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Copa Libertadores 2018 provides some mouth-watering ties

Thursday's draw has thrown up some fascinating contests, particularly Group 4 (River Plate, Emelec, Flamengo) and Group 8 (Boca Juniors, Palmeiras, Alianza Lima).

Copa Libertadores 2018 provides some mouth-watering ties

Independiente will face another test against Brazilian opposition after being drawn against Corinthians in the group stage of the 2018 Copa Libertadores.

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.

River Plate face Flamengo

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.

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 6, 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 Grêmio 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.

Copa Libertadores 2018 draw

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) Qualifier Group 5 Cruzeiro (BRA) Universidad de Chile (CHI) Racing Club (ARG) Qualifier Group 6 Santos (BRA) Estudiantes (ARG) Real Garcilaso (PER) Qualifier Group 7 Corinthians (BRA) Independiente (ARG) Millonarios (COL) Deportivo Lara (VEN) Group 8 Boca Juniors (ARG) Palmeiras (BRA) Alianza Lima (PER) Qualifier

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