The 1st of June has been a special moment in the course of the 2021 CONMEBOL Sudamericana™. It marked the draw for the matches in the round of 16 after the tournament had finished the group stage end of May. The mode has been set in the way that the eight winning teams of the group stage proceed to the round of 16 while the remaining eight teams stem from the Copa Libertadores and consist of the eight 3rd placed teams of the latter tournament. This structure ensures a fair performance distribution between all teams, a good coverage of all countries in Latin America, and first of all a good chance for every team involved to win the games on the road to The Great Conquest. This way the fans can experience true and equal fights of their teams that will culminate in the final match, held on November 6th at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay, this year.
Uruguay has recently experienced a severe increase in COVID-19-cases, but now is on the trajectory of a sharp decline. It is still questionable if the stadium may again be filled with people, but we see a chance that it may be possible. The official capacity of the venue is 60k fans – if somehow the officials decide in favor of the fans, PayRetailers will be on site to catch their emotions and let the ecstatic atmosphere speak for itself. But it very well might be that the pandemic forces the organizers to let the game be played behind closed doors again, like last year’s edition when the final of the 2020 Copa Sudamericana took place in the Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes in Córdoba, Argentina, between the teams Lanús and Defensa y Justicia – both Argentinian as well.
The 2021 edition has not been a lucky one for both of these teams. Lanús has been eliminated from the tournament with being second to the outstandingly well performing Brazilian team Grêmio in group H. Defensa y Justicia didn’t even participate in the preliminary round, but as a winner of the 2020 Copa Sudamericana and the following Recopa, for this team it shouldn’t be tragic to not have a spot this year.
After the draw, now let’s look at the upcoming matches:
- Junior vs. Libertad
- Nacional vs. Peñarol
- Independiente del Valle vs. Bragantino
- LDU Quito vs. Grêmio
- Sport Cristal vs. Arsenal FC
- Deportivo Táchira vs. Rosario Central
- Santos vs. CA Independiente
- América de Cali vs. Athletico-PR
All matches are played with a first and second leg each to determine the true superior team for the round of 8. This helps not to base the success of a team only on its daily form, rather than an above-average display of intelligent team work and willingness to seriously fight the opponents.
The winners of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 edition of the Copa Sudamericana are still in the contest – CA Independiente, Athletico-PR, and Independiente del Valle. Will one of these teams this year be able to win a second time within this short time? The only team that achieved a true consecutive win has been Boca Juniors from Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the 2004 and 2005 editions. CA Independiente, although not a true consecutive winner, has won in 2010 and 2017. This team may become the overall leader of all teams if it wins the 2021 tournament, as it would set a record with having won the trophy three times in the history of this tournament.
The first top match for this round of 16 may be Grêmio against LDU Quito as the former is a favorite due to the outstanding performance in the group phase. Although, LDU Quito is rather considered an underdog this year, the team showed to belong to the best teams with having won this trophy in 2009. The second most anticipated match may be CA Independiente against FC Santos. This Argentinian-Brazilian match hosts two of the best teams of each country, and we can expect a true fight for the entry into the next round.
At PayRetailers, especially as an Official Sponsor of the CONMEBOL Sudamericana™, we are ready for the continuation of this event. We’ll follow the matches closely and wish all fans that their teams are successful. Let’s walk the road to The Great Conquest together. Might the best team win!