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Copa Libertadores: Today there will be new champion

Copa Libertadores: Today there will be new champion

Posted by Juan Gavasa on August 13, 2014

No matter what happens on Wednesday night in Buenos Aires, the Copa Libertadores will have a new winner. Poised at 1-1 after last week's first leg in Asuncion, either Argentina's San Lorenzo or Paraguay's Nacional will be crowned winners of South America's most prestigious club competition for the first time depending on the outcome of the second leg.

San Lorenzo go in as favourites, but, with neither side bringing a lead from the first leg, the tie is finely balanced. Read on for full scheduling, television and live streaming information ahead of the biggest game in Latin American club football.

It looks set to be all about home advantage for San Lorenzo on Wednesday, as they aim to claim an historic win in front of their own fans at Estadio Pedro Bidegain. They should feel confident, as they have yet to lose at home in the competition—drawing one and winning five—and most recently trounced Bolivian side Bolivar 5-0 in the semi-final first leg to effectively secure their way to the last two.

Furthermore, it took a last-gasp equaliser from Nacional's Julio Santa Cruz last week to cancel out Mauro Matos' opener in a match in which the visitors looked largely comfortable.

Indeed, South American football expert Tim Vickery on ESPN is backing the Argentine's ahead of Wednesday's encounter:

"San Lorenzo are still favourites -- their opponents are a traditional but tiny team who had never before made it out of the group stage in the competition."

However, there is an added pressure that goes with being favourites which Edgardo Bauza's side will have to respond to.

Equally, they are looking to shrug off a hoodoo which has consistently dogged them in the Copa, namely that they have failed to win it while each of Buenos Aires' other nominal "big five" teams have done. 

Standing in their way are Gustavo Morinigo's Nacional, who beat Uruguayan side Defensor 2-1 on aggregate to make it through to the final. As Vickery mentions, they are minnows of the South American game and have been in uncharted territory this year ever since making it out of the group stages.

However, they have made it this far and could take advantage of a nervy opposition on Wednesday if they can keep San Lorenzo from scoring in the opening half. Striker Matas looks to be the key for the hosts as they attempt to win the coveted tournament. If he can bag an early goal, it should be a comfortable encounter for San Lorenzo.

The stage is all set for a wonderful occasion with a new Copa Libertadores winner guaranteed, but it remains to be seen whether the hosts will thrive or buckle under the pressure in front of an expectant crowd.

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