Copa Libertadores 2018: Qualifying Round 1 preview and predictions

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Giuliano Gomes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Giuliano Gomes/Getty Images) /

Oriente Petrolero (Bolivia) vs. Universitario (Peru)

Universitario lost the Copa LIbertadores final to Argentine side Independiente way back in 1972. They have been chasing another appearance in the championship round ever since. The Peruvian powerhouse has played in 30 editions of the Copa Libertadores, but it has now been eight years since La made it even as far as the quarterfinals in the tournament.

Their opponents, Oriente Petrolero, have played in the tournament 20 times. The Bolivians had their best tournament back in 1988, when they reached the quarterfinals. The Albiverdes finished third in the aggregate table of the three-stage 2016-2017 domestic season to land a spot in the opening qualifying stage.

Universitario isn’t normally featured at this early a stage in the Copa Libertadores. Oriente Petrolero was here two years ago. That time they were bounced out of the tournament right away by Independiente Santa Fe of Colombia 6-1 on aggregate.

The two clubs were drawn against one another in the same group during the 2003 Copa Libertadores. Oriente Petrolero managed a 2-2 draw at home, while Universitario took a 2-0 win at El Monumental in Lima.

This time, look for the Peruvians to gain the upper hand. Homegrown star Roberto Siucho could play a critical role in putting Universitario on the board in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Look for the Peruvians to get a handful of away goals as they take control of the first leg and set themselves up to cruise into the second qualifying stage.

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Aggregate Prediction: Universitario 5, Oriente Petrolero 1