Last week, Brazilian giants Gremio suffered a 2-1 first leg defeat to Independiente Valle, but they'll get the job done on home soil, according to Nathan Joyes.
"To not have Gremio in the Copa Libertadores group stages is the equivalent of Manchester City failing to qualify for the Champions League – it simply does not happen."
Gremio v Independiente Valle
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Gremio losing the first leg of their tie against Independiente Valle wasn't all that surprising upon closer inspection.
The Ecuadorian side have never lost a home game in this competition, spanning all the way back to 2016. That record was on the line when Gremio's Diego Souza scored inside 10 minutes, but an early second half equaliser followed by a match winning penalty saw the game finish 2-1 in favour of Independiente.
Gremio's centre back, Ruan, was sent off after picking up a second yellow for conceding the penalty, resulting in the Ecuadorian side feeling rather disappointed that they weren't able to add a third goal in the remaining 30 minutes, despite dominating the second half and finishing the game with 70% possession.
As a result, their job to defend their slender lead in Brazil will be monumental - and here's why.
Gremio are one of the biggest clubs in South America. They've won the tournament on three occasions and they are always amongst the favourites to win it.
Most recently, they have won their last five home matches. Gremio's last three games have all been won to nil, whereas the previous two saw them score 10 goals, including 6 in their previous preliminary round against Peruvian side Ayacucho.
They've also only lost three out of their last 19 home Copa Libertadores matches, one was to last year's eventual winners, Palmeiras, and the previous season was against River Plate, who won the competition back in 2018.
In contrast, Valle have struggled on the road in South America, which is why they have often performed so well at home.
They've lost their last four matches away in this competition, only scoring a consolation against Colombian side Junior when losing 4-1.
The last away game they won in this competition was March 2020, although this was against league-rivals Barcelona - hardly an "away" game in this tournament.
Despite Gremio having to fill the void of Ruan with 33-year-old David Braz, they will have too much going forward to punish Valle's back line.
Goalscorer of the first leg, Souza, will no doubt lead the line once again. He also bagged a hat-trick in the previous home leg against Ayacucho.
He'll be supported by former Real Madrid player, Lucas Silva and Brazilian international, Matheus Henrique on both flanks, which has proven to be a lethal front line at times this season. Their attacking prowess is clear to see domestically, and the three-time Copa Libertadores Champions will know how to get over the line.
And so Valle will make the 100 plus hour coach journey to Gremio, knowing they will be on the back foot from the first minute. Gremio, under immense pressure from their board and fanbase to qualify, will be itching to score an early goal, and I wouldn't put it past them.
The Brazilians priced at 1.738/11 to win has to be taken. To not have Gremio in the Copa Libertadores group stages is the equivalent of Manchester City failing to qualify for the Champions League - it simply does not happen. I'd have priced Gremio shorter and I'll stick up a home win on its own.
So let's add some value for the second selection. Independiente struggle on the road, and although Gremio aren't completely bomb proof at the back, they haven't conceded more than one at home in this competition since November 2018, when River Plate scored a highly controversial 95th minute penalty to reach the final.
Gremio to win, score over 1.5 goals and Independiente to score under 1.5 goals is 2.407/5 with the bet builder option.