Oct 16, 2010

All Boys - Independiente

Argentina Primera Division, Apertura

Nice odds for the over here, and a low line, but that's usual in Argentinian games, as in recent years very few matches are entertaining and provide lots of goals and excitement. All Boys looks to be an exception to the typical newly-promoted or 'small' team, who only look to close the spaces and hope for a lucky counter. All Boys don't refuse to play football, that is why their attack looks good, but also their defense looks poor. However, this style made them achieve some nice high-profile results, like the 2-1 win over Estudiantes, 2-0 win over Boca, and a highly entertaining 3-3 draw with Tigre. Big props for them, in hopes that they will continue playing like this, and they should, because every point could be decisive in the aggregate points table. No important changes expected for them tonight, as they will be looking to continue with their solid home form, and make another victim.

Independiente, on the other hand, made an awful start of the season, but it looks as if the worst has passed, since a new coach - 'El Turco' Antonio Mohamed - took over, and managed to win El Clasico de Avellaneda on his debut. But, now, the main problem for them is Copa Sudamericana, where they will have to overturn a 0-1 deficit next week, and since the title is far away, same as the Libertadores qualification, Mohamed decided to put emphasis on Sudamericana. Therefore, most of the regulars will be rested tonight, as the team will suffer no less than 8 changes in comparison to last week's Clasico. This could surely add another dent in their Apertura ambitions, and All Boys looks like a team that's capable to capitalize on this. And despite home win looking like the obvious choice, I'm going for the over, as I have plenty of experience with such games, and very often the over looks better. At least now, we even have better odds for the over. GL!

over 2.25 @ 2.07, 4/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Santiago Wanderers - Union San Felipe

Chile Primera Division

After the fabulous match that counted for Copa Sudamericana, against LDU Quito, San Felipe won 4-2, and have taken a serious step towards a historical qualification. However, they are only halfway through, as it is known the strength that LDU has when playing in Casablanca, and they could easily overturn the 2 goals deficit. That is why San Felipe's coach is putting his entire focus on the Sudamericana second leg, at the expense of the Chilean league, and they will use a line-up consisting fully of reserves, in order to give the regulars a proper rest. That means that big names and regular players will miss the game. Therefore, Santiago Wanderers will have a golden opportunity to take the 3 points that could see them go 3 points clear of the relegation places, so a win today for them is absolutely vital. They should also end their poor run, as they have only won once in the last 9 league matches. The Wanderers will have no important absences, and they have already said they will treat each of the remaining games as a final, so I don't doubt their motivation, and against an alternative San Felipe team, they should take their chances. GL!

Santiago Wanderers @ 1.97, 5/10
Result: 2-1, WON

Inti Gas - Universidad San Martin

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla A

I'm going for a surprise here, as San Martin have gone winning their last 4 games, but these winning streaks don't last very long in Peru. And Ica looks like the perfect place to end your winning streak. San Martin can consider themselves finalists already, as with 13 points ahead of Alianza Lima, it will be almost impossible to lose such an advantage. So I doubt their commitment, despite their words of going for the 3 points, and other things like that. They can rest assured they will be in the final, without much of a sweat, and even though I'm sure they would like another win, I don't think they will push to the extremes to get it. Especially since their top scorer, and also the league's top scorer, Arriola, is doubtful, and it looks like he's going to miss this game. Inti Gas should go out with all they have, and 3 points against the best team of the year will surely motivate them a lot. As I said, in Ica it is very hard to take points, and we just need to look at their last home matches, where they defeated Universitario (2 times this season), Alianza Lima, and Juan Aurich some time ago. They like this sort of matches, and they get some extra-motivation while playing them, and that's what should matter here, because quality is obviously on San Martin's side. GL!

Inti Gas (+0.25 AH) @ 1.78, 3/10
Result: 2-1, WON

Guarani - Sportivo Luqueno

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Apertura champions Guarani have celebrated this week 107 years of existence, and some 3 points today on their home field will surely be a nice way to end celebrations. Following the disappointment of being knocked-out of Copa Sudamericana at penalties, 7-8 against Union San Felipe of Chile (and the subsequent home defeat against Rubio Nu), Guarani seems to have found their feet again, and are coming after two consecutive wins, including a very conclusive one, away at relegation-bound Trinidense. Jonathan Fabbro will most probably miss the game, after being injured in training, and that should be a blow for the team, as he's been a creative force throughout the years. But the good thing is that Guarani doesn't rely on individuals, they rely on team-force, and I don't think Fabbro will be too missed, especially against a team of lower caliber. Much bigger problems should have Luqueno, who will miss their most in-form striker, Luis Ovelar, for contractual clauses. He's the team's top scorer, so it remains to be seen how the team will cope without him, against a solid team like Guarani. And if we think about the last game of Trinidense, the fact that they received 3 goals while being a man up, really shows a lot about their tactical organization. Guarani should take an easy win here, and the odds certainly show some nice value, but don't go higher than some small stakes. GL!

Guarani (-1.25 AH) @ 2.32, 3/10
Result: 1-0, HALF LOST

Oct 14, 2010

Atletico Mineiro - Santa Fe

Copa Sudamericana

Santa Fe will be looking to take advantage of a troubled Atletico Mineiro side, when they face each other in tonight's Copa Sudamericana. The Brazilian team is fighting fiercely against relegation, as after a few mathces where they have shown some improvement, they find themselves just 2 points behind the safe zone. And most importantly, next weekend they will play at home against Avai, one of their main rivals for avoiding relegation, so their focus will surely go there. From the most notable misses, we can see that top scorer Diego Tardelli will miss the game through injury, same as midifielders Ricardinho (21/6) and Fabiano (10/0), as well as forward Daniel Carvalho (10/2). But besides them, more regulars are expected to be rested, as Mineiro's players are accusing a heavy state of fatigue, and to worsen that is the last thing they need before the 10 rounds of their Serie A. Meanwhile, a much fresher Colombian side will come to Brazil with all they have, and all their regulars are expected to start tonight's game. Despite some recent slip-ups in the league and the cup, they are still a side that needs to be taken into consideration, as their full attention goes to the Copa Sudamericana. These odds might seem fair under normal circumstances, but with the Brazilians in all sorts of problems, I think there's some value on the Colombians, and I don't expect them to lose here. GL!

Santa Fe (+0.75) @ 1.86, 3/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Universidad Cesar Vallejo - Sport Huancayo

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

Pretty high handicap for my liking, but the recent team news, and the odds over 2 convinced me that this bet should be worth a shot. This match was postponed due to Huancayo's Sudamericana tragic adventure, and at that time, Cesar Vallejo would have had little trouble in winning it. But the recent bad results have derailed them from the title chase. After losing 0-3 at in-form Juan Aurich, and managing only a 1-1 draw at home with problem-stricken Cienciano, they are now in a must win situation, as despite their bad recent form, 3 points today could see them climb to top spot in their group. And the team news are encouraging, as thanks to the league break they are now able to welcome back 3 important players: central midfielder Nakaya (28/0) and their main strike force, as forwards Roberto Demus (24/11) and Mayer Candelo (22/10) are back in contention. This will certainly be a boost to their offensive ambitions, and with Sport Huancayo having one of the weakest defenses in the league, and also being one of the worst travelers (no win so far away from home), Cesar Vallejo should have plenty of chances. Both their previous matches played at Mansiche were won by the hosts with a one-goal difference, but now things seem a bit different, Vallejo are capable of winning this big. GL!

Universidad Cesar Vallejo (-1.25) @ 2.06, 3/10
Result: 2-1, HALF LOST

Emelec - Avai

Copa Sudamericana

For this match, contrary to what was expected, it looks as if Avai will be going full strength against the Ecuadorians. The probable line-up that was made public includes all their main players and regulars, and with a new coach, their spirits might be lifted. As most people know, Avai is struggling to avoid relegation, and despite a very important game in the weekend, against relegation rival Mineiro, the coach has decided to give the best of his team for tonight's Sudamericana clash. And I'm sure they won't stay back and wait for their opponents to come, as it will just be a waste of some very interesting offensive players, whose skills could decide the game in the Brazilian's favor. That is why I like this over bet. But there are also some more reasons. The best goalkeeper in Ecuador in the last decade is highly unlikely to start the game, as Marcelo Elizaga is struggling with an injury, so his place will be filled by Klimowicz, who isn't a bad keeper, but certainly far from Elizaga's skills and talent. Those who have seen Emelec's game against Universidad San Martin have also seen what the Ecuadorians can do when they go in attack, and they should do the same today, as a narrow 1-0 win for them will leave it very complicated in Brazil. And it seems as they will, as the probable line-up shows an offensive trio consisting of Santiago Biglieri, Joao Rojas and Jaime Ayovi, 3 players that have score together this year 29 goals (although 20 of them have been scored by Ayovi alone). And with Avai being one of the poorer Brazilian teams - defensive wise - I'm sure we'll be seeing several goal. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 2.16, 4/10
Result: 2-1, WON

Oct 13, 2010

Panama - Peru

International Friendly

As I said a few days ago, Peru under the magician Markarian are a very different team to the one that finished in shame the World Cup qualies, and it's really a joy to watch them. Against Costa Rica last weekend, they controlled the entire match, and never looked in danger of conceding a goal. Especially in the first half they were really impressive, dominating the Central Americans, passing with speed, always going forward and trying to score, but also leaving their opponents very few spaces, resulting in only one chance to score for Costa Rica. For today's game, the main line-up shouldn't change too much. Most notable will be Johan Fano, who will start in attack in Rengifo's place, but the Atlante striker is also in good form, scoring 6 goals in 10 matches played in Clausura, so that shouldn't be a problem for Peru. Otherwise, all the impressive players from the last matches will be present: Farfan - who showed a lot of commitment and good play, Reimond Manco and Josepmir Ballon, who are both doing great jobs in the midfield. Panama doesn't seem much different than the teams Peru already played against. Ok, maybe they are better organized than Canada and Jamaica, but I'd rate them as pretty equal to Costa Rica, and as evidence we have that 2-2 between Panama and Costa Rica, one month ago. Peru just looks great recently, and them not being favorites here is a big surprise for me, as I certainly don't see them losing. GL!

Peru DNB @ 2.02, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Oct 11, 2010

Universitario de Sucre - Blooming

Bolivia Primera Division

The surprise package of Copa Sudamericana, Universitario Sucre (the team that knocked-out Colo Colo and Cerro Porteno) are having to deal with some serious squad problems. 5 of their players were busy with international call-ups, and only returned with the team on Friday at noon, giving them only 2 days to prepare for this match, but their probable state of fatigue, and the fact that Sucre plays next week again in Sudamericana, might convince the coach not to use them at all. All those players are regulars, and include the goalkeeper Lampe, and the team's top scorer Roberto Galindo. And besides them, striker Horacio Fernandez (4 goals scored so far) is also suspended, leaving their offensive power depleted. Moreover, next week they will face Palmeiras, so, even though nothing is confirmed, some other regulars could be rested in order to have them fit for the clash with the Brazilians. Meanwhile, Blooming is a pretty solid team, even when playing away, and they close the spaces very well, waiting for a deadly counter attack. Some tactical change is expected, employing a formation with 5 midfielders, in order to get the ball back as soon as possible, and launch the counter for the in-form Castillo. So, it will be hard for Blooming to win this game, but with some many probable absences for Sucre, they will certainly have their chances, a draw is pretty much on the cards here. GL!

Blooming (+0.75 AH) @ 2.06, 3/10
Result: 0-2, WON

Sol de America - Cerro Porteno

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Cerro Porteno is passing through some bad moments, and especially in form form are their strikers, Nanni and Zeballos, who haven't scored for quite some time. And they haven't won for 3 consecutive matches, including the return leg with Universitario Sucre of Bolivia, which resulted in their elimination from Copa Sudamericana. So, as I said, Cerro has problems creating solid offensive moves, and even when they do, Nanni and Zeballos just blow them away. For this match they will also have some absences in defense, with GK Barreto and DF Cesar Benitez in Australia with the NT, while other DF Pedro Benitez is injured. Midfielder Ivan Torres is doubtful, as he didn't train last week due to some personal problems. Also, coach Torrente won't be able to lead the team from the bench, as he is suspended. All this absences will probably mean some extra attention in defense from Cerro, but I wouldn't worry too much about conceding, as Sol isn't too bright in offense either. As a matter of fact, especially against the big teams, they play very tight, compact, flooding their defensive lines and making it hard for the opposition to score. And that's the last thing Cerro needs at the moment. With an average of 1 goal scored per match, and also 1 conceded per match, Sol should prove a tough nut to crack for Cerro, and until their forwards snap out of their bad form, Cerro is not a team to be trusted here. Under 2.5 here for me, but a surprise 1X could also be a possibility. GL!

under 2.5 goals @ 1.84, 3/10
Result: 1-2, LOST

Oct 10, 2010

Newell's Old Boys - Quilmes

Argentina Primera Division, Apertura

I was really impressed with Newell's in Sudamericana, following their 6-0 win, as they really did a great match, and have shown that their recent form is not random. They have a good team, and their game plan is working like a charm. Of course, they were also helped a lot by the awful Bolivians, but let's not minimize their merits. Today they'll have a much more difficult game against Quilmes, as even the poorest team from Argentina shouldn't be as bad as San Jose were. But Newell's form and morale following their 11 games without a win, and their record-breaking Sudamericana win, makes them strong favorites for this game, and I'm sure they'll want to continue their run. Most of the players that trashed the Bolivians will also play today. The only important missings will be defender Alayes - who will be rested, and winger Estigarribia - injured. But overall they will still have a very solid team, with players like Schiavi, Sperduti, Formica and Borghello playing their part. To assume Quilmes can snatch some points here is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. Last place in the table, and without a win so far must have really broken their spirit, and the worst part is that they don't seem capable to snap out of it. They might have snatched some draws against teams with big names, but overall, they are performing poorly, so points won with River, Independiente and Argentinos can't really be points of reference. Newell's is a class better than them, and anything else other than a clear win here (2-0, 3-0) would be a big surprise. GL!

Newell's (-1 AH) @ 2.04, 3/10
Result: 1-1, LOST