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 By Tim Vickery

Copa Libertadores knockout rounds: Brazilian clubs primed to rule Argentina

Two years ago, the final of South America's Copa Libertadores was between Atletico Nacional of Colombia and Ecuador's Independiente del Valle, two sides from the north of the continent. Since then, the competition has been reorganised. It is now played throughout the year, rather than being squeezed into the first semester. And more slots have been given to teams from the big two, Brazil and Argentina.

The consequences are clear. The group phase of this year's competition has now come to a close,...

Corinthians players donate money to struggling Venezuelan hotel workers

Corinthians celeb Copa Lib 180517
Players from Brazilian club Corinthians donated money to Venezuelan hotel staffers ahead of their match with Deportivo Lara.

SAO PAULO -- Brazilian club Corinthians donated $3,000 to hotel staffers in Venezuela before their Copa Libertadores match because of the economic crisis in the country.

It was the second instance this week by a club from Brazil.

Corinthians shared a video on their social media channels showing players and directors handing envelopes to hotel staffers in Cabudare, 350 kilometres (220 miles) from the capital of Caracas. Club chairman Andres Sanchez said the donation was "small, but from the heart...

 By Tim Vickery

Copa Libertadores changes see Brazilian, Argentine clubs more dominant than ever

Palmeiras players celebrate after scoring a goal against Atletico Junior in the Copa Libertadores.
Brazilian club Palmeiras are one of the likely favourites when the Copa Libertadores knockout rounds commence.

It might be expected that the final week in the group phase of South America's Copa Libertadores would be all thrills and spills, a continent-wide scramble for a place in the knockout phase.

In fact, there is little left to fight about. The penultimate week has sorted out much of the pending business. Of the 16 places available, 11 have already been filled -- 12, barring a mathematical miracle. The final week merely completes the cast.

There is an easy explanation for such a state of affairs: the...

 By Tim Vickery

Carlos Tevez toiling with Boca Juniors in Copa Libertadores

The much-heralded return of Carlos Tevez to Boca Juniors has failed to have the desired effect.
The much-heralded return of Carlos Tevez to Boca Juniors has failed to have the desired effect.

With the group phase moving towards a close, the Copa Libertadores has reached a fascinating stage. The big question over the next few weeks is: who is going to crash out early?

Most of the teams have played four of their six group games and no-one has a 100 percent record. That competitive balance means the vast majority are somewhere in the middle, scrambling around to secure enough points to get them over the line and into the knockout stage, which takes place after the World Cup. Half of the...

 By Tim Vickery

Is Brazil starlet Paulinho leaving Vasco da Gama for Bayer Leverkusen too soon?

It is 20 years since Brazil's Vasco da Gama won the Copa Libertadores and it seems that their fans will have to wait at least one more year for a second triumph.

After four of their group games, they have just two points to their name. Down to 10-men for more than half an hour, they fought hard to come back and claim a draw at home to Racing of Argentina.

Defeat would have left their position all but impossible; as it stands, it is merely very difficult. They have to beat compatriots Cruzeiro at...