Sep 11, 2010

Sport Huancayo - Leon de Huanuco

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

Here I changes my bet in the last moment, as my first lean when I saw the match-up was a DNB on Leon, hoping for some nice odds. But I was also counting on the fact that Huancayo will rest some regulars, as they have some Sudamericana duty next week. However, that is not the case, and they seem keen to avenge their 2-5 trashing from the last round of Descentralizado. They will field best available line-up (GK Flores – 24 matches and DF Farfan – 25/0 are suspended after being sent off last match), and will also welcome back some important players: Blas Lopez, Fernando Masias and Irven Avila, and that could help raise the morale a bit. Reports are giving a probable 3-5-2 formation for them, with plenty of offensive players capable of scoring (Avila, Sotil, Mostto), but also with plenty of spaces for some Leon attacks. And if we also count the missing of their regular goalkeeper and best defender, those attacks could leave a serious mark.
Leon should also give their best to win this match, as if they fail, they could already lose the first place in the Liguilla B, provided Cesar Vallejo wins their match. Another 3-5-2 formation is expected from them also, and with the way Leon is playing (offensive, rarely see them protecting an early and slender lead), plus the quality of their offensive player (Left winger Rodas in particular has been awesome, with 5 goals and 3 assists, but also with a very good game… and let’s add striker Perea, with 17 goals on his tally, or Calheira, with another 9 goals score), it will be a surprise if we don’t see a few goals from them. For the statistics, 7 form the last 10 matches of Huanuco have ended with at least 3 goals scored, while Leon recorded overs in 5 of their last 10, but the rest were also quite close. Also, the two matches between them (one victory for each, at home) have seen a great 12 goals scored (making it 6 per match), so I think the chances for another high-scoring game are very nice. I still believe a bit in my initial DNB, but over looks better, and I hope I won’t choose the wrong bet. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 2.00, 4/10
Result: 0-0, LOST 

Sep 6, 2010

Banfield - Tigre

Argentina Primera Division, Apertura

This looks like a really unfair duel, and I'm surprised to see such odds for Banfield, was expecting something like 1.50, or around that price. They are one of the best Argentinian teams in the last years, and have managed to keep a hold on most of their core team. And with this continuity, results came (they won Apertura last year), and should continue coming. Especially since now morale should be sky high, being undefeated in the league, with 2 wins and 2 draws (against two very uncomfortable teams: Lanus and Estudiantes), and also with a huge step taken in Copa Sudamericana, following their 1-0 away win at Velez. For today's line-up, nothing is certain yet, but only a few changes are expected, and some big names are reported as starters, like Carusca, Erviti, Garcia and Ramirez. And Banfield's compact style of play frustrates most of their opponents, and they rarely allow goals against them.

On the other hand, Tigre are facing some some scoring problems, despite having 4 goals scored so far, 3 of them came last round, when they took advantage of an awful (and relegation material) Quilmes. And while trashing an obviously weaker opponent might please the fans, raise morale and give a wrong impression that they are improving, it doesn't change the fact that they are still poor players, that will most likely struggle with relegation in the future. As I already said, playing against Banfield can be really frustrating, and their rock-solid defense will be very hard to break by a Tigre side that lacks creativity. Under 2.5 goals could be another solution here, but it will all depend on Banfield, as they certainly have the power to score a couple against their opponent. I'm going to play it safe, and go only for a simple home win. GL!

Banfield (-0.5 AH) @ 1.72, 5/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Sep 5, 2010

Mexico - Ecuador

International Friendly Match

I'll go in favor of the home team here, despite things not being too sweet in their ranks. Ever since the World Cup, they haven't managed to find a solid replacement to Javier Aguirre, and after a short spell with Enrique Meza (who drew with Spain 1-1), now the position of interim coach is held by Efrain Flores, but only for a short period of time. Moreover, there are even some players that are making problems, with dos Santos who refused the call-up against Spain, and now Guillermo Franco has decided to hang his boots. As if that wasn't enough, the artificial turf of the Estadio Omnilife is not on the players' taste, and many have criticized it. However, Mexico does hold a pretty important advantage: most of their stars are available for this match, and a lot of them are expected to start tonight's game (early reports give in the starting line-up players like Ochoa, Salcido - Fulham, Barrera - West Ham, Rafa Marquez, Gerardo Torrado, dos Santos - Tottenham, Vela - Arsenal, and Hernandez - ManU), players with a lot of skill, quality and experience.

Ecuador came to Mexico with a young and very inexperienced team, where we can see only a few players that have played for the National team more than 5 times: Walter Ayovi from Monterrey, David Quiroz from Emelec, Antonio Valencia from Manchester United, Christian Benitez from Santos Laguna and Jefferson Montero from Villareal. So, out of the 18 players called for this match, only 6 of them are playing abroad, and only 3 of those 6 play in Europe. So here we have an obvious quality gap between the players of these two teams. And the artificial turf of the Estadio Omnilife should be an even bigger problem for the Ecuadorian players, as they don't have anything similar in their country, while the more professional Mexican players can adapt easier. Very low stakes here, because after all, it is a meaningless friendly. GL!

Mexico (-0.1 AH) @ 2.07, 3/10
Result: 1-2, LOST