Oct 25, 2012

UANL Tigres - Alajuelense

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Last round in the group stage, and things are a bit complicated in Group 6. Current leaders Alajuelense will travel to Mexico to face Tigres, and they will need at least a draw in order to ensure qualification from this group. However, the same Tigres are their main followers, and for sure they will be going all in to ensure they get the 3 points. The Costa Ricans aren't a bad side at all (actually they are one of the strongest non-Mexican teams in the continent), but their main advantages are at home, or against the lower ranked team. They usually struggle in their visits to Mexico, and I expect the same scenario today. Tigres will probably use the best available team, since anything else than a win will send them out of the competition. The only absences will be Lucas Lobos (long time injury, 29/16), and midfielder Abraham Stringel (1/0). Everyone else is ready to go, and they should start from the first minute. The handicap line is a bit high, but I totally trust Tigres to cover it. GL!

Tigres (-1.5 AH) @ 1.90, 3/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Oct 24, 2012

Millonarios - Palmeiras

Copa Sudamericana 2012

Second leg of Copa Sudamericana eight-finals will take place this week, and there should be some very interesting matches. First stop will be in Colombia, where Millonarios will try to take revenge on Palmeiras for the 1-3 loss in the first leg. I did mention some squad problems for the Brazilians in the first leg, and pretty much nothing has changed since then. They are still deeply involved in the relegation battle, and with a lot of tired players, they will again have to rest several pairs of legs. For example, it is almost certain that striker Barcos (23/11), defender Mauricio Ramos (20/0) and midfielder Marcos Assuncao (15/2) won't take part in this match, as they didn't make the trip to Colombia. Furthermore, midfielders Joao Vitor (17/0) and Jorge Valdivia (14/0) are still injured, same as forward Maikon Leite (5/1). Others might be rested as well. Millonarios have rested their regulars on Sunday, so they should have all the players fit to play. The high altitude from Bogota (2600 meters above sea level) should also give them a big advantage, and I expect to see a much more different match from the first leg. If they play well, Millonarios might even qualify to the next round, but it will be tough... however, a home win should come in much easier. Small stakes, because odds already dropped a lot. GL!

Millonarios (-0.5 AH) @ 1.73, 4/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Oct 22, 2012

Barcelona - Deportivo Cuenca

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

A lot of important absences for Barcelona for this match,as they have really hit a bad run when it come to available players. Here's the list: defenders Jairo Campos (12/0), Oyola (8/0), Fricson Erazo (11/0) and Revoredo (2/1) are all injured (that makes 2 key defender, and their two main replacements). Besides this, midfielders Michael Quinonez (4/0), Carlos Gruezo (9/0) and Luis Caicedo (6/2) are all suspended, that's why coach Costas would pretty much have to rethink his entire team. And this catches them in quite a poor moment. Despite the international break, Barcelona have only won 2 games in the last 6 (one of them has been away at Cuenca,won 2-1, but I think today's match will be much different). Cuenca is a bit on the rise, as they won 2 out of their last 3 games, and have pretty much their full squad available. They still don't have a coach, as Pablo Bravo will still be interim, but with this line available, I don't see how we can lose. It will be a very difficult match for both teams, but I personally expect a low scoring match, with a void in the worst case scenario. GL!

Cuenca (+1 AH) @ 1.81, 4/10
Result: 4-1, LOST