Copa Libertadores 2012, Matchday 4: Santos, Boca And La U All Face Big Clashes

Players from Copa Libertadores runners-up Peñarol. They play Universidad de Chile in the 2012 Copa Libertadores on March 6, 2012.

Universidad de Chile goes away to Peñarol on Tuesday, while Santos and Internacional play a marquee all-Brazilian clash on Wednesday.

The fourth round of fixtures in the 2012 Copa Libertadores is the best so far in the competition, with some of the competition's biggest teams facing massive tests. After taking the third round of fixtures off, the competition's Brazilian sides return with a vengeance. Most of the week's best fixtures feature Brazilian sides.

Peñarol vs. Universidad de Chile

Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. ET

After losing their first two games in Copa Libertadores, the reigning runners-up made a managerial change and lured Jorge da Silva away from Banfield to coach their side. Peñarol is already in a serious hole in a difficult Group 8, so he'll need to produce results right away. Unfortunately for him, his first opponent is one of the best teams in South America, Universidad de Chile. They recovered from a bad first match in Copa against Atletico Nacional by absolutely obliterating Godoy Cruz in their second game. The home side might need a win, but they'll feel accomplished with a draw.

Union Española vs. Universidad Catolica

Tuesday, 7:45 p.m. ET

Union Española were expected to be fighting for second place with Junior in Group 3, but they look like the group's best side at present. They can firmly establish themselves as the group favorites and get themselves into position for a high knockout stage seed with a win over initial favorites Universidad Catolica. UC are off to a slightly disappointing start in this competition and in Chile, and cannot afford to lose this match. They already sit four points behind Union Española.

Vasco da Gama vs. Alianza Lima

Tuesday, 7:45 p.m. ET

Somewhat surprisingly, this is a battle between the group's two bottom teams. Vasco were favorites to win Group 5, and nothing less but a home win over Alianza will be an acceptable result. Libertad are top with two wins from two games while Nacional have three points from two, so both teams will be in a massive hole with a loss on Tuesday. Vasco rested their stars over the weekend in the Campeonato Carioca and will have a rested team against Alianza.

Santos FC vs. Internacional

Wednesday, 5:45 p.m. ET

South America's hottest footballing properties will all be on the same pitch in one of Wednesday's early fixtures. Internacional's young stars Leandro Damiao and Oscar are complimented by a veteran midfield and defense, most of which was part of their Copa Libertadores-winning team in 2010. Defending champions Santos are coming off a win over Corinthians on the weekend, but Neymar and Ganso might both be a bit tired after flying to Switzerland last week, then playing 90 minutes over the weekend.

Deportivo Quito vs. Velez Sarsfield

Wednesday, 5:45 p.m. ET

On a different week or in a different timeslot, this match might be must-see TV. Unfortunately, it's on at the exact same time as Santos-Internacional. Velez dropped points over the weekend, drawing away to All Boys, but they've been nothing short of spectacular so far in Copa Libertadores. Perhaps with one eye on this competition, all of Juan Manuel Martinez, Federico Insua and Victor Zapata were subbed out on the weekend. Deportivo Quito have a lot of talent and Quito is a tough place to play, but they're in downright putrid form at the moment. Captain Luis Saritama has been injured, but is expected to make his return in this match.

Boca Juniors vs. Fluminense

Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. ET

Julio Falcioni will do his best to keep Fluminense from attacking, and at home, he might be successful in this endeavor. Flu are coming off a 2-0 win in the Campeonato Caricoa in which Rafael Sobis scored twice while Thiago Neves rested and both of Fred and Deco went 90 minutes. Boca also played their first team at the weekend, but rested Juan Roman Riquelme. Dario Cvitanich picked up a knock against San Lorenzo, so expect to see Santiago Silva and Pablo Mouche up top. Boca and Flu are clearly the two favorites to win Group 4, and if either team grabs all three points in this match, they'll have a serious leg up on their main rival.

Corinthians vs. Nacional

Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. ET

Corinthians sent every a sign that Copa Libertadores is their one and only priority over the weekend, when they rested many of their first choice players in a loss to Santos FC. Alex and the tireless Ralf started in midfield, but first choice attackers and defenders sat and should be rested against Nacional. The Paraguayans have been disappointing so far, and it would be surprising if Corinthians failed to defeat them at home. Cruz Azul have six points in Group 6, so Corinthians need a win to keep pace.

Flamengo vs. Emelec

Thursday, 5:30 p.m. ET

Flamengo could only manage a draw against Lanus in their first game in Copa Libertadores, but much more will be expected of them in their second match at home against Emelec. Flamengo played most of their first team over the weekend against Duque de Caxias in a 2-1 victory, in which both of Ronaldinho and Vagner Love went 90 minutes and scored a goal. Emelec were good in their first game against Olimpia, but have yet to go away in the Copa and are significant underdogs in Thursday's game.

Godoy Cruz vs. Atletico Nacional

Thursday, 7:45 p.m. ET

After a fantastic start to the season, things are going downhill quickly for Godoy Cruz. They started their Primera season with a draw against Velez and a win over Racing. In between those games, they managed a win over Peñarol. They haven't won in their last three games in all competitions, and they're in deep trouble in Copa if they don't change that on Thursday. Atletico Nacional are already on six points in Group 8 and will become favorites to advance over Godoy Cruz if they grab a road draw.

Atletico Junior vs. Bolivar

Thursday, 10:00 p.m. ET

Why does the schedule close out with the week's least interesting game? Junior and Bolivar are in the bottom two spots in Group 3. Bolivar are almost certain to miss out on the knockout rounds, while Junior need some help. Regardless of what happens with the two Chilean sides in the group, they need a win on Thursday to get themselves back into the group. At home, they should be able to do that.

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