Once Caldas v Jaguares
If there’s a game to avoid this weekend in world football, this game must be up there. Jaguares are on a ten-game winless run and have scored just once in their last five games. With six games left of the main stage of the Colombian Primera A, they are already eliminated. Despite riding much higher in the league, Once Caldas don’t score very often either. They still have a lot to play for yet in their last four games, but they’re averaging less than a goal a game. Don’t tune in and expect this to be a classic.
Once should start as big favourites, of course. But their profligacy up front is a huge concern. Last time out they bossed Bucaramanga away from home, restricting them to just one shot on target all game (xG of 0.18) but had to be content with a 0-0 draw. It’s a familiar story. Against Jaguares, who are notoriously bad on the road and likely to be still without their injured main striker Pablo Rojas, the question is whether Once, by hook or by crook, can break down the away team’s low block. Thus, the banker here must surely be under 2.5 goals, but take a look at both Once & under 2.5 goals at 3.25 too.
Junior v Deportivo Cali
These are worrying times for Deportivo Cali. Both on and off the pitch the club are in an absolute mess. Strangled by debts of around $20 million, the club are desperately fighting to stay afloat. Until an ex-player was sold recently to net the club a couple of millions dollars, Cali were just weeks away from going out of business. These worries have spilled over into the changing room. Until two weeks ago, an ex-idol, Mayer Candelo had been drafted in as manager, but he was sacked after fans invaded the pitch and violently confronted him. He believes the scary confrontation was orchestrated by a rival faction of the club’s board who are trying to force the president from power. Candelo had also already had big disagreements with the team’s star player Teo Gutierrez, who has always been a loose cannon. Now there’s an interim coach in charge who is under instructions to forget about results this season and build for the future. Last week he fielded a very youthful team against Equidad yet they were again beaten. With some of the team’s more experienced players out injured it will again be a fresh-faced and woefully inexperienced team that face Junior.
Junior come into this game on the back of winning the first-leg of the Colombian Cup final under new manager Julio Comesaña who, remarkably, returned to the club as coach for a world record tenth time. He’s widely respected and the 1-0 midweek win over big favourites Millonarios should have been by a wider margin. Such is the gulf between these two clubs that I’d even suggest backing Junior on the -1 handicap if you fancy being adventurous, especially considering the fact that Cali have nothing to play and have already lost six out of seven away from home this season.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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