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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Gutsy Guarani can preserve winning run against Gremio

Gremio full-back Edilson (left) fights off Deportes Iquique's Mauricio Morales
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Copa Libertadores
11.30pm Thursday

Guarani and Gremio both boast a 100 per cent record in this season’s Copa Libertadores but the Paraguayan champions are a force to be reckoned with on home soil and can stamp their authority on group eight by clinching all three points.

Guarani are the oldest and most successful side in their country with 11 Primera Division titles and they should relish the return to their Asuncion base, where they are unbeaten in eight home Copa Libertadores ties.

Victories against Venezuelan outfit Zamora and Chile’s Deportes Iquique have left Guarani in a commanding position for qualification, but they know avoiding defeat to Gremio is a must if they want to top the charts.

Daniel Garnero’s men impressed with the manner in which they dismissed Zamora 3-1 on home turf last week. They enjoyed 54 per cent of the possession, and despite only edging the shot count 11-10 they were clinical with their chances and if given a sight of goal they are likely to take it.

Gremio won’t be as easy to break down as the struggling Venezuelans but they have won just three of their eight away matches this year and seem much happier playing in Porto Alegre.

Youngster Luan, who has scored three of Gremio’s five goals in this competition, carries the visitors' biggest attacking threat and isn’t dismissed lightly, while Miler Bolanos is central to their midfield and could cause plenty of problems.

However, Guarani have players of their own who can stifle Gremio’s fragile backline, who have shipped six goals in their last four games in this competition.

Veteran midfielder Marcelo Palau has notched four times from ten starts this term and is likely to be Guarani’s leading force.

Recommendation
Guarani draw no bet
1pt 10-11 Hills

Gremio won’t be as easy to break down as the struggling Venezuelans but they have won just three of their eight away matches this year
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