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Libertadores Cup Preview
by Paul Kennedy, May 2nd, 2007 9AM

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TAGS:  argentina, brazil, copa libertadores, mexico


ROUND OF 16
Wednesday
Caracas FC vs. Santos (Fox Sports en Espanol, live, 4 pm ET)
Club America vs. Colo Colo (Fox Sports en Espanol, live, 6:30 pm ET)
Boca Juniors vs. Velez Sarsfield (Fox Sports en Espanol, live, 8:30 pm ET)
Defensor Sporting vs. Flamengo
Sao Paulo vs. Gremio (Fox Sports en Espanol, Thursday, delay, 2 am ET)
Thursday
Parana vs. Libertad (Fox Sports en Espanol, live, 6 pm ET)
Nacional (Uru.) vs. Necaxa (Fox Sports en Espanol, live, 8 pm ET)
Cucuta vs. Toluca (Fox Sports en Espanol, live, 10:30 pm ET)

Four months after quitting as Boca Juniors coach, Ricardo La Volpe returns to La Bombonera as coach of Velez Sarsfield for the first leg of their Libertadores Cup round-of-16 series.

La Volpe, who coached Mexico at the 2006 World Cup, took over in the middle of the fall season with Boca ahead in the Argentine First Division, but Boca fell apart after his arrival. Needing only one point in its last two games, Boca lost both games and a subsequent playoff to Independiente in one of the most infamous collapses in the history of Argentine soccer.

La Volpe immediately quit as Boca coach and ended up switching jobs with Velez's Miguel Angel Russo, who is now in charge of Boca.

Boca (second in the Torneo Apertura after 12 games) and Velez (11th) are the only Argentine clubs left in the Libertadores.

REINFORCEMENTS. Mexican clubs Toluca, Necaxa and Club America have both signed reinforcements for the knockout phase.

Toluca signed former Chivas USA star Francisco Palencia and Argentine Ignacio Scocco from UNAM, which, like Toluca, is out of the Mexican league playoffs being played this week.

Necaxa president Javier Perez Teuffer confirmed that Argentine goalie Federico Vilar (Atlante), Costa Rican defender Oscar Rojas (Jaguares) and Argentine midfielder Leandro Gracian (Monterrey) would join the Rayos for the round of 16 against Nacional of Uruguay.

Club America, which must also begin play in the Mexican quarterfinals next week, picked up Mexico international Luis Perez and Panamanian defender Felipe Baloy from Monterrey.

Libertadores Cup rules allow each club to add three players at the end of the group phase.

RECORD BOOK. Brazilian club Santos can break the Libertadores Cup record of eight straight wins it now shares with Vasco da Gama if it beats Caracas FC in Venezuela on Wednesday night. Santos opened the 2007 competition two wins in the preliminary round and six wins in six games in group play.



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