PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Internacional will take a one-goal advantage into the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final against Guadalajara, which is attempting to become the first Mexican club to win Latin America's most important club competition.
The teams face off Wednesday with Internacional boosted by its home fans and a 2-1 first-leg win in Mexico last week. Omar Bravo, who became the second designated player in Kansas City Wizards history, is expected to play a role for Guadalajara. Bravo will remain with the team through the end of the year and join Kansas City in 2011.
Guadalajara, known as Chivas, will need to find a way to beat the Brazilians by two goals or more at Beira-Rio stadium to clinch the title and make history.
A one-goal victory by the Mexicans will send the match into extra time. If the teams remain level, a penalty shootout will be needed.
"We remain hopeful," Chivas coach Jose Luis Real said. "We know we can play better than we did in the first match in Guadalajara."
Internacional has won all six matches at Beira-Rio stadium this year, and hasn't lost there in 16 Copa Libertadores matches since 1993. It also has won all three matches it played against Mexican clubs in the competition.
Chivas players, however, remain optimistic.
"We can still do it," defender Miguel Angel Ponce said. "We haven't lost the match yet, it's not over. We had to go through a difficult situation in Chile too, but we were able to overcome it. This time it won't be different, we will attack from the start and bring the Copa to Mexico."
Internacional may be without three key starters because of injuries. Striker Alecsandro and midfielder Tinga are nursing right thigh muscle injuries, while defensive midfielder Pablo Guinazu is trying to recover from a left ankle ailment.
All three have missed practice sessions this week, and it remains in doubt whether coach Celso Roth will be able to start the match with them.
By contrast, Chivas coach Real is not expected to make any changes from the first leg, but he did not rule out the return of striker Alberto Medina, who has been nursing a right ankle injury.
Chivas is only the second Mexican club to reach the final since the country joined the Copa Libertadores in 1998. Cruz Azul lost the 2001 final to Boca Juniors.
Chivas will play a home-and-home series with Kansas City next year as part of the Bravo deal.