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December 20, 2014

Soccer — Libertadores Cup preview

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

San Lorenzo’s first step towards dream

San Lorenzo players train at the Defensores de Chaco stadium.
Faces Nacional in first leg of final

San Lorenzo, the only of the big-five Argentine teams which has never won the Libertadores Cup, is close to changing this situation as it will face Nacional today in the first leg of the Libertadores Cup final.

ASUNCION — Nacional of Paraguay and San Lorenzo de Almagro of Argentina will face off today in Asunción at 9.15pm (Argentine time), in the first match of the finals of the Libertadores Cup. Neither of the teams has ever reached this stage, so the mere fact of being in the final is already historic for both.

Gustavo Morínigo, coach for Nacional of Paraguay, said that he is confident that his team will repeat performances like those against Atlético Mineiro, Vélez, and Defensor Sporting. “We know the potential of San Lorenzo but we trust in our own strength, this team has already shown what they can do,” the coach said.

Morínigo colleague, Edgardo Bauza, said while pointing out the virtues of the rival but relying on what San Lorenzo has achieved up to this moment that, “The team has grown in performance and we arrive well to these matches. I have seen Nacional and they are a team that knows how to play well, very concentrated, and attacks and defends well, I think it will be difficult for the two teams,” he said.

The interruption the World Cup forced on the Libertadores Cup means that San Lorenzo will be without attacking midfielder Ignacio Piatti for the second leg of the final.

Piatti has permission from his new MLS club Montreal Impact to play for the Argentine favourites in today’s match. However, the Saints have failed to get that permission extended for one more week for the second leg at the Nuevo Gasómetro in Buenos Aires after the Impact said they wanted Piatti in Montreal on Friday.

The tournament was interrupted for two months because of the World Cup finals in Brazil. The quarterfinals were played in mid-May and the semifinals not until mid-July.

San Lorenzo and Nacional were the two teams with the worst records in the group phase who qualified for the round of 16. The Paraguayans then upset Vélez Sarsfield, while the Saints beat Brazilian sides Gremio and Cruzeiro, both twice winners of the competition, in successive ties.

San Lorenzo have right back Julio Buffarini available again after he missed the semifinal second leg against Bolivar through suspension having scored in the 5-0 rout of the Bolivians in the first leg. The Saints won the tie 5-1 on aggregate.

Veteran playmaker Leandro Romagnoli, another player leaving San Lorenzo after the final to join Brazilian first division side Bahia, said: “This is my World Cup final.”

The 4,500 tickets for the visiting team have sold out and a great turnout is expected.

Herald staff with Reuters

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