MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s Peñarol finds itself in a must-win situation in the Copa Libertadores as it prepares to host Bolivia’s The Strongest this week.
Peñarol will have to beat The Strongest on Thursday and hope that Paraguay’s Libertad defeats Argentina’s Atletico Tucuman to book a spot in the round of 16.
The Uruguayan club is in third place in Group C, with six points, just three points behind second-place Atletico Tucuman.
If Peñarol beats The Strongest, it will have nine points and the edge on goal differential.
Atletico Tucuman will have nine points if it loses to Libertad, but Peñarol would advance because of its advantage in goal differential.
If Peñarol does not qualify and finishes in third place in Group C, the team will automatically qualify for the Copa Sudamericana, the secondary regional club tournament.
Peñarol had to shuffle its roster for the match, replacing injured midfielder Mathias Corujo with junior player Franco Martinez.
The club is going to start forwards Fabian Estoyanoff and Cristian Palacios in place of Agustin Canobbio and Gabriel Fernandez.
Peñarol, in addition to having a slim chance of qualifying for the round of 16, is coming off a 4-3 loss to Progreso in the Uruguayan league’s Intermedio tournament.
Venezuelan coach Cesar Farias, meanwhile, headed to Montevideo with The Strongest committed to resting its best players for the Bolivian league’s semifinals.
The Bolivian club is in last place in Group C, with three points, all coming in a 1-0 win over Peñarol.