Aug 4, 2011

Olimpia Asuncion - The Strongest

Copa Sudamericana 2011

Olimpia missed the Apertura title in the last few rounds, so now it's 'reset' and start over for them. They were protagonists in the most entertaining match in the first round of Clausura, as they came from behind 2 times to beat Guarani 4-3. Their offensive play was a joy to watch, but they still have a lot of work to do in the defensive section. However, their defensive issues shouldn't be a problem tonight, as I don't really see the Bolivians going for goals. They will probably try to keep it tight at the back, and then decide the match in the second leg, in the high altitude of La Paz. Forward Biancucchi will be absent for Olimpia, due to an injury, but he should be properly replaced by Caballero, who will be making the offense along the awesome Pablo Zeballos, top scorer of the Paraguayan league. The Strongest are poor travelers, both in the league, and especially outside their country (last month lost 0-7 a friendly against Cienciano, but without much info about that match, I don't know how much that should count). They are also lacking in International experience, as this is their first continental appearance since 2006, while Olimpia are regulars in South American tournaments. Quality and form are with Olimpia, and without an altitude advantage, it will be hard for The Strongest to keep the score low. GL!

Olimpia (-1.25 AH) @ 1.95, 5/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Tempete FC - Monarcas Morelia

CONCACAF Champions League

Morelia have resolved the qualification problem since last week, with a 5-0 trashing of the Haitians, so now it will be just a formality. The coach already said he will use an alternative squad (meaning that none of the players that performed in the first 3 matches will be on the pitch today), as there is no use in risking an injury or suspension in what should be a comfortable match. But even so, the difference in quality between the Mexican reserves and the Haitian regulars should still be sky high, and Morelia can still win by a couple of goals. I wouldn't have even looked at this game under this circumstances, and at this price/line if Morelia was playing away from home, but here is the interesting thing: this match will be played on Estadio Morelo, Monarcas's home stadium, where they recorded the 5-0 last week. This measure comes as Tempete's stadium still hasn't been fully reconstructed following the 2010 Haitian eartquake, so CONCACAF has allowed them to play as hosts on Morelia's stadium. I'll lower the stakes for this match, as after a 5-0 in the first leg, the Mexican players can even sleep on the pitch and still qualify, but if they play at least at 50% of their capacity, they should still win it comfortably. GL!

Monarcas (-2.25 AH) @ 1.67, 4/10
Result: 0-2, HALF LOST

Deportivo Quito - Deportivo Anzoategui

Copa Sudamericana 2011

Copa Sudamericana 2011 has just started, and if in the first day there were no winners, I'm sure that is bound to change today. Deportivo Quito will be opening today's round, as they will be looking to continue their great recent run of form. They have played in the first 3 rounds of the Ecuadorian championship, and they have been looking like a very solid team, and should be front-runners in this Second Stage. And the style of their wins has also been very impressive, as they have a goal difference of 8-0, without the help of their veteran goalkeeper Marcelo Elizaga, who will also miss today's game. But, everyone else should be up for the job, including striker Bevacqua, who is the league's top scorer. Venezuelan football isn't great, despite an extraordinary performance of the national team in Copa America, but there's a clear difference between national team level and club level. Venezuelan clubs are among the poorest on the continent, and I expect Anzoategui to struggle tonight. They should minimize the effects of the altitude, as they trained a lot on higher ground for this match, but they will also miss Vizcarrondo (played in Copa America), as he wasn't included on the list.Anzoategui are poor travelers usually, and against a team with power and good form, they should be struggling. GL!

Deportivo Quito (-1 AH) @ 1.76, 4/10
Result: 1-0, VOID