We liked Copa Libertadores so much on Tuesday that we thought we'd come back and do it again on Wednesday. Tonight features a couple of big time matchups with teams that we could very easily see in the knockout stages of the competition. Emelec vs. Internacional and Cruzeiro vs. Estudiantes are the biggest matches on a loaded Wednesday night card with a variety of start times, meaning you can easily catch at least parts of four matches if you want to.
Internacional are the defending champions, as thanks to the exposure that their young stars got in Copa last season, they were snatched up by European clubs for a lot of money. Sandro, Taison, and Giuliano are all gone, replaced by up and coming youngsters as well as a couple of Argentinian players with a European pedigree, Mario Bolatti and Fernando Cavenaghi. They face a tough Emelec team who had a superb goal differential in Ecuador last season. They lost their leading scorer Jamie Ayovi to Mexican side Toluca, but they're still a talented team who should provide a stiff challenge.
Cruzeiro, a team loaded with talented young players, take on Estudiantes, the 2009 champions, in the night cap. Estudiantes got off to a great start in the 2011 Clausura in Argentina with a win, while Cruzeiro are currently playing in one of Brazil's weaker state championships ahead of the Brasileiro. Like Emelec, Cruzeiro lost their leading scorer in Jonas, but Andre Lima and a slew of youngsters remain, giving them plenty of firepower. The best matchup of the night might be between Estudiantes winger Enzo Perez and Cruzeiro's fullbacks. Perez is immensely talented and probably off to Europe soon enough, but unfortunately for Cruzeiro and other teams in Copa Libertadores and Argentina, Perez is an Estudiantes player for the time being.
Wednesday night schedule:
Union Española vs. Universidad Catolica: 4:45 pm ET
Emelec vs. Internacional: 8:00 pm ET
Once Caldas vs. Universidad San Martin: 9:15 pm ET
Jaguares de Chiapas vs. Jorge Westermann: 9:15 pm ET
Cruzeiro vs. Estudiantes: 10:00 pm ET