Copa Libertadores 2012, Matchday 7: La U, Nacional In Near Must-Win Situations

Fans of Universidad de Chile. La U takes on Peñarol in the 2012 Copa Libertadores on March 27, 2012.

Unviersidad de Chile and Nacional of Uruguay are big teams that are in need of wins on Tuesday.

Only one team has been mathematically eliminated from the Copa Libertadores, but there are a few teams who could have their hopes of moving on to the knockout stages either officially destroyed or very close to it this week. Last year's runners-up Peñarol are on the ropes and things don't look good for Deportivo Táchira or the bottom two teams in Group 5.

Nacional vs. Alianza Lima

Tuesday, 6:15 p.m. ET

Both teams will stay in the running for a knockout stage place with a draw, but that would make Libertad and Vasco da Gama even heavier favorites to progress than they already are. Alianza is yet to avoid a loss on the road in this competition and Nacional are coming off a win domestically. The Uruguayans are decent favorites in this one to grab all three points and keep the pressure on the top two teams in Group 5.

Deportivo Táchira vs. Nacional

Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET

With Corinthians and Cruz Azul in control of Group 6, both Deportivo Táchira and Nacional are in trouble if they don't win on Tuesday. Nacional can keep themselves within reasonable striking distance of Corinthians and Cruz Azul with a road draw, but Táchira are toast if they fail to win.

Universidad de Chile vs. Peñarol

Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET

La U have lost some key players since winning the Copa Sudamericana and Chilean Primera over the winter, and there has been a bit of a drop-off in form. La U are only on four points through three games and sit in third place in Group 8. They can effectively end Peñarol's qualification hopes with a home victory. La U had their undefeated league streak snapped earlier this season, but they're on a terrific run domestically. Peruvian forward Raúl Ruidíaz is doing his best to replace Eduardo Vargas, but he hasn't shown up yet in the Libertadores. Perhaps he'll finally score on Tuesday.

Defensor Sporting vs. Chivas Guadalajara

Wednesday, 6:45 p.m. ET

Chivas are a much better team than they were the first time they faced Defensor, but they're down a few stars. Marco Fabián, Erick Torres, Miguel Ponce and Jorge Enríquez are all away at Olympic qualifying. This makes Defensor slight favorites to win this week and take control of a top-two spot in Group 7.

Universidad Católica vs. Union Española

Wednesday, 6:45 p.m. ET

Incredibly, Bolivar have seven points and Group 3 favorites Universidad Católica are in a big hole. Because this is their final home game in the group stage, they will be in serious trouble if they fail to beat Chilean rivals Union Española this week. UC have failed to win their last two league games and they still haven't won in the Libertadores. They don't look capable of pulling off a win at the moment, but they have at least as much talent as Union Española and great home fans.

Olimpia vs. Flamengo

Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET

With Lanús surprisingly on seven points in a very tight Group 2, Olimpia or Flamengo can put a serious dent in the other's chances of going through. When these teams met two weeks ago in Brazil, the game was an absolute thriller. Olimpia's Vladimir Marín scored an 88th-minute equalizer, grabbing a valuable point for his team in a 3-3 draw. Olimpia is currently top of the table in Paraguay and they have not lost at home in any competition this year.

Boca Juniors Vs. Arsenal de Sarandí

Thursday, 6:45 p.m. ET

Boca's away win over Arsenal in their last game would lead one to believe that Arsenal don't have much of a chance in this game, but Boca lost 5-4 to a terrible Independiente team earlier in the year, so don't count your chickens before they're hatched. Arsenal probably need to avoid a loss to feel like they have a chance to go through. If Boca win, they will have a big advantage in Group 4, along with Fluminense.

Zamora vs. Fluminense

Thursday, 9 p.m. ET

This, like the Boca-Arsenal game, probably should not be very interesting. Zamora are decent at killing off a game at home, however, so don't look past a 0-0 draw. If Flu score in the first half, this game is effectively over.

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