Nov 6, 2010

Godoy Cruz - Newell's Old Boys

Argentina Primera Division, Apertura

Newell's played a pretty good match this mid-week at home, against LDU Quito in Copa Sudamericana, but luck wasn't on their side, and they eventually had to settle for a 0-0 draw. But this result serves them as much as a defeat, as it is well known LDU's home strength, at the high altitude of Quito. So, coach Sensini has decided to give a rest to most of his players, in order for them to be fit for the grueling duel in Ecuador. Schiavi is suspended for this match anyway, while 8 other players will be rested (Alayes, Mateo, Bernardi, Borghello, Fideleff, Estigarribia, Formica and Sperdutti), leaving them to play with a team of reserves and fringe players. Godoy are still having a chance to catch the leaders Estudiantes, and will probably relish the opportunity to easily beat a usually solid team like Newell's. They won't have any absences, and they are very likely to field their base team, their strongest line-up. A victory for Godoy will also cement their qualification to Copa Libertadores (which looks good anyway, since they are 2nd in the Average points table). Odds are still take-able, and this looks like a solid bet. GL!

Godoy Cruz (-0.5 AH) @ 1.75, 5/10
Result: 0-0, LOST

Cienciano - Sport Boys

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

Lately, I have noticed some improvements in Cienciano. 2 weeks ago they have finally won a match after several winless rounds, when they beat Juan Aurich at home by 3-0, and their last 2 defeats were quite at the limit, giving both Alianza Atletico and Melgar a good fight (and keep in mind the fact that they were in strike, and also that the matches were played with just 2 days of rest, in opposite places of the country). They have also received payment for a month (still 3 left to be payed), so things are looking slightly better now, and they are focused on avoiding the drop. Sport Boys will miss 2 important pieces, some of their most important players: midfielder Michael Guevara and defender/captain Mario Gomez. So, in order to exploit this key absences, coach Ibarra will prepare an offensive line-up, trying to suffocate Boys from the start (and the altitude should also help them here, as Sport Boys are from port-city Callao). One more statistical thing worth mentioning is that since 2000, Sport Boys have played in Cuzco 19 times, and have never won, barely managing 4 draws, while most of those 15 loses have been quite drastic. Cienciano has the knife near their bones, so it's now or never for them, and it would be a shame to see them relegate. GL!

Cienciano (-0.5 AH) @ 1.74, 3/10
Result: 2-1, WON

Universitario - Inti Gas

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla A

I'm going for the quality and the motivation here. No need to speak about the obvious advantage in quality for Universitario, but it should be worth to analyze the motivational factors. Universitario are 4th in the aggregate table, and are almost sure of their qualification to Copa Sudamericana, but of course they are gunning for more. 6 points is the gap between them and 3rd placed Alianza, but anything could still happen in the last 6 rounds, and the schedule seems to favor Universitario a bit, as they have to play Sporting Cristal and Univ San Martin at home, only the derby against Alianza being a tricky away game, while Alianza have some very difficult travels, at Cristal and Inti Gas. So the season isn't over yet for Universitario. On the other hand, Inti Gas are practically playing just for fun. They are safe from relegation, and with very very slim chances to hope for Sudamericana, as it's hard to believe they will the 11 points that separate them from Juan Aurich.And with their dreadful away form, it's impossible. They only have one win on the road, that dates back to February, and surprisingly, they have won on the very same stadium where they will play tonight, against Universitario. Although the Cremas were in the middle of their Copa Libertadores campaign, and were mixing up their squad a bit, so that should minimize a bit Inti Gas's merits. No important team news (U will make probably some changes, but none of them is forced), so as I said, quality and motivation should prevail. GL!

Universitario (-1 AH) @ 1.70, 4/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Nov 1, 2010

Total Chalaco - Universitario

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla A

Surprised to see odds of over 2.20 on Universitario. Despite both teams having something to fight for, and both expected to show a lot of determination tonight, class difference is huge in Universitario's favor. Chalaco is last in the aggregate table, which leads to a direct relegation, and despite being only 6 points behind the safe zone, I really doubt they'll pull a miracle and save themselves. They are just playing plain poorly, not improving at all, and losing constantly, having lost an impressive 7 matches from the last 10, including a 1-5 trashing at home against San Martin. Universitario is also in a must-win situation, as they renewed their chances for Libertadores this week, after winning against CNI, and they are now just 4 points behind Alianza. Piero Alva returns to the first team (he had a last minute problem before the midweeks game), so that should also boost a bit their offense. One more interesting thing here is that Chalaco have never beaten Universitario, and in 5 visits to the Miguel Grau stadium, the Cremas have won 4 times, adding another 1-1 draw last year. Good odds for this one, but I'll go for a -0.25, which still has good odds, as Chalaco's recent 1-1 draw with Alianza is putting me off a bit. GL!

Universitario (-0.25 AH) @ 2.10, 3/10
Result: 0-0, HALF LOST

Oct 31, 2010

FBC Melgar - Cienciano

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

No matter how I look at this match, I can't see beyond a clear and solid victory for the home side. Cienciano came very close of being the first team relegated yesterday, when the players threatened the chairman with not traveling to Arequipa, which would have resulted in a second walk-over and in direct relegation. But the debts have been played, and the match is finally going to be played. Just that there is one more problem here: chairman Silva wanted the team to travel by bus, and all the players have refused, since they played just 2 days ago in Piura, and Arequipa is on the other side of the country, so even the players are saying that if they travel by bus, they will be trashed. But despite their protest, without any funds for plane transportation, they had to settle for the bus, leaving from Lima yesterday late in the evening. I expect them to attack tonight, as if they lose here, they will most probably relegate anyway, but with the state of fatigue they are having, I can see Melgar putting a few goals past them. Melgar should be in full force, and striker Meza Cuadra is back in the starting line-up. They are on a safe position for the moment, but a win here will see them 11 points clear, and will be as good as sealing their place in the First League for next season. Low odds for the current line, so I'm going to lower the stakes a bit, and go for the over, as I expect at least 3 goals here. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.95, 3/10
Result: 2-1, WON