamengo brought a 1-0 win from Colombia to their home stadium, the Maracanã, and will be looking to finally break the half-open door to the quarter-finals.

Flamengo is one of the most successful clubs in Brazil. The club has dominated the Copa Libertadores twice overall, most recently in 2019 and almost a third time last year, losing to Palmeiras in the final in extra time. They have also won twice the Brazilian league in the last three years (2019 and 2020). The current squad includes several players with a lot of experience from Europe (Diego, David Luiz, Filipe Luis, Andreas Pereira), to whom another should be added in the next few days, Arturo Vidal from Inter. The biggest star is striker Gabriel Barbosa, who contributed with another goal at the weekend to the league win against Santos. The club's management reacted to a minor slump a month ago, when after ten rounds the team was only 14th in the league table, and after only six months in the job they sacked coach Sousa, who was replaced by Dorival Júnior. Under him, the team has improved and is now in eighth place.

Deportes Tolima is a midget compared to Flamengo, who have dominated the Colombian league "only" three times and, apart from the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores in 1982, have never made a glory in continental competitions. The vast majority of Los Pijaos' players are from Colombia, where they have also played all their careers, with only a few players, like Rangel or Ibarguen, able to tell short stories about foreign stops. This is a team that doesn't dominate the domestic scene in any significant way either. Here, just advancing from the group stage is an achievement for them.

Both teams made it through the group stage a little differently. Flamengo, with five wins and one draw, easily won their group, while Tolima went through to the knockout stage from second place due to a worse score, three wins, two draws and one loss. They surprised with a rather lucky win at the ground of another Brazilian team - Mineiro. But they were already assured of qualification.

The first game in Ibagué was quite open from the start, but in the seventh minute Caicedo's goal was disallowed and moments later Flamengo midfielder Andreas Pereira opened the score with a beautiful shot. In the second half, the home side had the upper hand, but no more goals were scored.

The only thing that can go against us is that while Tolima rested between the 1/8-finals matches, the Brazilian team had to play a league match after travelling many hours from Colombia. But the squad is huge, plus names like Rodrigo Caio, João Gomes and Willian Arão are back.

The differences between the clubs are huge overall, but for us it is important that it is mainly about the composition of the squads. Quality and experience are clearly on our side. I expect Flamengo to be in control of the game from start to end, and they will go through to qualify in calm, while Tolima's players will take nothing away from the Maracanã except experience.

Asian Handicap: Flamengo -1.5 @ 2.10 (bet365)

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