To kick off your week, we have betting tips from Sweden and Colombia to get stuck into here.
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Alianza Petrolera v Deportivo Pasto
Alianza Petrolera have clicked into gear at the perfect time. Surprise qualifiers for the semi-finals, they were the rank outsiders of all the eight teams to challenge for the final. But here they are, sitting pretty on top of Group A ahead of giants Nacional and Águilas, the pre-stage favourites, having drawn away at the former and picked up a golden point in the high altitude of Pasto, the other team in this group, they are in a strong position to take command of the group heading into the final three fixtures.
It’s an impressive achievement for a team that have one of the smallest wage budgets in the division and just a handful of hardy fans. But manager Hubert Bodhert has long proven that he’s very adept at getting the best out of players at small clubs and over-performing.
With a small squad this season, Bodhert has a spine of veteran players who are in the form of their lives. Goalkeeper José Luis Chunga is one of the top three stoppers in the division and has made 89 saves, more than anyone else. In defence, the classy Pedro Franco, once of Besiktas, has been superb all year, alongside his trusty central partner Luciano Ospina, while Fredy Florez adds bite to the midfield. All of them are 30 or older and this experience is demonstrated in how Alianza manage games.
Yet Bodert has sprinkled the team with youth too. Luis Angulo is one of the breakthrough young talents of the tournament, providing a constant headache down the left wing for rival defenders, and linked with a big move abroad. In short, they are functional, organised and, crucially for this game, know how to win their home games in the boiling heat of home city Barrancabermeja.
Alianza have won all of their last four home games, turning on the style by bagging 12 games in the process. With Pasto woeful on the road and desperately struggling for goals, 1.57 for draw no bet is simply too good to pass up, whilst odds of 2.10 for an Alianza win are extremely appealing if you feel confident that they will get the three points.
Varbergs BoIS v BK Häcken
Varberg have in recent years managed to stay above the relegation zone for the most part, mainly through a tough defence and a fighting spirit allowing them to beat the weaker teams in the division.
Attacking has never been their strength, but until recently they managed to keep themselves out of trouble. Last season they were more porous and escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, and this year things have gone from bad to worse.
They currently possess a dire record of 20 goals conceded in 10 matches, second-worst in the league, combined with only 7 goals scored. Their defence has fallen apart, inviting pressure without being able to stop opponents from penetrating their low block. This is in addition to their lacklustre attack, devoid of any sort of sharpness, as evidenced by their significant xG underperformance. Even if finishing adequately, not much would change, as they are not creating anywhere near enough chances to be able to win matches.
No wins, five draws and five losses, with four of those coming in the last five, makes them the only team in the division still without a win. The squad simply feels too weak in all areas to push on and make any real improvements, meaning this could be their last season in the top tier for a little while.
Häcken have been nearly as impressive as last season, but injuries combined with a fairly thin squad have made things difficult. Four matches in 12 days, with a cup final win followed by a midweek round in Allsvenskan, meant they dropped 4 points, largely due to fatigue. In the Gothenburg derby versus IFK last weekend, however, they were back to their best and dismantled their rivals, scoring 4 goals in the process.
There is an incredible variety and high ceiling in attack, being able to both break down low-sitting defences and counter at pace. Benie Traore continues to impress up top and is rumoured to be of interest to foreign clubs, while Mikkel Rygaard Jensen is a massive driving force from midfield, having 3 goals and 8 assists to his name already.
There is real competition for the title this season as both Elfsborg and Malmö are playing at a very high level, rarely have we seen such an exciting battle at the pinnacle of Swedish football. Häcken will be severely tested during their European qualifying campaign later in the year and will surely need to strengthen in the summer. Until then they should be able to perform adequately, with only two matches until the break.
Varberg’s miserable form and weak team combined with Häcken’s potent attack mean the visitors should put a few past their opponents here.
Trelleborgs v Brage
These are two sides that will be disappointed with their respective starts to the 2023 Superettan season as they both sit firmly in midtable. However, they will come into this one in a much better mood on the back of improved performances and/or results.
Last year, Trelleborg finished fourth in the second-tier, narrowly missing out to Osters in the Allsvenskan/Superettan relegation/promotion playoff place. They would have expected to have another crack at the top end of the table this time around.
The home team come into this on the back of a 1-1 draw in a regional derby with Landskrona in their most recent outing, during the week. That will frustrating for Trelleborg as Landskrona equalised late, finding the net in the 87th minute of the match. However, having begun the season with just one win from their opening six matches, they have enjoyed three successive victories before that draw with Landskrona, so they will be pleased with their recent upturn in form.
Brage are a storied club, spending a lot of time in the top-flight and even qualifying for the UEFA Cup in their history, but they haven’t been in the Allsvenskan since 1993 and have even dropped as low as the fourth tier in that time. Last season, under the management of Kleber Saarenpaa who’s contract is up at the end of 2023, Brage finished firmly in the middle-of-the-table but ended the season badly with three successive defeats.
The visitors continued that poor form into this season with back-to-back defeats to kick off but since those opening weeks, they have adjusted well to a stronger level. The visitors’ come from behind 2-1 win at home to Ostersund in midweek, which featured a 95th minute winner from Kevin Appiah, means they have suffered just two defeats in their last seven matches and both of those losses have come against high-flyers J-Sodra and Utsiktens.
These two sides head into this week’s encounter on the back of some major improvement in their form since the early weeks of April. Given that, both sides will be confident of putting together some cohesive and genuinely threatening moves.
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