Copa Libertadores 2018: Qualifying Round 2 preview and predictions

(Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
(Photo by Yuya Shino/Getty Images)
(Photo by Yuya Shino/Getty Images) /

Top quarter of the draw

  • Deportivo Táchira (Venezuela) vs. Independiente Santa Fe (Colombia)
  • Santiago Wanderers (Chile) vs. Melgar (Peru)

Deportivo Táchira made it through on away goals, earning a 1-1 draw against Macará in Ambato and securing a 0-0 result at home to advance. In the next round, they take on 2013 semifinalist Independiente Santa Fe from Colombia.

Santa Fe is on strong form at the moment, sitting just behind Atlético Junior in the Liga Águila standings. The clubs are level on 39 points after 20 matches, but Junior is just ahead of Santa Fe on goal differential. The Colombians will present a defensive puzzle for their Venezuelan counterparts over the two legs. Wilson Morelo could poach a key goal on the counter when they play the first leg in San Cristóbal on February 1.

In the other pairing in this quarter, Peru’s Melgar takes on Wanderers from Santiago de Chile. The Peruvians earned passage to the second qualifying stage thanks to their win in the Torneo de Verano, while Wanderers reached just its third Copa Libertadores by winning last year’s Copa Chile over Universidad de Chile.

Santiago Wanderers enter the competition without two of their top three strikers from 2017. With players like midfielder Patricio Arce and ageless striker Ysrael Zúñiga still on the roster from last year’s squad, Melgar should have the advantage in the series.

Aggregate predictions

  • Santa Fe 3, Deportivo Táchira 2
  • Melgar 2, Santiago Wanderers 0