Rosario Central are back in the quarter-finals of a continental competition after 20 years: with captain Emiliano Vecchio scoring, they beat Deportivo Tachira 1-0 at home to make it 3-2 on aggregate in the round-of-16. However, things are different in the league. Last Friday, coach Cristian Gonzalez fielded an alternative XI, which lost 1-0 at Sarmiento. That result extended their losing run to three matches: El Canalla managed only three points from 15 on offer so far. Central were beaten by Aldosivi 2-1 in their last home match, which broke a six-game unbeaten run of five victories and one draw as hosts in all competitions.
Red Bull Bragantino continue to make history in their first appearance in the Copa Sudamericana. In the round-of-16, the team knocked out Independiente del Valle after a 1-1 home draw in the return leg (3-1 on aggregate). But they are also looking good in the league. Following a scoreless away draw at Sport Recife last Friday, Mauricio Barbieri’s men are fourth-placed with 28 points in 15 rounds, which means they would qualify for the Copa Libertadores in 2022. Overall, Bragantino lost only one of their last 17 games, winning eight and drawing eight. Eight of those games took place on the road with five victories, two draws and a single defeat.
Rosario Central is in a bad run and they will face a tough Brazilian side, so I expect their priority will be not to concede a goal in this 1st leg and keep a tight game.
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