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South America’s Libertadores Cup has reached the quarter-finals and, for those lucky enough to see it (it’s sadly shunned by most tv networks outside the region), offers a refreshing change to the predictability of its richer European counterpart.
Only three of the eight teams reached this stage last year, there are no clear favourites for the title and all four ties remain wide open after last week’s first legs.
Titleholders Boca Juniors face a tough battle after being held 2-2 at home by Mexico’s Atlas but are far from dead and buried, especially if the mercurial Juan Roman Riquelme can hit form. They were in a similar situation last year after drawing at home with Libertad in the first leg, but hit back for a 2-0 win in Asuncion.
Boca’s fellow Argentines San Lorenzo also drew at home last week, 1-1 against Ecuadorean champions LDU, but have already shown they are the last team you would want to write off.
Mexico make a rare visit to Europe when they face Ghana at Craven Cottage on Wednesday in what could be their last game under coach Hugo Sanchez.
The former Real Madrid striker is widely regarded as the finest player Mexico has produced and seemed the obvious choice to replace Ricardo La Volpe following the 2006 World Cup.