Mar 3, 2012

Sol de America - Libertad

Paraguay Primera Division, Apertura

Same principle here as last week, in Sol's match against Nacional. The thing is, although they lost that match, they didn't play that well, and there were some emotions before the 2-0 and after the 2-1. Sol showed that they aren't a defensive team, and they like to come out and play. And that should also suit Libertad, who have the tendency to do better against teams that leave some spaces behind, instead of closing in defense. Libertad are one of the best teams in Paraguay, and their record in 2012 definitely proves that, as they have lost only one match (at high altitude, in Ecuador), otherwise winning 5 and drawing another 2. Those two draws have been their latest results, one of them after leading Guarani by 2-0, so a win is a must today. Especially since this is their last 'easy' game, before a death-run against Olimpia, Cerro Porteno and a double-meeting with Vasco da Gama for Libertadores. History is also on their side, as Libertad have won their last 10 consecutive matches played at Sol, not losing since 2003 (although Sol left the Primera Division between 2004-2007). There are some fitness gambles over the players that were called-up to the national team, but I doubt the starting 11 will change too much from their usual line-up. GL!

Libertad (-0.25 AH) @ 1.80, 3/10
Result: 0-3, WON

Guarani - Tacuary

Paraguay Primera Division, Apertura

This bet has pretty much the same reasoning as the one from last week, for Nacional and Sol de America. Guarani come into this match with just 4 points gathered in 4 matches, and that may seem a bit poor, until we look at who their opponents were, and how the matches went. First there was a 3-1 win over Independiente (red card for the losers, but the win was deserved anyway), but after that a bad run of form appeared. However, it was against some of the better teams of the league: 1-2 loss at an always complicated Rubio Nu (Guarani played in 10 men for about 20 minutes), 1-3 home loss against Nacional (one of the best teams in the league, and Guarani also had their keeper sent off after 20 minutes, with the score being 1-0) and a creditable 2-2 draw away at Libertad. For today, goalkeeper Aurrecochea will be absent, still being suspended, but I don't rate that as very important, as I doubt Tacuary will reach the opposition's goal too often. Speaking of Tacuary, they have a very young squad, lost a lot of important players during the summer break, and also have a very young and inexperienced coach (only 24 years old, the son of the president). And the results are far from great, being still without a win after 4 rounds, and their only good moment came in a home draw with Libertad. Otherwise, they have a home loss with Rubio, defeated at Nacional, and only a 0-0 home draw with poor Luqueno. Guarani might be an unstable team, but they are coming into this match on a higher note, and with quality and experience also on their side, they should win this match. GL!

Guarani (-0.5 AH) @ 1.90, 3/10
Result: 4-0, WON

Mar 1, 2012

Paraguay - Panama

International Friendly

Besides the obvious quality difference between a South American team and a Central American team, Panama also has some serious squad problems, with lots of their players being either injured, either lacking in match practice. That is why a lot of their veterans (defenders Felipe Baloy - Santos Laguna, Luiz Henriques - Lech, Roman Torres - Atletico Nacional; midfielders Gabriel Gomez - Philadelphia, Amilcar Henriquez - Huila; and forwards Blas Perez - Dallas and Luis Tejada - Juan Aurich) haven't even been called-up for this match, leaving them to take on Paraguay with a rather inexperienced squad, with only 6 players that have at least 10 caps, while 9 of them have a maximum of 3. And their defense looks the weakest, as only Erick Davis (Fenix) is playing abroad. Paraguay may also have some missings, but their team still looks very good, as we can see players like Paulo da Silva (Zaragoza), Alcaraz (Wigan), Haedo Valdez (Rubin) and Barrios (Borussia). Last match, less than half an year ago, Paraguay managed to comfortably win 2-0 in Panama, so now, with so many absences for Los Canaleros, I expect the difference to go even higher. GL!

Paraguay (-1.5 AH) @ 1.81, 2/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Feb 29, 2012

Romania - Uruguay

International Friendly

There is always room for failures in friendly matches, but for Uruguay this should be something more. The main reason for that is that with a win today, the South Americans will equalize their undefeated run of 14 matches, and would have a chance to beat that record, thus cementing their place as one of the top teams, after their good performance in the World Cup and their triumph in Copa America. And they won't take any middle-road today, as all their main weapons are set to start the game, with an offensive trio formed by Forlan, Suarez and Cavani... the best they have. Romania will also try to take this match seriously, but they lack quality. Coach Piturca went for a lot of youth in the squad, and besides the fact that many of the players haven't confirmed at the top level, there is also some lack of international experience in the squad. Defense should be the key word for Romania today, with hopes of some lucky counter-attacks. However, the Europeans aren't in their best moment, and with the class difference clearly in Uruguay's favor, they shouldn't lose this game. GL!

Uruguay (-0.25 AH) @ 1.87, 2/10
Result: 1-1, HALF-LOST

Feb 27, 2012

Barcelona - LDU Loja

Ecuador Serie A, Primera Etapa

First thought here was to take the -1 handicap, but the odds are a bit on the low side, and I'm pretty sure they will drop and the line will change to -1.25, and I don't like that too much. So I'm choosing the over instead, as it has better odds, and pretty much the same chances of happening. As I probably mentioned previously, Barcelona has a very good team, capable of challenging for the title, and I'm quite sure of their finish on the podium. Despite losing 2 points last round, they still looked good, dominating the entire match, having possession, chances to score and putting a lot of pressure on Tecnico, despite drawing 1-1. So now they should try and recover those points, and when they play at home it's another story. First round they won 3-1 with Cuenca, so I'm expecting a similar performance against Loja. LDU Loja started poorly, with 1 point in 2 matches and without a single goal scored, so they need to come out more today. Franklin Salas and Fabio Renato are decent strikers, and they can do some damage if given space. So, for this bet we only need one early goal, regardless if it will end 3-0 or 2-1 (both scenarios are equally possible). GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.97, 3/10
Result: 0-0, LOST