The Independiente del Valle of Ecuador wants to seal today (20:30 in Paraguay) its pass to the final of the South American Cup against Melgar of Peru, who dreams of achieving a feat that will allow them to overcome the 3-0 they suffered in the first leg of the semifinals, played last week in Quito.
The Ecuadorian team, which achieved that win with scores from the Argentines Richard Schunke, Lorenzo Faravelli and Lautaro Díaz, must now ratify their status as favorites at the Monumental stadium in Arequipa, located more than 1,100 kilometers from Lima.
The ‘Matagigantes’ will seek in the more than 2,300 meters of altitude of the Peruvian White City its second classification to a final of the South American Cup, after the one it played in 2019 against the Argentine Colón, whom it defeated 3-1 in Asunción to add the first international title in its history.
To do this, he will have to overcome the “much more offensive and much more risky” proposal that Melgar will launch in the second leg at home, according to the Argentine Martín Anselmi, coach of Independiente.
“We have to go to defend the advantage and close the series against Peru, because a big difference in the field is not decisive to access the final,” he said.
Independiente, who lost 2-1 to Cuenca last weekend in their country’s tournament, plans to arrive in Lima on Tuesday afternoon and then immediately travel to Arequipa.
In that city, an expectant and excited Melgar awaits him to achieve a feat that will allow him, at least, to equalize the series to force the defining round of penalties, as he already did in the quarterfinals with the Brazilian International.
“If they were able to score three goals in 90 minutes, we can do it too. Surely it will have to do a lot with the mood and with trying to convert quickly and catch that momentum, ”said his coach, also Argentine Pablo Lavallén.
The strategist insisted that his team will press from the first minute of the game at the San Agustín National University (UNSA) stadium.
“On Wednesday we must go forward, press, try to score, then go for the second, we don’t have to change anything, since the team is used to going forward,” he remarked.
The Argentine Bernardo Cuesta, Melgar striker and top scorer in the current edition of the South American, agreed that a comeback is not impossible.
“We know that it is kill or be killed locally. Trying to reverse this is going to be difficult, but not impossible. This team is characterized by always fighting. In football you never know”, he emphasized.
The red and black team will recover for this match the left marker Paolo Reyna, one of its main figures in the South American, whose absence due to suspension was very noticeable in the match played in Quito.
Melgar: Carlos Caceda; Alejandro Ramos, Alec Deneumostier, Leonel Galeano, Paolo Reyna; Horacio Orzán, Alexis Arias, Luis Iberico, Cristian Bordacahar; Martin Perez Guedes and Bernardo Cuesta.
Coach: Pablo Lavallen.
Independent of the Valley: Moisés Ramírez; Mateo Carabajal, Richard Shuncke, Luis Segovia; Matías Fernández, Marcos Angulo, Cristian Pellerano, Lorenzo Faravelli, Jhoanner Chávez; Junior Sornoza and Lautaro Diaz.
Coach: Martin Anselmi.
Referee: Fernando Rapallini, from Argentina, assisted by his compatriots Juan Pablo Belatti and Diego Bonfa.
VAR: Mauro Vigliano, from Argentina, assisted by his compatriots Germán Delfino and Ezequiel Brailovsky.
Stadium: Monumental, of the San Agustín de Arequipa National University (UNSA), located 1,179 kilometers from Lima and 2,300 meters above sea level.