Sante Fe v Patriotas
At long last there’s a whiff of stability about Santa Fe. It’s been a tumultuous last few years for the Bogotá side who have recklessly chopped and changed manager, while ploughing through endless players and processes with swift abandon. But finally, it seems like Santa Fe are finding their feet. This isn’t the all-conquering team that used to challenge for Colombian league titles and international honours just a few years ago. But there’s been a return to the process that, at least, has helped shaped a style of paly. Santa Fe remain unbeaten at home this season and their sixth position is a marked improvement on recent history.
After an encouraging start to the clausura that offered hope that they could pull off a great escape, Patriotas are now starting to flutter dangerously close to the relegation zone once again. It’s a real shame because manager José ‘Cheche’ Hernández, who took over at the start of July, had them playing like a transformed side. But Hernádez had to take a step away from football after suffering serious health problems which left him facing surgery and a lengthy stint in hospital. It’s the last thing Patriotas needed. Last week’s home defeat to Rionegro was their worst performance of the season. With such a small squad and now without their hugely experienced coach for the foreseeable future, an away trip to Santa Fe is a tough ask for a side that have gone six games without a win on their travels. Expect Santa Fe to push them into even bigger trouble.
Junior v Tolima
Like Jekyll and Hyde, Junior’s season jolts from joy to a whimper and back again. At home, the team are a machine, ruthlessly steamrolling sides into submission. Yet away from home they look a completely different side. After romping to a 4-2 home win against DIM 10 days ago, Junior flopped to defeat against a mediocre América de Cali side. This isn’t really anything new. Junior have always prospered in their sweaty Caribbean home and found it difficult on their travels, particularly when playing at altitude. But with the riches that their current squad boasts, easily the deepest and most expensive in the division, they should be doing better.
Tolima continue to struggle. Juan David Ríos’s loss to injury a few weeks ago has hit the team very hard. He’s the one who knits their play, that provides structure to their game. He’s no nearer to returning and yet he’s not the only one absent. All season Tolima have suffered injury after injury. Up front their three main strikers are out for this game after Michael Rangel, Juan Fernando Caicedo and Andrés Escobar are all suffering with injury. Again Luis Miranda, more of a winger, will have to stand in. All in all, around ten players are on the injury list with both bad luck and Tolima’s long and heavy season contributing to manager Hernan Torres’ endless headache. It all provides good reason to avoid Tolima and lump on Junior at the tasty price of 2.00.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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