Apr 5, 2013

The Strongest - Sao Paulo

Copa Libertadores 2013, Group Stage

In this group, Atletico MG has sealed their qualification, with 4 consecutive wins, leaving them with 12 points at the top of the group, 8 points more than their followers with two rounds remaining. But everything remains wide open when it comes to second place, as all 3 teams (Sao Paulo, Arsenal and The Strongest) are separated by just one points. So for sure, all teams will do their best to get as many points as possible. The Bolivians have the high altitude to their advantage, but that's pretty much it. They don't have star players, they don't have a strong team... but the altitude alone is enough to put serious problems to even the best teams. However, there is always a way around that, as we've seen in the last round, when they were defeated at home 1-2 by Atletico MG. And this time, their opponents will be Sao Paulo, who desperately needs the win. They have the players they need to achieve such a results (Luis Fabiano, Jadson, Ganso, etc), and they should also have the motivation. With The Strongest also having a good shot at qualification, I'm expecting a pretty nice match, with plenty of goals, as is usually the case at high altitude. And even if we look at Sao Paulo's record alone, the results seem encouraging: they lost 3-4 this year against Bolivar, while in their previous matches against The Strongest in Bolivia, they won 4-1 in 2003, and drew 3-3 in 2005. All of the The Strongest's matches so far have ended with 3 goals, so I think we're going for a sure thing here. GL!

over 2.75 goals @ 2.05, 5/10
Result: 2-1, HALF-WON

Apr 3, 2013

Santa Fe - Cerro Porteno

Copa Libertadores 2013, Group Stage

Everything seems to be against Cerro Porteno in this match. They are passing through their worst footballing moment in recent years, as they are rock bottom in both the local league, as well as in Copa Libertadores, and with 0 points in their group, following 3 straight defeats, they have minimal chances to qualify (close to 0 actually). Playing as visitors won't help them either, as Bogota is situated at 2600 meters above sea level, and that is quite a lot for a team not used to playing at such high altitudes. And to top it all, Cerro also have some squad/internal problems. winger Bonet is injured, while two other players have been left out of the trip by the manager's decision: playmaker Fabbro (4/2) and striker Nanni (who, as much as I hate, is still an important piece in the squad). Meanwhile, Santa Fe is flying high, as they are undefeated in the last 10 games in all competitions, and they have the qualification at stake, as Tolima will have a tough match in Cusco against Garcilaso, so a win against Cerro Porteno, corroborated with a failure of Tolima, would assure their qualifciation for around 90%. They are strong enough to see of this challenge, and even though the odds are rather low, I'll take the bet as I don't see Santa Fe failing. GL!

Santa Fe (-1 AH) @ 1.73, 4/10
Result: 1-0, VOID

Apr 1, 2013

Universitario - Leon de Huanuco

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Tough start for both teams this season, and it's strange to see them so low in the table (although we should have gotten used to that from last season). Both teams have lost 2 games so far, out of 6 played, but they also appear to be having difficulties in winning. Leon only managed to win 2-0 against newly promoted Cajamarca, while drawing at home against Melgar and at the other newly promoted team, Pacifico. They have also shown a huge inability to score goals, with just 3 goals in 6 games (although, to their credit, the defense is working quite all right, having conceded just 4). Universitario aren't doing much better either, but they have at least managed to win 2 games, against Juan Aurich and Cesar Vallejo (both being better ranked than Leon). We can see the same offensive inefficiency for Universitario, as they score 5 goals so far, but they are hopeful that it will end now, with the debut of fast-paced striker Raul Ruidiaz (he returns to his first club, after an awesome 2011 season, and after a good spell with U de Chile). He is expected to start today, along side Miguel Ximenez in attack (Ximenez has an awesome record in Peru, having scored 47 goals in 95 matches for Sporting Cristal, and 20 goals in 37 games for Universitario - since 2012). With this move, I think that Universitario will definitely improve, as they will have a fearsome offense, and they should have a bit more in themselves than Leon. GL!

Universitario (-0.5 AH) @ 2.00, 3/10
Result: 4-0, WON