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Estudiantes La Plata Vs. Deportes Tolima, Copa Libertadoes 2011: Preview

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Estudiantes La Plata Vs. Deportes Tolima, Copa Libertadoes 2011: Preview

If you take a look at Group 7 in the 2011 Copa Libertadores, it looks all but decided. There is a five point gap between the two teams playing tonight, Estudiantes La Plata and Deportes Tolima. However, that gap does not tell the whole story. Tonight, Estudiantes have to make the trip up to Colombia to play a team who didn't make things easy on them in their fixture in Argentina. In two weeks, in the final round of the tournament's group stage, Estudiantes have to host Cruzeiro, a team that embarrassed them in Brazil, while Deportes Tolima get to take on Guarani, who are yet to take a point in this group. 

As a result of all of these factors, Deportes Tolima have a very good chance of pulling an upset tonight, and that upset win might see them close the five point gap between them and Estudiantes to knock the 2009 champions out of the tournament. Tolima are coming off of a great league win over Deportivo Cali, while Estudiantes currently sit on top of the Clausura table in Argentina. Striker Wilmer Medina has been great so far for Tolima, while Danny Santoya has been a pleasant surprise up top. For Estudiantes, the danger man is almost certainly the free-floating Enzo Perez, who pops up literally everywhere on the pitch.

Both teams are healthy, so we should see first choice selections from both. Deportes Tolima have shown a tendency to change their formation against big clubs, but they were unsuccessful when getting away from what they do best in the last round of Copa play, as a formation change led to a 6-1 beatdown at the hands of Cruzeiro. At home, they're unlikely to make that mistake again. There are some tough choices to be made, selection-wise for Tolima, but I like Cristian Marrugo and Danny Santoya to start ahead of Rafael Castillo and Jhon Hurtado. For Estudiantes, Facundo Roncaglia will be suspended for picking up a red card in the previous match. This will likely cause Nelson Benitez to play slightly out of position as a right central defender.

Projected Deportes Tolima lineup (4-3-1-2): Silva; Arrechea, Noguero, Ju. Hurtado, Vallejo; Marrugo, Bolivar, Chara; Murillo; Medina, Santoya

Projected Estudiantes La Plata lineup (3-4-1-2): Orion; Fernandez, Desabato, Benitez; Iberia, Veron, Braña, Mercado; Perez; Lopez, Gonzalez

The match starts at 6:30 pm ET and can be seen in the United States on Fox Deportes.

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