X-Ray: meet Caracas, Athletico’s opponent in Libertadores

Next Tuesday, Athletico faces Caracas in the first round of the Copa Libertadores. Playing for the second time in the Venezuelan capital – it debuted there in the round of 16 of the 2018 Sulamericana – Hurricane faces the well-known, but well-modified, Caracas FC. Venezuela’s national runner-up last season, lost to Deportivo Táchira in the final and, since then, has added ten signings to the squad, also losing ten players.

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It currently occupies the eleventh place in its national championship, which has 16 teams again after being “bloated” last year, due to the pandemic. After six matches played, they had only seven points with one win, four draws and one defeat, suffered against Metropolitanos, who faced Atheltico in the group stage of last season’s Copa Sudamericana. Team has scored just two points away from home so far, adding to the defeat against Metropolitanos, draws with Academia Puerto Cabello and Deportivo Lara.

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The bad phase can be explained by the recent change of coaches: On December 15th, coach Noel “Chita” Sanvicente said goodbye to the club as an icon of a great work, receiving the status of “emblem of the 12-time champion of Venezuela” through social networks. . The new hire, Francesco Stifano, who spent the last two seasons at Rionegro Águila, in addition to having stints with great Venezuelans such as Deportivo Táchira, has not yet managed to impose his style of play.

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Caracas, even with the technical change, kept the base of its successful team of 2021, having in the squad the two top scorers of the “Venezuelan” last year in Samson Akinyoola and Richard Celis, who scored 18 and 17 goals, respectively. Right-back Eduardo Ferreira, defenders Carlos Rivero, and Diego Oslo and midfielder Edson Castillo, joining Akinyoola and Celis were elected to the Venezuelan league’s ideal team, also last season. Caracas did not play continental competitions in 2021, they had their last participation in Libertadores in 2020, when they fell in the group stage of the competition.

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