Newell’s begin 2021 Copa Sudamericana campaign against Jorginho’s  Dragão

Newell’s begin 2021 Copa Sudamericana campaign against Jorginho’s Dragão

Atlético Goianiense v Newell’s Old Boys

Group F, CONMEBOL Copa Sudamericana
20th April 2021
🏟️ Estádio Antônio Accioly, Goiânia, Brazil

Newell’s Old Boys begin their long awaited Copa Sudamericana campaign with a trip to newcomers Atlético Goianiense in the city of Goiânia on Tuesday night.

While La Lepra’s domestic campaign has improved since the appointment of Germán Burgos, competing on the continent in the Copa Sudamericana is the main priority for the club at the moment and is something that many players aspire to do.

When Newell’s Old Boys qualified for the Copa Sudamericana, after a strong performance in the Argentina Superliga in 2019, manager Frank Kudelka expected that he would lead the team into the competition to build on his successes in the league. But it wasn’t to be and after an atrocious start to 2021 under Kudelka, he was relieved of his duties at the beginning of March with new manager “El Mono” Burgos given the task of leading Newell’s in the Sudamericana.

This will be La Lepra’s fourth time playing in the Copa Sudamericana having contested it in 2005, 2010 and 2018. The only time Newell’s have progressed past the First Phase was in 2010, when the club reached the Quarter-Finals only to be knocked out by LDU Quito. In 2018, Newell’s were knocked out by eventual winners Athletico Paranaense in the First Phase over two legs.

This year, they are guaranteed more games as the competition format has been changed to a league-knockout structure, similar to the Copa Libertadores and Champions League, rather than the straight knockout format which had typified South America’s secondary continental competition.

Ahead of the first game on Tuesday night, the squad arrived in the city of Goiânia after taking three flights with stops in Buenos Aires and Iguazu. Rosario’s Fisherton Airport is currently not permitted to handle direct international flights due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic so the journey had to be broken up.

Our opponents, Atlético Goianiense are playing in the Copa Sudamericana for the second time, having debuted in the competition in 2012. Not a major name in Brazilian football, they are highly successful in the Goiás State Championship (15 titles) but their crowning moment came when they won Brazil’s Serie B National Title in 2016.

They’ve qualified for the Copa Sudamericana after coming a respectable 13th in the 2020 Serie A, grabbing the second last place up for grabs in the competition.

Their manager perhaps has as high a profile as Newell’s manager Germán Burgos. A World Cup winner in 1994 with Brazil as a player, Jorginho joined the Dragão (Dragon) as Head Coach just this month. Like Burgos, he’s unbeaten so far with 2 wins and a draw in the Goiás State Championship and a win in the Copa Do Brasil.

Newell’s Old Boys will be a considerable step up in quality for Jorginho and with Goianiense not expected to qualify from the group, the home side will be looking to avoid defeat on the opening day.

Atlético Goianiense v Newell’s Old Boys Team News

Forwards Jonatan Cristaldo and Alexís Rodríguez have been left in Rosario with slight knocks but Justo Giani is available for selection after missing the last few games through injury.

Uncapped youngsters Milton Leyendeker and Martín Luciano are also part of the 22-man group that travelled.

Ramiro Macagno, Julián Fernández, Matías Orihuela, Braian Rivero, Mariano Bíttolo, Franco Escobar, Francisco González and Santiago Gentiletti are all on the long-term injury list. Fernando Belluschi has also been left out of the squad once again.

Atlético Goianiense are expected to restore their senior players to the side after fielding a full Reserve side for their 3-1 win over CRAC in the Goiás State Championship on Saturday. Their key player to watch is João Paulo, a number 10 who can also play on the wings.

📺 Watch Atlético Goianiense v Newell’s on Tuesday 20th April: Live on Fanatiz (US Only), BeIN USA, DirecTV and LiveScore app in the UK.
⏰ Kick-off: 19.15 ARG | 23.15 UK

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