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Independiente face new Brazil test in Libertadores draw

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Conmebol competitions director Hugo Figueredo (C) holds a paper with the name of Ecuador’s club Independiente del Valle during the Copa Libertadores 2018 draw, at the Conmebol headquarters in Luque, Paraguay, on December 20, 2017 © AFP / NORBERTO DUARTE

LUQUE, Paraguay, Dec 21Argentinian giants Independiente will face another test against Brazilian opposition after being drawn against Sao Paulo side Corinthians in the group stage of the 2018 Copa Libertadores here Wednesday.

Independiente sealed their place in the Libertadores draw last week after lifting the Copa Sudamericana following a 3-2 aggregate victory over Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro.

The match however was overshadowed by violence before, during and after the game, when Brazilian fans used fireworks to attack the team hotel where Independiente were staying.

Further violence flared during the second leg at the Maracana Stadium, with fighting inside and outside of the iconic venue.

Independiente are the most successful side in Libertadores history, with seven titles, although they have not lifted the prestigious club competition since 1984.

Another eye-catching Brazil-Argentina clash in the group stage will see Buenos Aires side River Plate, the three-time champions who won the tournament in 2015 face Flamengo in Group Four.

Argentina’s Independiente players celebrate with the 2017 Sudamericana Cup trophy, at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, on December 13, 2017 © AFP/File / Carl DE SOUZA

Group Five meanwhile will see Brazil’s Cruzeiro take on Argentina’s Racing Club.

Three-time Brazilian winners Santos also face Argentinian opposition in Group, where their opponents include four-time Libertadores champions Estudiantes.

Group Eight promises another clash of heavyweights with Argentina’s six-time winners Boca Juniors facing 1999 Libertadores champions Palmeiras.

Defending champions Gremio of Brazil meanwhile will be favourites to progress from Group One, where their opponents include Paraguay’s Cerro Porteño, Defensor Sporting of Uruguay and Venezuela’s Monagas.

The opening preliminary round matches take place on January 22 with the final to be played over two legs on November 7 and 28.

Draw:

First round

Match 1 – Montevideo Wanderers (URU) v Olimpia (PAR)

Match 2 – Deportivo Macará (ECU) v Deportivo Táchica VEN)

Match 3 – Oriente Petrolero (BOL) v Universitario (PER)

Second round

C1 – Winner match 2 v Independiente Santa Fe (COL) C2 – Chapecoense (BRA) v Nacional (URU)

C3 – Winner match 3 v Jorge Wilstermann (BOL)

C4 – Carabobo (VEN) v Guaraní (PAR)

C5 – Winner match 1 v Junior (COL)

C6 – Chile qualifier (tbc) v Vasco Da Gama (BRA)

C7 – Banfield (ARG) v Independiente del Valle (ECU)

C8 – Santiago Wanderers (CHI) v Melgar (PER)

Third round

Match 1 – C1 v C8

Match 2 – C2 v C7

Match 3 – C3 v C6

Match 4 – C4 v C5

Group phase

Group 1

Gremio (BRA)

Cerro Porteño (PAR)

Defensor Sporting (URU)

Monagas (VEN)

Group 2

Atlético Nacional (COL)

Bolívar (BOL)

Colo Colo (CHI)

Delfín Sporting (ECU)

Group 3

Peñarol (URU)

Libertad (PAR)

The Strongest (BOL)

Atlético Tucumán (ARG)

Group 4

River Plate (ARG)

Emelec (ECU)

Flamengo (BRA)

(Winner Match 1 C1 v C8)

Group 5

Cruzeiro (BRA)

Universidad de Chile (CHI)

Racing Club (ARG)

(Winner Match 3 C3 v C6)

Group 6

Santos (BRA)

Estudiantes (ARG)

Real Garcilaso (PER)

(Winner Match 2 C2 v C7)

Group 7

Corinthians (BRA)

Independiente (ARG)

Millonarios (COL)

Deportivo Lara (VEN)

Group 8

Boca Juniors (ARG)

Palmeiras (BRA)

Alianza Lima (PER)

(Winner Match 4 C4 v C5)

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