It may not be Europe's Champions League—or even the Europa League, for that matter—but South America's Copa Sudamericana remains one of the most intriguing continental club tournaments on the planet.
With the tournament now reaching the round of 16 stage, let's take a look at some of the more intriguing matchups on the docket.
|Home Team||Away Team||1st Leg||Time (ET)|
|Sao Paulo||Universidad Catolica||Thur, Sept. 26||8:50 p.m.|
|LDU Loja||River Plate||Thur, Sept. 19||8:15 p.m.|
|Ponte Preta||Deportivo Pasto||Wed, Sept. 25||6:30 p.m.|
|Libertad||Sport Recife||Wed, Sept. 25||8:50 p.m.|
|Coritiba||Itagui||Tue, Sept. 24||8 p.m.|
|La Equidad||Vélez Sarsfield||Wed, Sept. 18||9:30 p.m.|
|Lanus||Universidad de Chile||Wed, Sept. 18||7:15 p.m.|
|Atletico Nacional||Bahia||Thur, Sept. 26||8:50 p.m.|
|Home Team||Away Team||2nd Leg||Time (ET)|
|Universidad Catolica||Sao Paulo||Wed, Oct. 23||7:50 p.m.|
|River Plate||LDU Loja||Thur, Sept. 26||6:30 p.m.|
|Deportivo Pasto||Ponte Preta||Tue, Oct. 22||8:15 p.m.|
|Sport Recife||Libertad||Wed, Oct. 23||7:50 p.m.|
|Itagui||Coritiba||Thur, Oct. 24||9 p.m.|
|Vélez Sarsfield||La Equidad||Wed, Oct. 2||8:15 p.m.|
|Universidad de Chile||Lanus||Wed, Sept. 25||6:30 p.m.|
|Bahia||Atletico Nacional||Thur, Oct. 24||6:30 p.m.|
Sao Paulo vs. Universidad Catolica
One of the more intriguing matchups will be the famous Brazilian side, Sao Paulo, taking on the current leader on the Chile Primera Division table, Universidad Catolica.
Sao Paulo is led by the exciting No. 10, Ganso, a true talent who somewhat surprisingly spurned European football and, instead, joined Sao Paulo from Santos, unlike former teammate Neymar, who, of course, is now in Barcelona. Aloisio and Luis Fabiano pace the club with five goals apiece.
The visitors are not to be trifled with, however. Milovan Mirosevic (two goals, one assist in league play) and Ismael Sosa (four goals) will give the Brazilian side all they can handle.
LDU Loja vs. River Plate
The famous Argentine side, River Plate, will be tested in a big way in a road fixture at LDU Loja of Ecuador.
River Plate has not started strongly this year, taking just eight points from seven Primera División de Argentina, dropping to 15th on the table.
Loja isn't faring much better, currently eighth of 12 on the Primera A de Ecuador table. For both of these clubs, moving on in the Copa Sudamericana will alleviate the pressure of disappointing domestic campaigns thus far.
Lanus vs. Universidad de Chile
Behind Santiago Silva and Lautaro Acosta, along with a stingy defense, Lanus will be a tough team to beat, especially at home. The team currently sits in fifth place on the Primera División de Argentina table, but has played quite well overall in the Copa Sudamericana.
Perhaps not as well as Universidad de Chile, however, which has treated the tournament, thus far, as its own whipping boy. With a dangerous attack, the Chilean side will be looking to steal some points on the road.
Don't count on Lanus allowing that to happen at home, however. This will be a spirited match, but Lanus won't lose in front of the home supporters.