Monday & Tuesday’s Colombian Primera A Predictions & Best Bets

Andy

Union Magdalena v Millonarios

Monday 1st August – 12:10AM KO

All of the focus will be on Union Magdalena’s striker Ricardo Marquez for this one.

Marquez was born and grew up in Santa Marta supporting his local club Union Magdalena. In 2015 he had the opportunity to move to Bogota to play for Colombian giants Millonarios. Millos played the tall striker at central defense, he failed to make a single first team appearance and returned home.

He hated his time in Bogota, he couldn’t stand the cold, Millonarios never played him in his preferred position and he was ready to give up on football. He was persuaded to give it another go at his local club Union Magdalena and things quickly took off. He helped his club to promotion back to the top flight, finishing top scorer in the league and then on his Primera division debut scored a hattrick.

Marquez was now a Colombia U23 international with the world at his feet. He could go anywhere, anything was possible. Inexplicably what he chose to do was return to the city he hated and the club who wasted his talent on loan. Two years, 58 games, 7 goals and 2 assists later, Marquez was back at Union Magdalena where he already has 4 goals, 1 assists in his first 4 games.

Union Magdalena are built around Marquez in attack but the Argentine additions in midfield have also been key. Young central midfielder Spina (20) looks very assured while Chavez (24) has added some invention in the attacking third.

The Santa Marta club are surprise leaders of the Colombian league with 3 wins, 1 draw and 7 goals scored. While Union Magdalena’s strong start has been a shock, the impressive showing from Millonarios represents a continuation of their apertura form.

In the first half of 2022 Millonarios won 13, drew 3 and lost 4 to finish top of the league stage. They came up short in the playoffs, finishing third in their group behind Junior and eventual champions Atletico Nacional. Marquez, who since returning to Union Magdalena has averaged a goal a game, played 11 in 2022 for Millonarios and scored none while Herazo also failed to convince.

Experienced target man Luis Ruiz (35) seems to be the missing piece of the puzzle for the Bogota club. Ruiz scored 11 in 18 for struggling Cortulua before moving to Bogota on a free. This year he has 2 in 4 plus 1 assist so far and has settled well.

The key creator for Millonarios is exciting, left-footed playmaker Daniel Ruiz (20) who showed his quality on Wednesday with 3 assists against Fortaleza in the cup. 

As effective as Union Magdalena has been this season, I think the excellent start will come to an end at home to Millonarios. The trio of Daniel Ruiz, Silva and Gomez behind the dangerous Luis Ruiz will be too much for resurgent costeño’s.

I can see a comfortable win for Millonarios and a frustrating day for the isolated protagonist Marquez up top for Union Magdalena.

Prediction: Millonarios to Win, 1.75 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


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Atletico Bucaramanga v Deportes Tolima

Tuesday 2nd August – 12:00AM KO

Tolima are not quite back to their scintillating best but the quality and cohesion they have is still very impressive. A mid-sized club that has dominated the giants of Colombian football; the ‘red wine and gold’ have been finalists in all of the last three seasons.

The club from Ibague have started the season with a draw against DIM and Nacional, both of Medellin, a win against Cali and a surprise defeat away to Union Magdalena. They were also beaten 3-1 on Wednesday by DIM in the cup.

Wingers Andres Ibarguen and Anderson Plata, both very impressive in the Libertadores, have been unavailable so far in the league. Lucumi still looks very dangerous while Venezuelan playmaker Eduardo Sosa and pacey forward Andres Renteria should be smart additions, although both are still finding their feet.

The defensive base is excellent, Cuesta is a good goalkeeper and Rovira is a very solid midfield anchor. Tolima play a dynamic 4-2-3-1 with a lot of attacking interchanges behind a focal point striker.

Bucaramanga has been a host city for games at the women’s Copa America, which means both of ‘the leopards’ home fixtures have been rescheduled. They earned a hard-fought point away to a good Millonarios in their opener and were then picked off 3-1 on the counter by Alianza Petrolera in the searing heat of Barrancabermeja.

The visitors play a 4-2-3-1 with attacking fullbacks, quick inverted wingers and a sitting midfield double pivot. The two stars of the side are undoubtedly clinical striker Dayro Moreno and classy playmaker Sherman Cardenas.

Dayro has finished domestic league top scorer on 8 occasions in 2 countries with 5 clubs since his debut in 2003. The 36 year old poacher has superb movement and extremely composed finishing.

While Sherman hasn’t quite lived up to his 2007 Football Manager wonderkid status, remarkably the popular computer game predicted the 16 year old would be a top Champions League player by his 18th birthday, he has still had a very good career. Cardenas returned to his hometown club to be close to his family while his young daughter was suffering with leukemia in 2020. He has been consistently an elite performer in the league since, running the midfield for Bucaramanga with a free role.

Bucaramanga are a nice team to watch and will always create openings with their classy attacking pair but I can see Tolima clicking into gear in this one.

I predict an away win for Tolima in a game where both sides find the night but the visitors outscore their rivals with their fluid, pacey offense.

Prediction: Tolima Draw no Bet, 1.57 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️) 


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