Brazilian powerhouse Flamengo welcomes Ecuador Serie A defending Champions Barcelona for the first of two legs in the semifinal of the Copa Libertadores.
Flamengo has positioned itself well to win its second Copa Libertadores in three seasons. Meanwhile, Barcelona de Ecuador is looking for just its third appearance in the final in its history. The winner, on aggregate, will face one of Palmeiras and Atlético Mineiro.
Currently, the soccer odds heavily favor Flamengo in the first leg, at -570.
Game: Flamengo vs Barcelona SC
Location: Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date/Time: September 22, 8:30 P.M. ET
Head to Head
Flamengo and Barcelona SC met in the group stage of last year’s Copa Libertadores. Flamengo won both matches, winning 3-0 at home with goals from Gustavo Henrique, Gabriel Barbosa and Bruno Henrique. Flamengo also managed to defeat Barcelona in Ecuador, 2-1.
Flamengo Going for Second Title in Three Years
With an outside chance of winning the Brasileiro for a third straight season, Flamengo currently sits in third place. However, the club from Rio has two games in hand on second place Palmeiras.
Gabriel Barbosa is the top scorer in the Copa Libertadores, with 10 goals in 10 appearances. The forward scored both goals in Flamengo’s 2-1 win over River Plate in the 2019 Copa Libertadores final and was also the leading scorer in the competition that year.
Barbosa has dealt with injury problems this season but he played in Flamengo’s 1-0 loss to Gremio in the Serie A. Flamengo fell to Gremio just days after beating the Porto Alegre based club 2-0 in the quarterfinal of the Copa do Brasil.
Flamengo has dealt with some instability this season as manager Rogerio Ceni was sacked and Renato Gaucho was subsequently appointed. Flamengo has been one of the best Brazilian soccer picks since the latter was hired. The loss to Gremio was just the second Flamengo has suffered since Renato Gaucho took over.
David Luiz has found a new club as the former Arsenal, Chelsea and PSG man returned to his homeland. Luiz hasn’t yet made his debut but could add to an already formidable defensive group which has given up just a goal per game in the league.
Just One Win in Last Six for Barcelona
Barcelona SC started off the first half of the season well enough. The Guayaquil based club sat in second place behind Emelec through 15 games. However, prior to last weekend’s 3-2 win vs CD Cuenca, Barcelona de Ecuador was winless in its last five matches.
Ecuador’s league follows a two stage format and Barcelona is 4-3 in the second stage. That’s only been good enough for seventh place. After a six game stretch in all competitions where Barcelona managed to score two or more goals in each match, Barcelona has gone scoreless in three of its last five matches.
Even in the quarterfinal of the Copa Libertadores, it took a little bit of luck for Barcelona to go through. Away goals, scored by Adonis Preciado and Gabriel Cortez in a 2-2 draw at Fluminense proved to be the difference. Barcelona SC did just enough in the reverse fixture, which ended in a 1-1 draw, to advance to the semifinals.
Recent form is certainly concerning though, as Barcelona de Guayaquil has been a poor pick for betting online in the past month.
Interestingly enough, Flamengo has lost its last two league matches to Fluminense, who Barcelona SC beat on away goals. If Barcelona is going to win this fixture, it’ll be predicated on defense and stopping a potent Flamengo attack.
That’s easier said than done, as Flamengo beat Olimpia 9-2 over two legs in the quarterfinal and has scored 28 goals through 10 Libertadores matches. That includes three goals per game in home matches.
Flamengo’s sportsbook moneyline of -570 doesn’t exactly present solid value but over three goals at -105 does.
Pick: Over 3 Goals (-105)