Cortulua v Alianza Petrolera
By hook or by crook Cortulua need a result here. Last week’s 3-0 thrashing by relegation rivals Patriotas has left Cortulua teetering on the edge of relegation. On current form, it won’t be long before Patriotas replace the struggling Tulua side in the relegation zone. A swift return to the second division is looking increasingly likely. With such a young side, you can see the life seeping out of Cortulua. They already look resigned to the drop.
Cortulua’s form has tailed off dramatically in recent months and the loss of last season’s top scorer Luis Carlos Ruiz to Millonarios has hit the club hard. The goals have since dried up with Ruiz’s replacement Feiver Mercado failing to find the goals they desperately need. Furthermore, the form of Cortulua’s number 10 Alexis Castillo, one of the highlights from last season, has also suffered. He just hasn’t looked the same player as two months ago.
With just three goals scored in their six league goals this season, Cortulua haven’t scored more than one-goal-a-game since 11-goal striker Ruiz left. With Alianza Petrolera surely come to park the bus as they often do on their travels, this won’t be a classic. And everything points to unders.
Junior v DIM
The heat is on Junior manager Juan Cruz Real once again. Last week’s shock 2-1 home defeat to Once Caldas on the club’s 98th birthday cast new doubts on the Argentine coach, who has never convinced fans or local media that he deserves to be manager of a club the size of Junior. “You lot are all expecting blood, but I’m sorry to say that I’m committed to this club,” Cruz barked at the press earlier this week after holding crunch talks with the board about his future. He survives, for now.
His critics are mostly right, Cruz has done little to show why he deserves to be manager of Junior after landing the job on the back of a fairly mediocre track record elsewhere. His prickly attitude in blaming everyone but himself has hardly won him many fans and he is surely on borrowed time. But we should still try to see past all that noise and back a Junior win here.
DIM are a decent team. They’ve built a solid spine that has mixed experienced quality players like Felipe Pardo, Andres Ricaurte and Luciano Pons with an exciting spray of young players. The star among those is 18-year-old Miguel Monsalve, a creative midfielder who has the cocksure attitude you like to see in a number 10. He’s in the form of his life, but will be away with the Colombia U20s for this trip to Barranquilla. Club captain Andres Cadavid is also missing.
Medellin are also still a work in progress and manager David Gonzalez is a rookie coach very much learning the ropes. Here they face a Junior side who are still a formidable force at home. Even in last week’s surprise defeat Junior’s xG was almost three times greater (2.25) than that of Once. With the quality of Junior’s frontline – now boosted by the signing of ex-Sevilla player Carlos Bacca – such poor finishing won’t dog them for long. Cruz might not be up to the job, but his players are still far too good to ignore, especially at 1.85.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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