Nacional v Bucaramanga
With just two points from their opening two group games and still unable to shake a seven-match winless streak, it’s now or never for Colombia Primera A’s most successful team, Nacional, to underline their title credentials.
Against Millonarios in their last game, there was plenty of evidence to suggest the team have turned the corner. They started the match at a hundred miles per hour with Millonarios unable to cope with the wave after wave of Nacional pressure. It seemed only a question of time before they would break the deadlock. But after seeing a goal scandalously chalked off for a supposed infraction on the goalkeeper – something even Millonarios fan didn’t see – Nacional fell behind, completely against the run of play to an own goal.
Still, there was lots to admire in Nacional’s play and in their resolve to twice come from behind to a strong Millonarios side and grab a point. Against Bucaramanga, they should have things much more their own way. Bucaramanga were expected to be the weakest team in this group but they have shown they are no pushovers. Yet away from home they have tended to struggle this year. An example of this was in their first group game away at Millonarios when their xG was a paltry 0.12. And with Nacional needing to win no matter what here, expect them to go for Bucaramanga from the off, and utilise their ridiculously strong bench to good effect if they fail to find an early breakthrough.
Envigado v Independiente Medellín
Silently but surely Deportivo Independiente Medellín (DIM) are mounting a serious title charge. Comprehensive in their opening group game win over Equidad, they then took a point from group favourites Tolima in their midweek away trip. Very few teams have done that this season. Many may point to the Tolima man sent off early in the second half and it clearly helped DIM. But even before the red card, DIM had made life very difficult for the last standing Colombian side in this year’s Copa Libertadores. DIM showed why they are Tolima’s biggest challengers to win this group and progress to the apertura final.
Envigado look like they are sailing in the opposite direction. Blown away by Equidad midweek, their title hopes already look over. Crippled by injuries and suspension, their tiny squad, with easily the youngest average age in the league (by two years!), has again run out of steam. While they boast home advantage for this game, Medellín are based just around the corner so will also pack the ground with their own fans. They should win outright, but if it’s a banker you are looking for, lump on the DIM win with draw no bet.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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