BARRANQUILLA, Dec 5: Atletico Paranaense coach Tiago Nunes has played down the absence of Junior Barranquilla striker Teofilo Gutierrez in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final, insisting the Colombian side has "other players with great potential".
Gutierrez was handed an automatic one-game suspension after receiving a straight red card for elbowing an opponent during an aerial duel in the semifinal against Colombian rivals Santa Fe.
Junior must now present their defense for the Colombia international as the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) disciplinary committee analyzes whether to extend the ban to two matches.
"Teofilo is a great player and his record speaks for itself," Nunes told reporters on the eve of the first leg of the final at Junior's Estadio Metropolitano.
"He will be missed because of his great quality but Junior have other players with great potential. The team reached the Copa Sudamericana semifinals (last year) and we know they are eager to win it this time."
The decisive return leg will be played at Atletico Paranaense's Arena da Baixada in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba on December 12.
The winner of the Copa Sudamericana will earn a berth in next year's Copa Libertadores, South America's top club competition. (Xinhua)