River Plate play Gremio in the first of the Copa Libertadores semi-finals. Looking for value in the River Plate vs. Gremio odds? Read on to inform your River Plate vs. Gremio prediction.
River Plate vs Gremio Odds
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River Plate vs. Gremio betting: statistics
- River Plate are undefeated in this year’s Copa Libertadores (won five, drawn five)
- The Buenos Aires side have conceded just four goals in ten Libertadores matches
- Gremio have won by three or more goals in three of their ten Libertadores matches
- The Brazilians have won two of their five Copa Libertadores away matches (won two, drawn two, lost one)
- River Plate are undefeated in their last 22 home matches
River Plate vs Gremio preview: A clash of styles
In the first of the Argentina vs. Brazil matchups in this year’s Copa America semi-finals, 2015 champions River Plate play current holders Gremio.
River Plate have progressed without much alarm so far, conceded just four goals remaining undefeated in the Copa Libertadores.
The Argentine side have scored just twelve goals so far and it is their defence which has been their greatest strength. Prior to this tie they have conceded just one goal in the knockout stages of the competition.
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Gremio, in contrast, are the highest scoring team remaining in the competition, winning by four or more goals on three occasions during their run to the semi-final stage. This attacking intent can come at a cost however.
The Brazilians conceded three goals over the course of their round of 16 tie against Estudiantes and had to rely on penalties to qualify for the next round.
This should make for an interesting contrast of styles as Gremio’s talented attackers come up against a well-organised River Plate team.
Home advantage: The importance of playing the second leg at home
Of great importance to the tie is the order of matches. The first game will be played in Buenos Aires which means the second leg will be played at Gremio’s home stadium in Porto Alegre.
The way the sides have performed in the Libertadores prior to this tie demonstrates the added importance of home advantage in the competition:
River Plate vs. Gremio home advantage
Both River Plate and Gremio have played the second leg of their Libertadores knockout ties at home up to this stage in the tournament.
River held both Racing Club and Independiente to first leg 0-0 draws in their opponents’ home stadiums before comfortably defeating them at El Monumental.
Gremio suffered defeat to Estudiantes before recovering in the second leg. They have scored four or more goals in three of their five Copa Libertadores home games. Home advantage in the second leg should ensure the Brazilians remain in the tie no matter the result in Buenos Aires.
Both teams have relied upon their home matches to secure progression so far but River Plate will now have to contend with conceding home advantage in the second leg. This is especially dangerous against a side with the attacking strength of Gremio.
Key player: Luan
Winger Everton has been Gremio’s highest scorer in the competition but it is Luan who is the key player for the Porto Alegre side in attack.
The Brazilian international can play as an attacking midfielder or as a false nine but is always heavily involved in Gremio’s attacking play. River Plate’s defence will need to prevent Luan from receiving the ball in dangerous areas to maintain their impressive defensive record.
This is of extra importance since a low-scoring game suits the Argentinians more than the Brazilians. Luan is the player with the ability to unlock the solid River Plate defence.
River Plate vs Gremio: Where is the value?
Gremio can be explosive in attack so will always be in the tie, especially with the second leg in Porto Alegre. River Plate will be well aware of the importance of winning the first leg in Buenos Aires since they will be outsiders to win in Brazil.
The first leg hosts are undefeated in their last 22 home matches across all competitions. As a result, backing the River Plate -0.25 handicap at 1.689* for the first leg fixture could offer value, especially considering the importance of avoiding defeat ahead of a difficult trip to Brazil.
- Read: How to make accurate soccer predictions
Likewise, River will be keen to maintain the defensive record which has helped them to this stage of the competition. This will be the toughest defence Luan and the rest of the Gremio attack have faced in the Copa Libertadores and Gremio may well play more defensively than usual in Buenos Aires.
Considering Gremio have only scored six of their 22 Copa Libertadores goals away from home, odds of 1.671* on them not to score in the first leg could offer value. With both sides so closely matched it could be a relatively tight game.