Brazil, Argentina Squads Dominate Copa Libertadores Final Stages Seeding

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Clubs from Brazil’s Serie A and Argentina’s Primera Division dominate the seeding entering the Copa Libertadores final stages, led by Brazil’s Atletico Mineira, which opens the round of 16 next Wednesday against Bolivia’s Club Jorge Wilstermann.

Atletico Mineira finished the group stage tied with four squads at 4-1-1, but garnered the top seed on the strength of a table-leading goal differential of +11. The 2013 Copa Libertadores champions have struggled in recent outings, going 2-1-2 in five league contests ahead of their matchup at Estadio Félix Capriles in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

No. 15 Wilstermann lost a group-stage-high three matches but also scored a respectable 12 goals while compiling a 3-0-3 record. El Rojo are 1-2-2 in five recent Bolivian league outings,  and suffered clean sheet losses in two of their past five tournament contests.

Argentina’s Lanus and River Plate and Brazil’s Gremio and Palmeiras also finished the group stage with identical 4-1-1 records and round out the top five of the final stage seeding.

Lanus captured the No. 2 seed with a goal differential of +10, and will meet Bolivia’s legendary The Strongest, who are pegged at No. 14 after winning just two group stage matches but surrendering only five total goals in six matches.

No. 3 Gremio sits in second place on the Serie A table with 22 points in 10 matches played, and regularly filled the net during the Copa Libertadores group stage, scoring four times in two of its past three and 15 total markers in its past six.

Gremio takes on No. 9 Godoy Cruz on Tuesday in the first leg of their round of 16 clash. Godoy Cruz has won four of six across all competitions, including three clean sheet victories, but also lost a pair of 2-0 decisions during that stretch.

No. 4 River Plate will be faced with all it can handle when it takes on the lone side from Paraguay in this tournament, No. 10 Guarani.  Los Millonarios recorded a win and a draw when they last met Guarani at the 2015 Copa Libertadores, but El Cacique are red hot entering the final stages with wins in five straight Paraguay Division Profesional contests, outscoring opponents by a 16-5 overall margin.

No. 5 Palmeiras looks to build on a three-match Serie A win streak as it takes on No. 12 Barcelona from Ecuador. As well, No. 6 Santos battles No. 13 Atletico Peranaense in the lone matchup between Brazilian sides, and No. 7 Botafago meets Uruguay’s lone tournament survivor, No. 16 Nacional, while No. 8 San Lorenzo of Argentina faces the No. 11 seed, Ecuador’s Emelec.