Carlos Tevez insists Boca Juniors are not underestimating Independiente del Valle as the two teams prepare to lock horns in the Copa Libertadores semi-finals.
Independiente welcome Boca to the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa for Thursday’s opening leg in Quito, with the Ecuadorians outsiders to progress.
While Boca boast six Libertadores titles, one shy of the record, Independiente have no history in South America’s premier club competition, having languished in Ecuador’s third division a decade ago.
But Tevez and Boca – the only unbeaten team remaining in the Libertadores – are not taking Independiente for granted, after watching their opponents upstage defending champions River Plate and Pumas UNAM en route to the semis.
“We should not underestimate anybody, they are a quality team,” said Tevez, who is Boca’s leading scorer in the campaign with five goals.
“There will be pressure, but it is the same with everyone, after all, this is a Libertadores semi-final.
“The game will be more than important. Let’s look for a good result to bring home.”
Boasting internationals such as Nicolas Lodeiro and Frank Fabra, Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s Boca advanced to the knockout round as group winners, undefeated from six games, before going on to beat Cerro Porteno and Nacional to reach the semis.
Independiente, meanwhile, have continually punched above their weight in this year’s competition.
After finishing second to Atletico Mineiro in the group stage, Independiente never looked back, Junior Sornoza (six goals) and Jose Angulo (five goals) helping the Libertadores minnows past River and Pumas.
And coach Pablo Repetto believes his team are capable of producing another shock result, with the winners awaiting either Sao Paulo or Atletico Nacional in the two-legged decider.
“There are many disadvantages of budget, additions, but in all instances we play against these things. It happened with River and with Pumas too,” said Repetto.
“With positive mindset we can achieve the result.”
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