It's crunch time in South America's premier club competition with Palmeiras and Santos squaring off in an all-Brazilian Copa Libertadores Final.
Here's all you need to know ahead of this showpiece occasion to determine the winner of South America's most coveted club honour.
📄 Match preview
History beckons on Saturday night at the iconic Maracana Stadium. Palmeiras has not won la Copa for over 20 years, while Santos' efforts to win South America's version of the Champions League have been fruitless for a decade. The final is an all-Brazilian affair, pitting one-time winners Palmeiras — managed by Portuguese coach Abel Ferreira — against three-time champions Santos.
Santos overcame Boca Juniors 3-0 on aggregate in the semifinals while Palmeiras had their 3-0 win in the first-leg against River Plate to thank, as they went down 2-0 in the second instalment of the semifinal.
Santos enters the clash as underdogs and that underdog tag filters across to their playing style, with the talented Lucas Verissimo marshalling their back four. It would be no surprise to see him make the move to Europe soon, with Benfica reportedly showing an interest.
Palmeiras has more talent on paper and strength in depth among their substitutes, especially in the shape of wonderkid teenager Gabriel Veron, should he be called upon in the final. His namesake Gabriel Menino, the 20-year-old utility man, has shone in the right-back role for Palmeiras and 19-year-old Danilo has been a revelation in the heart of midfield. This is a talented young side that shouldn't be underestimated.
Speaking of young talents, Santos teenager Kaio Jorge is one of the most exciting young strikers coming out of Brazil. He's not a prolific goal-scorer yet, but his intelligence and movement make him a teammate's dream and he's only getting better.
🔮 Predicted XIs
🇧🇷 Palmeiras (3-4-3):
Weverton; Rocha, Gomez, Empereur; Menino, De Paula, Danilo, Vina; Rony, Adriano, Scarpa
🇧🇷 Santos (4-5-1:)
Furtado; Para, Verissimo, Peres Petroni, Jonatan; Marinho, Alison, Soteldo, Pituca, Braga; Jorge
🔑 Key betting stats
- Palmeiras has led at HT in seven of their last eight Copa Libertadores matches, six of which saw the ten-time Brazilian champions win via a 2+ goal margin (D1, L1).
- Palmeiras’ last four Copa Libertadores fixtures vs Brazilian opposition ended via a one-goal margin (W2, L2).
- Santos has netted over 1.5 goals in just four of their last 12 games overall.
- There’s been a red card in Palmeiras’ last four Copa Libertadores matches, as well as in three of the last four meetings between these sides.
💰 Futaa value bet
🔮 PREDICTION: Palmeiras 2-1 Santos
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