Copa Libertadores 2018: Qualifying Round 2 preview and predictions

(Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images) /

Second quarter of the draw

  • Chapecoense (Brazil) vs. Nacional (Uruguay)
  • Banfield (Argentina) vs. Independiente del Valle (Ecuador)

After a plane crash claimed the majority of its roster, Chapecoense has managed to stay relevant in Brazilian and South American soccer. The club claimed the 2016 Copa Sudamericana title over Atlético Nacional of Colombia, then returned to the Copa Libertadores group stage in 2017. This year is the third straight season that the provincial Brazilian club has been in the Libertadores.

They drew a tough opponent right out of the gate. Nacional has been a Uruguayan powerhouse for decades, winning Copa Libertadores titles in 1971, 1980, and 1988 and reaching the finals as recently as 2014.

Whoever emerges from the Nacional-Chapecoense matchup will have a tough opponent no matter who advances from the other pairing in this quarter. Argentina’s Banfield is playing in its fourth Copa Libertadores, having most recently reached the Round of 16 in 2010. The Argentine club made it in this year after finishing fifth in the 2016-2017 Primera División.

Their opponents, Independiente del Valle from Ecuador, nearly claimed the Copa Libertadores two years ago. The Ecuadorian side reached the final of the tournament in 2016, but fell 2-1 on aggregate to Atlético Nacional. They are back after finishing third in the 2017 Campeonato Ecuatoriano aggregate table.

Ultimately, Chapecoense’s magic will probably run out this round. On the other side, Banfield will have to content itself with a brief appearance.

Aggregate predictions

  • Nacional 3, Chapecoense 3 (Nacional advance on away goals)
  • Independiente del Valle 3, Banfield 1