Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Copa Sudamericana Final preview

Fluminense and LDU Quito meet again at Estadio Casa Blanca in the first leg of the Copa Nissan Sudamericana final tonight in the Ecuadorean capital at an altitude of 2850 metres.

Flu are hoping for better luck than the last time they faced LDU in a continental final. That was last year in the final of the Copa Libertadores, which LDU won 3-1 in a dramatic penalty shootout at the Maracanã after finishing level at 5-5 over two legs and a further half an hour of extra time.

"They will have a bad memory of what happened in Maracanã," said Jorge Fossati, pictured, the Uruguayan coach of LDU.

The Sudamericana is the continent's equivalent of the Europa League but neither team have yet to taste success in this competition. LDU's Libertadores success has already been mentioned but Fluminense have never won an international title.

"Playing an international cup final in the continent that exports the most soccer talent to the world is a great honour," said LDU vice-president Patricio Torres.

LDU reached the final by hammering River Plate Montevideo 7-0 and rested several players for their league game at weekend, which they lost 1-0 to Manta FC. Fluminense got to the final by beating Cerro Porteño 3-1 on aggregate after a dramatic late finish in the Maracanã. Fluminense were in Recife at the weekend and defeated already relegated Sport 3-0 in the Campeonato and are likely to field the same lineup.

LDU have a slight doubt over the fitness of Jairo Campos, but Renán Calle is on standby to take his place if he fails a fitness test.

Fluminense coach Cuca reckons his team can deliver success, "We can't play defensively, because that is what LDU want us to do. We will not change out style of play just because it's a final."

Fluminense will depend on striker Fred for the goals but will be without injured defender Digao, who has a fractured left foot, and forward Maicon, who has a thigh problem.

The Brazilian players have tried to play down playing at altitude in Quito. Fred, left, said, "I'm not worried because I talked to the coach and he said playing at altitude is a psychological thing, so I'll try to keep it out of my mind."

Possible line ups

LDU Quito: Alexander Domínguez; Norberto Araujo, Carlos Espínola, Jairo Campos or Renán Calle; Néicer Reasco, Diego Calderón, Ulises De La Cruz, Miller Bolaños, Édison Méndez; Walter Calderón, Claudio Bieler.

Fluminense: Rafael; Gum, Dalton, Cassio; Mariano, Diogo or Marquinho, Diguinho, Darío Conca, Marquinho; Alan, Fred.

Referee: Roberto Silvera (Uruguay)

The game is being streamed live on certain bookmakers sites (subject to national restrictions) and kicks off at 23.50 GMT

Just to point out, the rules are different for the final. Away goals don't count. If it's level at the end of 180 minutes, we'll have a further 30 minutes of extra time before the game goes to a penalty shoot out.

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