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Copa Libertadores Final: First Round

Copa Libertadores Final: First Round

Posted by Juan Gavasa on August 06, 2014

Nacional Asuncion of Paraguay and San Lorenzo of Argentina will contest the final of the 2014 Copa Libertadores, with the first leg kicking off in the early hours of Thursday.

Both teams are in uncharted territory, having reached the final of South America's most prestigious club competition for the first time in their history.

And for San Lorenzo, who must travel away to the Estadio Arsenio Erico, that's a considerable length of time, having been the first Argentine club to participate in the competition back in 1960. Nacional head into the final as underdogs at 7-4, per, and will be banking on maintaining their unbeaten home record to get off to a good start.

San Lorenzo do have an international pedigree, having won the now-defunct Copa Mercosur in 2001 and the Copa Sudamericana in 2002. They head into the final as favourites at 2-5, per, having beaten Bolivia's Futbol Club Bolivar 5-1 on aggregate in the semis.

However, as the Argentine Primera Division is yet to resume following a midseason break, the Buenos Aires side had no weekend fixture to keep them ticking over.

Nacional head into the first leg having won five of their six home matches in the Copa Libertadores.

Gustavo Morinigo's men beat much-fancied Uruguayan side Defensor Sporting Club at home in the semi-finals, eventually going through 2-1 on aggregate following a 1-0 defeat in Montevideo. At the weekend, Nacional beat Rubio Nu 2-1 away from home to end a run of defeats in the Paraguayan Division Profesional.

Midfielder Hugo Lusardi scored either side of half-time and could be one of the key figures against San Lorenzo. Regarding his performance, he told Sportal, "I am happy for the goals, especially when we are in the final of the Copa [Libertadores]."

Lusardi will be ably assisted by fellow midfielders Derlis Orue and Silvio Torales, who have both scored three times in the Copa Libertadores this season, per Sportal.

For San Lorenzo, striker Mauro Matos could prove crucial in terms of orchestrating the attack, and he has also chipped in with one goal in five Copa games, per The 31-year-old Argentine emerged from the country's lower leagues before joining Arsenal de Sarandi and then returned to the top flight with San Lorenzo in 2014.

Defender Emmanuel Mas is key at the back, but the full-back also chipped in with two goals in the home leg against Bolivar, per

It should be a tight game in Asuncion with the relatively free-scoring San Lorenzo facing a Nacional side that are tough to score against at home.

However, history would point to an Argentinian triumph, with clubs from the nation having won it 22 times, while the only team from Paraguay to lift the Copa is Olimpia, on three occasions.

San Lorenzo could well set up to draw the away leg and then win at home in the Estadio Pedro Bidegain on Aug. 14.

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