Nacional v Patriotas
Nacional are starting to pick up form in the Colombian Primera A. With the squad they have they should be one of the key title challengers, fresh from winning the apertura champions three months ago. New manager Pedro Sarmiento, known for being ultra-defensive, has so far kept two clean sheets and boasts about them more than the six points he’s already put on the board. While victories against Jaguares and crisis-ridden Cali won’t set the world alight, it’s steady progress after the club lost their way a little under their previous manager. Sarmiento is again in luck this weekend when Patriotas come to town. Patriotas are a strange team. All year they have looked doomed to relegation and, in the pre-season break, didn’t really strengthen their squad, perhaps resigned to the inevitable. Yet they play some good football and their recent xG numbers suggest they have been awfully unlucky.
In four out of their last six games, they have clocked up a higher xG than their opponents. They are clearly creating good chances, yet it’s not really luck, but a lack of quality in the final third that is costing them. Only Cristian Barrios and Darwin Lopez have scored more than three goals all season, and so for all their nice play they always come unstuck, especially considering their porous defence. Expect the misery to continue here.
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