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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Layers may have dismissed Olimpia too easily

Fans at last year's Copa Libertadores semi-final
1 of 1

Copa Libertadores third-qualifying round first leg
11.45pm Wednesday

The final round of Copa Libertadores qualifying begins with eight teams vying for the four remaining group-stage berths.

Atletico Paranaense are strong favourites to seize the initiative in their tie with Deportivo Capiata in Curitiba but there looks to be a much closer encounter in the offing in Rio de Janeiro where Botafogo take on Olimpia.

Bookmakers make the hosts 10-11 favourites to take a first-leg lead to Asuncion but a poor end to the 2016 Brazilian season and a number of underwhelming performances in the recent Rio de Janeiro State Championship mean it could be worth taking The Lone Star on.

Defeating Chileans Colo-Colo in the previous qualifying round was a good achievement but they will have to raise their performance levels if they are to get the better of an Olimpia side in tremendous form.

The Paraguayans have lost only seven of their last 40 outings – winning 27 times in the process.

Olimpia emerged with credit after a group-stage exit in last year’s Copa from a section including eventual quarter-finalists Pumas UNAM.

However, their performance in this year’s second qualifying round is perhaps more significant as they defeated 2016 Copa finalists Independiente del Valle 3-2 on aggregate.

Having been beaten 1-0 in Ecuador, Olimpia’s vibrant front three of Bryan Montenegro, Julian Benitez and Pablo Mouche tore into Independiente’s back four in the second leg. They will hope to have further joy against a Botafogo defence who have kept two clean sheets in ten outings.

A case can certainly be made for backing the away win at 7-2 but supporting Olimpia on the double-chance coupon could be a smarter play.

Recommendation
Olimpia or draw double chance
1pt 10-11 bet365, Ladbrokes

Olimpia emerged with credit after a group-stage exit in last year’s Copa from a section including eventual quarter-finalists Pumas UNAM
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