River Plate will host their first fixture of the 2021 Copa Libertadores on Wednesday when Atletico Junior visit El Monumental hoping to glean an early edge in Group D. The four-time Copa champions are looking to lift the continental crown for a third time under incumbent manager Marcelo Gallardo, whose previous wins took place in 2015 and 2018. All matters are square in Group D after the first game week produced draws across the board, meaning either team has a chance of moving first with a win in Buenos Aires.
What TV Channel is River Plate-Junior on?
Junior hope to score their first win over River Plate at the fifth attempt, and beIN Sports will broadcast the Copa action beginning at 8 p.m. ET. You can live stream Copa Libertadores matches on fuboTV.
How to Watch River Plate vs. Atletico Junior
When: Wednesday, April 28
Where: El Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: beIN Sports
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
Of all the four teams, Gallardo’s men could afford to be most pleased with their share of the Matchday 1 spoils when visiting Brazilian contenders Fluminense. An early penalty courtesy of Gonzalo Montiel steered the Argentinian giants ahead after 13 minutes, only for former Brazil international Fred to equalize in the second period:
River celebrated their eighth successive game without defeat in Rio de Janeiro, though that run has since ended following Sunday’s 2-1 loss at home to San Lorenzo. Jonatan Maidana was missing for that first defeat at El Monumental in more than a month due to coronavirus. The veteran defender will still be serving his quarantine period in midweek:
Junior also lost a lead to draw 1-1 in their opening pool game against Colombian compatriots Santa Fe. Group D is the only one of its kind comprising two domestic rivals, but there’s a sense of urgency for the club after failing to win what may have been their most straightforward fixture. Manager Luis Perea will have special motivation to get a result in Buenos Aires given the former Atletico Madrid star also briefly represented River’s fiercest rivals, Boca Juniors.
Junior have suffered only one defeat in their last 11 outings, though fatigue may catch up to them sooner considering the club had to endure two rounds of qualifiers to reach this stage. That sole defeat came in the first leg of a third-round victory against Bolivian hopefuls Bolívar, overturning a 2-1 deficit thanks to a convincing 3-0 triumph in the home leg.
The Colombian club’s all-time best finish in the Copa Libertadores was a run to the semi-finals in 1994. It so happened to be another Argentinian outfit, Vélez Sarsfield, who ejected them before going on to win the tournament that season, with Junior out to prove more worthy of a title chase themselves almost 30 years later.