The slightly new look Copa Libertadores draw took place on Wednesday evening and all six of Argentina’s representatives discovered where their campaigns will begin. Atlético Tucumán, making their competition debut begin in the second qualifying round with the remaining five already in the group stage.
The draw for the tournament is usually something of a farce given that most the clubs are not actually known at the time but instead of any potential Brazil 3 v Ecuador 2 fixtures, CONMEBOL were fortunate to have virtually all their competitors. Despite Mexican clubs no longer being involved the tournament has expanded to 47 teams and will now run from January until late November or early December.
Much like its European counterpart, The Champions League, there are now layers of pre-qualifying before the group stages and Atlético Tucumán will face El Nacional of Ecuador in the second stage.
Three sides will have already come through one round of qualifying to reach that level and El Decano will be one of eight sides to reach round three, the final hurdle before the group stages.
The four eventual winners from the third stage will enter the group stages and could be in group one with Estudiantes, reigning champions Atlético Nacional and Barcelona, group two with Santos, Independiente Santa Fe and Sporting Cristal, group four with San Lorenzo, Universidad Católica and Flamengo, or in the case of Atlético Tucumán should they progress, in group five with Peñarol, Palmeiras and Wilstermann.
River Plate are in group three with Emelec, Independiente Medellín and Melgar, meaning plenty of travelling for Marcelo Gallardo’s side, Godoy Cruz face Atlético Mineiro, Libertad and Sport Boys in group six and Lanús drew Nacional, Chapecoense and Zulia in group seven.
The two legs of the first stage of the tournament will be on January 23rd and 27th and all of the preliminary rounds will be over before the main group stage begins at the start of March.