Jaguares v Once Caldas
Once Caldas have struggled for goals all season. It’s not that they aren’t working the ball into the area or are failing to create chances. On both accounts Once rank high in the league in terms of shots taken and touches in the opposition penalty area. But they are well down on their xG and that’s perhaps down to two main reasons. A lot of their decisions taken in the attacking third are poor. On most accounts Once are building play well, they are finding space and getting into good positions. But none of their strikers have struck up any form this season. Manager Diego Corredor has been constantly rotating his front line. One week it’s Mender Garcia, another Diego Valdes, Juan Perez or Ayron del Valle. That Once have played 14 games in 2022 and only Garcia has started more than half their matches says a lot about the frustration and desperation the team have faced in trying to address this issue. Furthermore, not one of their midfielders have yet chipped in with a goal.
Away from home Once have been even more spineless. And it could cost them a place in the top 8. Just three goals in their last five away goals indicates the scale of their flaccidity where it really matters. And in the heat of Monteria, where home side Jaguares have picked up almost all their points this season (15 of 17), it’s hard to see that paucity ending. That said, Once are still a fine team and Corredor is one of the most impressive managers in the league. Expect a close game with Corredor’s side closing down spaces and making life difficult for Jaguares. They might not win many away from home but they rarely lose. Not many teams go to Monteria and get a result, but Once have that in them and so the smart money should point in that direction.
Bucaramanga v Cortulua
Cortulua have fallen off the cliff. Their only win in their last nine games was against the woeful Union Magdalena. It’s the only time Cortulau have won away from home all season. That early-season bounce enjoyed by many a newly promoted side now seems to have deserted them and it’s not surprising that this mostly young squad (the third youngest in the league) has found the going tough in recent weeks. Cortulua’s first-team squad is decent, there is general talent in the likes of Alexis Castillo and Luis Caicedo, but there’s not much quality or, crucially, experience beyond the first eleven.
Cortulua’s slip in form is almost in direct contrast with that of Bucaramanga’s recent run. Up and down at the start of the season, Bucaramanga have improved massively in recent weeks and have won their last four games at home. In Dayro Moreno they have one of the league’s best strikers, even if he continues to enjoy life a little bit too much off the pitch. With the creative brain of Sherman Cardenas operating just behind him, Bucaramanga have one of the most potent attacking partnerships in the division. Both are out-performing their respective xG and expected assists as Bucaramanga teeter on the edge of a qualification spot for the next round of the league championship. A win here would edge them one step closer. At home, it’s very difficult to see past them.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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