Sep 27, 2012

LDU Loja - Sao Paulo

Copa Sudamericana 2012

Once again, I'm going against Loja, as their fairytale-like run will definitely not last forever. They have reached this stage after beating a very poor Monagas, thus gaining confidence, and after that they pulled off a big surprise by knocking out Nacional of Montevideo, with a 2-1 win in Uruguay. However, things might have gone a lot worse for them, as Nacional could have tied the match in the last minutes, and since Loja lost the first leg in Ecuador, they would have been out. But luck was on their side, and they managed to qualify. But can they pull off another surprise against Brazilian giants Sao Paulo? The altitude from their home city might be an advantage, but if we think about the fact that they lost at home against Nacional (a team that has no experience playing at high altitude), that doesn't seem so important. The thing is that Sao Paulo has a much better team than both Loja and Nacional, and if they have their minds set to it, they should be able to win this match. They will be without striker Luis Fabiano and without their new star Paulo Henrique Ganso, but they still have enough quality in their ranks with William, Jadson, Denilson or Rogerio Ceni. GL!

Sao Paulo (-0.25 AH) @ 2.03, 4/10
Result: 1-1, HALF-LOST

W Connection - Chivas

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Chivas are still in a result crisis, but I think we can say that lately they've had an improvement in their game. They are now undefeated for the last 4 games, including a rebound in the Champions League (4-0 against W Connection), a local win against Club Leon, and a match against Pumas in which they were the better side, and have also missed a penalty in the 93rd minute. But nothing will matter unless they get a win today as well, as only 3 points can get them back in the qualification race (they are currently 4 points behind group leaders Xelaju). Apparently, the entire squad made the trip to Trinidad & Tobago, and since this is a crucial game for them, I'm expecting a solid squad to start. There's no questioning about the clear quality difference between these two teams' players, so Chivas are rightfully favorites. It is only to see if they can continue their good recent run and win all the points. Connection are simply a poor team, already lost 0-4 to Chivas and took just 1 point in two matches against Xelaju, conceding 5 goals (although they did score 4 themselves). Chivas should win it, they simply have to, and everything is in their favor. GL!

Chivas (-0.75 AH) @ 1.70, 4/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Santos - U de Chile

Recopa Sudamericana 2012

In the first leg, I went for goals, as I was expecting a committed performance from both teams. And I was so wrong... Santos did play well, and had several good chances to score, including a missed penalty in the first half. But the goal never came, thus the match ending 0-0. What we can take from that match is that Santos played much better, as visitors, and U de Chile showed little of the football that charmed us in the last 2 seasons. So I won't be getting my hopes up today. It is very difficult to play in Brazil, and Santos is a top class team. With all the regular and star players ready to go, I'm expecting a very good line-up for the Brazilians, as they should dominate the game. It won't be very easy, I admit that, so don't expect a trashing, but the victory should come eventually. U de Chile should still have a good offense, so it won't be a surprise if they score, but their defensive line has shown a lot of inconsistency lately: in their last 10 games in all competitions, they have only managed to win 3, all of them in the local league. And in those last 10 matches, they have indeed managed to score 17 goals, but they have also conceded 16. Even so, I won't be taking the over again, as I'm expecting Santos's force to overpower the Chileans. GL!

Santos (-0.5 AH) @ 1.79, 4/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Sep 25, 2012

Guarani - Sol de America

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Guarani left Copa Sudamericana last week, which means they should be able to focus solely on the championship from now on, where they are doing a great job so far. They are league leaders for the moment, with 6 games won from 8 played, plus a draw, and with a win today, they can increase their lead at the top of the table, as neither Cerro Porteno nor Olimpia managed to win yesterday. And we can't say their top position is a lucky break due to an easy schedule, as they have played all the giants in the league: they won against Cerro Porteno, Nacional and Olimpia, all of them away from home, and also drew with Libertad also as visitors. That must definitely mean they are up to serious business. For today, all the players are in the squad, and I don't see any reason why they won't field the best possible line-up. Meanwhile, after a very good Apertura season (finished 4th), Sol have apparently lost the spark, as they have only managed 2 wins in 8 matches played in Clausura. They did manage to beat Cerro Porteno away, but when you fail to win at home against teams like Rubio Nu, Sportivo Luqueno or Independiente, there must definitely be something wrong. Sol won't make a repeat of their last tournament's performance, and I really expect them to lose today. Nice odds, as the fair ones should have been around 1.50 for the home win. GL!

Guarani (-0.5 AH) @ 1.84, 4/10
Result: 3-2, WON

Sep 24, 2012

LDU Loja - Deportivo Cuenca

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Despite their lowly stature, LDU Loja is doing a great campaign in Copa Sudamericana, and their recent victory in Uruguay, against Nacional, saw them qualify to the main draw. And with this, they have also found a renewed confidence that they can go far in the competition, that is why the priority will be the continental cup, not the league. Therefore, today, coach Velez will be resting a lot of regulars, as the team returned from Uruguay only on Thursday, and with the match against Sao Paulo coming up, he wants to have all players fit. The line-up is not yet confirmed, but we can expect around 7 regulars to miss this match. This certainly won't help their case, as they couldn't find some for in the league anyway, and have only 2 wins in the last 10 games. Cuenca isn't much better either, just one point more in the standings, but here they should be favorites. I'm expecting a tight match here, as Cuenca usually keeps the result close, but without many of their key players, I don't see Loja winning this one. GL!

Cuenca (+0.5 AH) @ 1.76, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Sep 23, 2012

Progreso - Defensor Sporting

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Two of the early leaders will be facing each other tonight, in what promises to be quite an exciting match. Progreso is the surprise package of the Apertura, so far, as the newly promoted are one of the leaders after the first 3 rounds, taking 7 points and scoring 8 goals. And I don't think we should put too much of their performance on luck, as all the points have been won as visitors, against not very comfortable teams. So it's easy to understand why their hopes are set high in this high-profile clash. But despite their great start, I'm not getting my hopes up for this team, as the results won't stay like this for too long, and their enthusiasm might go out. And today might be the turning point for them, as they face one of the giants: Defensor Sporting. The violets are always running at the front of the league, always looking to challenge for the title, and have a very good squad with which they can do that. They are also in good form, also with 7 points (including a draw with Nacional), so expect them to take this match seriously. Defensor have a much more solid team, with more quality and more confidence, so they should win this match. A nice increase of the odds makes this bet even better to take. GL!

Defensor (-0.25 AH) @ 1.94, 4/10
Result: 1-4, WON