Dec 15, 2012

Sportivo Carapegua - Olimpia

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Sportivo Carapegua is the team with the best chances of remaining in the league, as they depend only on themselves. Even though they are currently sitting on the last place in the league, with a win they will leapfrog both Tacuary and Independiente, as they have been playing in the first division for only one year, therefore their average can increase a lot with a win. And a win is their only chance here, as a draw or a loss will condemn them to relegate, once again without having to look at the others' results. Squad-wise, Olimpia is taking this match seriously, as they will be using pretty much their best squad, with only 2 changes. But the big question mark is their motivation. They don't have any chances to win the title, and they are looking good as the best classified non-champion team in the general standings (5 points ahead of Nacional, meaning that they can only lose the Libertadores place is Nacional or Guarani become champions - meaning that Libertad has to lose at home against Luqueno... either way, there is nothing that Olimpia can do about it). Carapegua is a poor team, there's no denying that, but they need this win badly, and recently, Olimpia has been almost just as poor. And this nice increase in odds gives us a good bet here. GL!

Carapegua (+0.25 AH) @ 2.01, 4/10
Result: 4-1, WON

Cerro Porteno - Tacuary

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

I know the odds dropped a lot for this game, but I still think it's worth a shot. Tacuary is in a very uncomfortable position here, despite being above the relegation line. The thing is that even if they win, they can still relegate is Independiente and Carapegua also win, since they'll have a better average number of points. So they really need a miracle. But if we look at Cerro Porteno, they look like they're throwing the match away. Most of the first team players have already been allowed to go on vacation, and for today's match they will use some less used reserves, and some players from the youth team. That doesn't change the fact that Tacuary is a poor team, but it does show a big lack of interest from Cerro's side. The most that Tacuary can do today is to win and wait, and they should be able to do it. Even if they relegate, at least they'll be able to do it with their heads held high (and if they lose by a minimum, we'll get half of the stake back). And the thing that convinced me to go on this bet even at these odds, is Tacuary's recent form, as they have lost just 3 of their last 10 games, and this record includes a couple of 2-2 draws as visitors at Libertad and Olimpia, plus a 2-0 win with title hopefuls Guarani. GL!

Tacuary (+0.75 AH) @ 1.70, 4/10
Result: 5-1, LOST

Dec 12, 2012

Al Ahly - Corinthians

FIFA Club World Cup 2012, Semi-final

Copa Libertadores winners, Corinthians, are entering the competition in the semi-finals, and will play against African champions Al Ahly. From what I've seen so far, the Egyptians are rather poor, especially in defense. They were completely outrun by Hiroshima, several time, as the Japanese had at least 5-6 clear scoring chances, either alone with the keeper or alone with the empty net. And they missed all of them, so only their lack of efficiency allowed Al Ahly to progress. And in addition to a terrible defense, they didn't show much in offense either (although attack was not their objective). They played on counters, and they had a lot of success doing it, scoring 2 goals from 2 chances. Against Corinthians, we should see something else. The Brazilians are much more solid at the back, so I don't think they will be so easy to beat. And in attack, they have a lot quality, with top class players like Paolo Guerrero, and a very solid and well built team. And against a team that showed so many defensive holes, I think they should score at least a couple of goals. Odds dropped a lot since the market opened, but it's still worth taking this bet. GL!

Corinthians (-1 AH) @ 1.71, 5/10
Result: 0-1, VOID

Dec 10, 2012

Guarani - Sportivo Carapegua

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Do or die game for both teams, but with totally different objectives. Guarani needs a win badly in order to keep their title dream alive. A win tonight would bring them just one point behind leaders Libertad, with just one round remaining, and I'm sure they want to take the battle all the way to the wire, since they squandered a good lead with a string of poor performances. But it looks like they snapped out of that poor run of form, with 7 points from the last available 9, and since they are still the best home team (8 wins from 10 games) I can expect them to try and capitalize on that. Meanwhile, Carapegua are haunted by relegation, and even though right now they are safe, if they lose tonight they will go to a relegation-spot (they have an average of 1.00, which will of course drop if their number of points remains the same after tonight's match). However, no matter how much they wish to win, the difference in quality should be too much for them. They've lost 6 games on the road, from 10 played (last 5 lost consecutively), and after last week's home defeat 0-4 against Tacuary, I really doubt their morale is too high. Guarani still has something to play for, and the odds are just too high here, as I was expecting something closer to 1.40-1.45. GL!

Guarani (-0.75 AH) @ 1.75, 3/10
Result: 2-1, HALF-WON

Dec 9, 2012

Ulsan - Monterrey

FIFA Club World Cup 2012, Quarter-finals

I really think we should be seeing some goals here. Both teams are usually offensive-minded and with rather shaky defenses, and this competition is usually pretty high-scoring. Let's start with Ulsan, Asian Champions League winners, with an undefeated run in the competition and with 27 goals scored in 12 matches. In the local league they have finished on 5th place, but even there, the majority of their matches ended with a minimum of 3 goals, having scored 60 games in 44 games, while also conceding 52. They might not have too many foreigners in the team, or too many star-players for that matter, but they have a solid squad, that works very well together. On the other side, we have a Monterrey side who won last seasons CONCACAF Champions League, and are on route to defend their trophy, winning all matches in their group. They do like to play offensive football, and they are usually keen on sending the ball forward. And they do have some classy players in their squad: striker Humberto Suazo (Chilean international), forward Cesar Delgado (ex-Lyon), midfielder Neri Cardozo, defender and captain Jose Maria Basanta, Ecuadorian defender Walter Ayovi and forward Aldo de Nigris. They have a lot of skilled players in their team, but it will be hard against a team as Ulsan. The winner might be tough to pick, but the goals should flow. GL!

over 2 goals @ 1.71, 5/10
Result: 1-3, WON