River Plate VS Al Ain Match Prediction
South American giants River Plate have never previously met Al-Ain.
Al Ain may have pulled off the improbable to reach the semi-finals and a match against South American giants River Plate but to progress all the way to the final is even less likely.
River Plate saw off Superclasico rivals Boca Juniors to win the Copa Libertadores and are riding the crest of the wave after that.
Lucas Pratto, Rafael Santos Borre and even Gonzalo Martinez have been in the goals and, having conceded three in their first match against Wellington, Al Ain should be very worried.
A positive for the hosts is the possible return of Marcus Berg, though the Swede admitted several of his team-mates are suffering with a similar virus.
Even at full fitness, this would have been a mismatch though.
The only thing Al Ain can say is their attack has been in outstanding form of late, with 16 goals in the last five games – during which time they have never scored less than three in a match.
Franco Armani may not have a quiet night in goal for River as a result, but even so – while Al Ain could get on the scoresheet – you can not back against the Argentinean giants.
It is rare enough for the Copa Libertadores winners to not reach the Club World Cup final, let alone when it is the host side and not even the continental champions that stand in their way.
River Plate are 4/11 favourites with Bet365 and 10Bet to beat Al Ain and you might even say that price is not as low as it could be.
River should win comfortably, though Al Ain do at least go into the game in red-hot attacking form and both teams to score is 11/10 with Bet365 and 10Bet.
River to win and BTTS is a best price of 12/5 with Bet365, while over 2.5 goals returns 4/5 with the same bookmaker.
Lucas Pratto and, with a point to prove after missing the second leg against Boca Juniors, Rafael Santos Borre, should be backed to continue their recent form and get on the scoresheet.
River Plate should not only beat Al Ain but should do so comfortably. The best the hosts can expect is a goal, given their attacking form, but that would be little more than a consolation.
Rafael Santos Borre is pushing for a recall after missing the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final through suspension. He had previously scored in the semi-final second leg but a booking at Boca meant he missed out last time out. Fellow Colombian Juan Quintero could also start, after his match-winning impact from the bench against Boca.
Lucas Pratto – Scored in both legs of the Copa Libertadores final to earn Superclasico victory and a place in the Club World Cup.
Rafael Santos Borre – Missed the second leg against Boca through suspension but the Colombian forward is raring to go after two Superliga goals against Gimnasia La Plata beforehand.
Gonzalo Martinez – Cool from the penalty spot and his goal to wrap up the Copa Libertadores final was his third in six games.
River Plate have won each of their last two matches 3-1, having drawn the previous two 2-2. That includes both legs of the Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors, where Lucas Pratto and an own goal ensured a 2-2 draw in the first leg before the re-arranged second leg saw Pratto cancel out an early strike before Juan Quintero and Gonzalo Martinez won the game in extra time.
Marcus Berg, scorer of the equaliser against Wellington and top scorer so far this season, has had to make do with two late cameos so far this season but the Swede is pushing for a start as he continues to recover from a virus. Mohamed Abdulrahman is back after his ban but may find his route back into the team blocked given the performance last time out.
Marcus Berg – The Swedish international was top scorer in last season’s Arabian Gulf League and, despite being ill, scored the late equaliser against Wellington.
Bandar Mohammed – His introduction from the bench helped turn the game against Wellington, while he was on the scoresheet against ES Tunis.
Hussein El Shahat – His goal against ES Tunis was his seventh in 13 appearances to continue a fine start to the campaign.
Al Ain have scored at least three goals in each of their last five matches, winning four of those – albeit the game against Wellington went to a penalty shoot-out. Their only loss was in the Presidents Cup, losing 5-3 to Al Wasl but so far in this Club World Cup theirs has been a stand-out story. From 3-0 down against Wellington, Tsukasa Shiotani, Tongo Doumbia and Marcus Berg all scored and Al Ain triumphed 4-3 on penalties. Last time out, against ES Tunis, Mohamed Ahmad and Hussein El Shahat put the hosts 2-0 up after 16 minutes and Bandar Mohammed sealed the win on the hour.