Preview: Colon vs. Talleres

Preview: Colon vs. Talleres

For the first time since 1998, Colon will host a match in the knockout stage of the Copa Libertadores when they welcome fellow Argentine side Talleres to Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao Lopez on Wednesday.

La T came away with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of this round of 16 tie, thanks to an equalising goal in the 87th minute, giving them a chance to make it into the last eight for the first time in club history.

Another strong effort on the road last Wednesday ended in disappointment for the club from Santa Fe, who are without a victory in 13 successive fixtures away from home.

That was the third time in which Sabale failed to hold onto a 1-0 advantage at this tournament, as they sat back and were guilty of being too complacent, which eventually came back to bite them.

Colon have shown some consistency since the middle of June, though not the kind that manager Julio Cesar Falcioni will want to see.

They have tallied a goal or fewer in six consecutive matches in all competitions, with only one victory in their previous nine games.

Their wait-and-see approach puts a lot of pressure on their attacking players, as Sabalero traditionally possess the ball in short spells over a 90-minute encounter, while failing to register many shots on target.

On the flip side, for a team who do not create many scoring opportunities, they do a great job at closing off those dangerous spaces in their third of the field, conceding a goal or fewer in each of their last six games.

Even though none of their current players were around when they made the quarter-finals of this tournament 24 years ago, Colon have shown in recent times that they can handle the pressure of a one-game showdown.

In 2021, they defeated Talleres 5-3 on penalties in the quarter-finals of the Copa de la Liga Professional, before eliminating Independiente (2-0) and Racing (3-0) to claim their first trophy since 1965.

For a club who were, in essence, venturing into the unknown a week ago, Talleres handled themselves quite well, stringing together more than twice as many passes as Colon and with 72% of the possession.

That may have been the first appearance for them at this stage of the competition, but their manager Pedro Caixinha has coached in much bigger tournaments, though not always successfully.

During his days with Rangers, he failed to guide the Scottish giants beyond the first qualifying round of the 2017-18 Europa League, losing out to Progres Niederkorn from Luxembourg, 2-1 on aggregate.

Caixinha, who became the first coach from Portugal to manage a side from Argentina when he was appointed back in March, was on the wrong side of history in Scotland, becoming the shortest tenured boss to ever coach the famous team from Glasgow, where he was sacked after 229 days on the job.

While their domestic results have been mixed since he took over, Tallarin have shown that they can compete with some of the more experienced clubs in South America.

In the group stage of this tournament, they managed a draw against the 2021 Libertadores runners-up Flamengo (2-2), while losing only one of their seven encounters in this competition.

Unlike in their opening six group games, where Talleres tallied first four times, combined with one 0-0 draw, they have been forced to react a lot more in recent outings, conceding the opening goal six times last month but coming back to earn three draws.

Colon Copa Libertadores form:
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Colon form (all competitions):
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Talleres Copa Libertadores form:
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Talleres form (all competitions):
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We say: Colon 1-1 Talleres (Talleres advance on penalties)
There is little to choose between these two sides, who do not allow much in the attacking third, nor do they create a lot of clear-cut opportunities.

We are picking Talleres to advance, as they are essentially playing with house money and were not expected to make it this far, and that should enable them to play a little looser in what should be a close game.

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