Sep 7, 2013

Paraguay - Bolivia

World Cup 2014, CONMEBOL Qualifiers

Both teams have prett much minimal chances of qualifying for the next round, and this can be seen in the squads that have been called-up for the match, as both coaches are trying to bring at the front the new generation of football players. Bolivia are 6 points behind the play-off position, but they also have one extra-match played, so their chances are practically zero. That's why they chose to call a lot of young and inexperienced players. There are just a few players with a nice national record (just 10 players with at least 10 caps), and we can even see 5 players with 0 international caps. Meanwhile, Paraguay are surprisingly last in the standings, 2 points behind Bolivia (but with a game in hand), and 8 points behind the place that gives them a play-off chance. They have also given up on their chances, and if we look at their squad, we can see a lot of big names being absent (Justo Villar - 101 caps, Alcaraz - 24, Dario Veron - 51, Victor Caceres - 52, Julio dos Santos - 33, Oscar Cardozo - 47 or Haedo Valdez - 66). They also have 6 debutantes in their squad. However, overall, they still have the quality advantage here, as they have several players based outside of Paraguay, and most of the other players are based on the front-runners Olimpia, Libertad and Cerro Porteno. This comes in contrast with the Bolivian squad, that only features 5 players based in foreign leagues, so the quality advantage should be clear on the hosts here. GL!

Paraguay (-1.25 AH) @ 1.97, 4/10
Result: 4-0, WON

Colombia - Ecuador

World Cup 2014, CONMEBOL Qualifiers

Despite the fact that there are 4 rounds remaining, Colombia and Ecuador are all but qualified, as they are 7 and 5 points above 6th place Venezuela, and both have a game in hand. Of course, surprises are bound to happen, but I doubt any of the bottom half teams have enough strength to recover such a deficit. With a win here, Colombia could actually tie Argentina on points for the first spot, giving them a good shot at winning the entire group. And they certainly have what it takes, as they are in great form, especially when playing on their home ground. After the initial hick-ups with Venezuela (1-1) and Argentina (1-2), the Colombians went on to have 4 straight wins at home, covering the handicap in all of them (including a 4-0 trashing of Uruguay). Full squad for them, without any important absences, so everything is set for another win, against one of the poorest travelers on the continent. Yes, despite their impressive results, Ecuador haven't managed to win a single game outside their country, and after 5 games on the road, they only have 2 points, one more than the bottom Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay. Don't really see how that could change, as Colombia have proved to be one of the toughest opponents in this qualifiers, and even though Ecuador is at full strength, they should be falling short in yet another trip. GL!

Colombia (-1 AH) @ 1.86, 4/10
Result: 1-0, VOID

Sep 2, 2013

Real Garcilaso - Alianza Lima

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla A

There is definitely some value here, as the odds are suggesting that Garcilaso is playing against one of the bottom teams. But they're not, and even though Alianza is a long way behind the leaders (they are 4th in the liguilla, 11 points behind), they are still one of the big teams, and one of the in-form teams. In recent matches, their main strength came from their home matches, as they were constantly beaten on the road by the likes of Inti Gas, Cienciano or San Martin. And the fact that this match will be played at altitude shouldn't make things any easier for them. However, I expect some extra-motivation today from the players, and another thing that keeps me hoping is the previous match between the two teams, back in June, when Alianza held for a 0-0 draw. Garcilaso have an 8-points advantage, so they should be quite safe for the next couple of weeks, but we do have to note a slight glimpse in their play (last week they dug hard to beat San Martin by the minimum). They are still undefeated at home, and it will be very hard for anybody to take that away from them, but Alianza looks like a team that can withstand them, and should be able to snatch a draw. The line is way too big, in my opinion, so my bet goes on Alianza. GL!

Alianza (+1 AH) @ 2.06, 3/10
Result: 2-2, WON

Sep 1, 2013

Universitario - Cienciano

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

The Liguillas are set and scheduled to start, and Universitario already announced themselves as main contenders for the Liguilla B and for the final. Their group is relatively easy, without the rest of the main contenders (Garcilaso, Cristal and Alianza), and they also have a 6-points advantage over second placed Cajamarca, so normally they shouldn't sweat for the final and should just power through the rest of their matches. First stop would be with Cienciano, a team generally known for their home-ground prowess, as their performances on the road leave much to be desired. They lost more than half of their away games (8 out of 15), and have a negative goal-scoring record of 13-29. Their last matches also leave a lot to be desired, as they drew with Pacifico and lost at Leon, Juan Aurich and San Martin, the only white point being the draw they snatched at Garcilaso. Meanwhile, Universtario are really on fire, as they have 4 straight victories, including a 5-1 trashing of Jose Galvez and a 3-0 beat-down with title hopefuls Cristal. They will be missing their top scorer today, Raul Ruidiaz (13 goals in 28 games), but he should be well covered by Diego Gustavino, who scored 7 goals in 18 matches that he started as a regular (plus 8 more as a substitute). Cienciano shouldn't pose too many problems, they are quite safe from relegation, so I expect Universitario to keep up their good run of form. GL!

Universitario (-1 AH) @ 1.83, 3/10
Result: 1-1, LOST