Bucaramanga v Medellín
There might be more eye-catching games this weekend in the Colombian Primera A, but this is arguably one of the most important. Bucaramanga and Medellín are two of the highest-scoring teams in the division and are both fighting tooth and nail for a top-eight finish to ensure their place in the next round of the apertura title race. There’s plenty to play for and it promises to be an entertaining and open clash.
Bucaramanga were out-classed last weekend away at Junior, but at home they dance to a different tune. With five wins out of eight in front of their own fans, they currently sit in the all-important eighth place as one of the most in-form sides in the division. So far this season they have averaged 2.5 goals a game, the second highest in the league behind Santa Fe. Not only is their defence easily got at, but up front they are a different class to most of their rivals. When you consider the class of creative midfielder Sherman Cardenas and lethal marksman Dayro Moreno, it really is no wonder that the team are easily out-performing their xG (18 goals scored, an xG of 13.99).
Medellín are another team who are scoring better than their xG (21 scored compared to 19.03). Last week’s drab 0-0 draw against bottom club Union Magdalena might not particularly inspire punter confidence, but over 1.5 goals in this game should still be the line to chase. Unlike Magdalena who sat deep in an unambitious 5-4-1 formation, Bucaramanga have shown all season that they will be much more adventurous in pushing forward. With a lot on the line, goals are what should catch the punter’s eye.
Union Magdalena v Junior
Junior’s record on the road this season makes for pretty miserable reading. Just one win out of eight on their travels, Junior have only picked up 15% of their points so far this season when playing away from home. For a team that’s purportedly the most expensively assembled in the division, this doesn’t underline title-winning form. Or even, that of a team currently in sixth position. But ignore those stats for this game.
Junior and Union Magdalena are supposedly geographical rivals. Both are based on Colombia’s sweaty Caribbean coast and have long histories going back to the start of Colombian professional football. But in a similar way, perhaps, that Leyton Orient fans view West Ham as their hated rival, Union’s barras have forever lived in the shadow of their more illustrious rivals. For Junior on the other hand, a quick trip up the road has long been seen more as three points in the bag. What is an intense rivalry on one side, is simply considered an easy win on the other.
Last week Union picked up a very unexpected away point against Medellin. But don’t read too much into that result; this wasn’t a dogged backs-to-the-wall performance forged upon new defensive purpose. The result owed much more to some really sloppy Medellin finishing and some terrible decision-making in the final third, than any sudden improvement under new Union manager Claudio Rodriguez. At a decent 1.8, expect Junior to push the league’s worst team ever closer to a return to the second division.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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