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Torneo Final Tip Sheet: Home glories in Argentina this weekend

River Plate look a cracking price at home to Estudiantes

"Estudiantes were very bad last week, while River were very good, so our first thoughts are that seeing the hosts outside evens at 2.0621/20 is a tidy little price."

After an intriguing first weekend of fixtures, the new season continues in Argentina after some midweek continental action in the Copa Libertadores. The home side is the favourite in all of this weekend's games bar one - Boca Juniors' visit to Tigre - but Ed Malyon doesn't think it will be that straightforward....


Friday

Racing Club v Argentinos Juniors - 00:15

Racing got off to quite the shocker last week with a 3-0 defeat away to Rafaela, and Luis Zubeldía will be making big changes for this week. In will come their most talented player, Luciano Vietto, and a bit more steel in the midfield with Mario Bolatti set to make his debut. Young Martín Perez Guedes will come in to provide some more verticality for the Academia in what looks to be a more balanced side, although you feel this could be a last chance for José Sand up front, who has been an abject failure since joining in July. 

Argentinos also lost on the opening day, but it was a narrow defeat to defending champions Vélez and carries no shame with it. They've now lost their last five games in a row though, and they've only won one game in their last fourteen which floats the question as to whether they simply exceeded expectations by suffering just a one-goal loss at home last weekend.

Only Boca scored more goals at home than Racing last season, and El Cilindro is one of the most incredible atmospheres in world football. For this reason, backing Racing is this week's play but don't go for anything shorter than 1.855/6 or so against a mediocre Argentinos side.


Saturday

Godoy Cruz v Unión de Santa Fe - 20:00

Martín Palermo was a thudding totem pole of a striker, and while he may never have seemed the management type due to his apparent lack of brain cells, he has been given the job at Godoy Cruz and got off the mark with a 1-1 draw against All Boys last week.

Fittingly, the strength of the Mendoza side is their front two, with energetic forward Facundo Castillón doing the legwork for proven goalscorer Mauro Obolo, but almost as much of an advantage is the large distances that teams have to follow to get to this Western outpost. 

In fact, Godoy Cruz lost eight of their last ten games on the road last season, and only their home form kept them from having a pretty embarrassing campaign. 

On the subject of embarrassing campaigns, we move onto the visitors, and Unión Santa Fe had a horrendous time in the Torneo Inicial as they finished rock-bottom and went through the entire season without tasting victory.

They have brought in Facundo Sava, who despite being highly-rated as an intelligent and thoughtful manager was sacked by San Martín due to poor results and he has a lot to prove still. Unión were denied a victory at home to Arsenal last weekend by a 114th minute equaliser (that's got to hurt) but that is typical of how things have been for them in the last year.

It's difficult to look beyond Godoy Cruz here, and while there a plenty of unknowns with these two managers, a small stake on the hosts looks the best bet at 1.9110/11.


Vélez Sarsfield v Independiente - 23:15

Check out the full lowdown on this game in this week's big match preview.


Sunday

Tigre v Boca Juniors - 20:00

Tigre are still at great risk of getting relegated due to the three-year points average table that defines demotion to the second tier, but since Nestor Gorosito took over from Rodolfo Arruabarrena they have improved their results and last week surprised many people by winning 3-1 at Estudiantes.

Rubén Botta looks as if he could be one of the revelations of the season this year (if he stops being so damn greedy) and he drives forward and gives urgency to a team that lacked direction at times last year. 

Boca Juniors are favourites for this one, and based on last season's league position that seems completely justified, but the Xeneize are not in good shape at the moment, with Carlos Bianchi's return much lauded but a defence straight out of the sunday league. 

Having gone 2-0 down against Quilmes last week they came back to win 3-2, but their backline was a joke throughout and the refereeing questionable. On Wednesday evening against Toluca in the Copa Libertadores their defence was once more a shambles and they were punished by the clinical Mexicans, leading to many questions about the club's recruitment. 

The obvious target for criticism is Matías Caruzzo - who has given away penalties in both games - but the fact is that Bianchi is trying to change the side from one that sat incredibly deep under their previous manager, to one playing a high line. The transition will be slow and at times difficult, so until there are signs of improvement it will be tough to back Boca despite their attacking talents and more tempting are the overs at 2.3811/8.


Newell's Old Boys v Lanús - 21:00

Newell's began this season in the same way as they breezed through the majority of last season, winning in style. Unfortunately for them, so did Lanús, and this game looks like as if it could be one of the most entertaining on the continent this weekend.

The two clubs play very differently, but both styles are exciting, attacking brands of football and although the normal bet with Newell's playing at home would be the under 2.5 goals (due to their miserly defence) there seems to be too much on show here for that to come under consideration.

Newell's at 2.427/5 is a value bet for sure, given how impressive a side they are in Rosario, yet Lanús' performance on the opening weekend as they vanquished Colón 4-0 was pretty scary, and may be enough to convince us to leave this game alone.


River Plate v Estudiantes de La Plata - 23:15

Estudiantes were very bad last week, while River were very good, so our first thoughts are that seeing the hosts outside evens at 2.0621/20 is a tidy little price.

Rodrigo Mora has developed into an absolute star, and as well as a habit for scoring in the big games he links play superbly for Ramón Diaz's side. Their win in Cordoba last weekend was one of great merit not just for the strength of the opposition, but also for the mental aspect in exorcising the club's demons when it comes to Belgrano - the club that twice humiliated them - and coming out flying under their new manager. 

Diaz has beaten one potential title rival on the first weekend, and with Estudiantes appearing to still be a side in transition, the Millionarios' attacking might just looks too much for the visiting Pincha. Home win.


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14 February 2013

South American

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