Junior vs Olimpia Asuncion
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 9 February 2018
Kick-off: 03:15 CET
Something over 30 hours before kick-off, when these lines were being written, Junior still didn’t know if their coach, Alexis Mendoza, would be able to lead the team from the sidelines in this game. He felt intense abdominal pains two days before the match, had to be rushed to a hospital, he got operated on, the doctors called it a “low-risk” operation without giving more details, he was tipped to leave the hospital in time to be at the Metropolitano for the return leg against Olimpia, but… I repeat, he hadn’t left the hospital yet, when these lines were written. Could his potential absence from the sidelines make a difference? Shouldn’t, but… it’s something to take into consideration. Junior needed an 88th-minute goal to beat Atletico Bucaramanga 1-0 last weekend, in Colombia’s championship. If Teo Gutiérrez plays, he won’t be at 100%. In Asunción, last week, Junior looked good going on counterattacks, they touched a much-needed away goal in at least three occasions, but left Defensores del Chaco with a 1-0 defeat on their back, meaning that they need to be extra careful not to concede, because if they do, they will need at least three goals to qualify.
From the 11 players who started the game against Junior last week in Asunción, only two were included in the starting lineup on Monday, when Olimpia faced Independiente de Campo Grande in their first Paraguay Apertura game this season. They still won 2-1, even their reserves were much better than Independiente, and, very important, most of the regulars got to rest, so as to look at their best in Barranquilla. Thankfully for Olimpia’s players, the club they serve is… big enough to afford a charter flight, avoiding a marathon of back-to-back connections to reach Barranquilla. This is Olimpia’s fourth qualifier in something over two weeks. Before facing Junior, they had eliminated Montevideo Wanderers, drawing 0-0 in Uruguay, and beating them 2-0 in Asunción. Three matches, no goals conceded, but in the first leg against the Colombian side they needed their goalkeeper to… stand tall in at least three occasions to keep a clean sheet. If they qualify, they will face fellow Paraguayan side Guaraní in the third and last qualifying round.
Previous five matches:
Junior vs Atletico Bucaramanga 1-0
Olimpia Asuncion vs Junior 1-0
Junior vs Independiente Medellin 2-1
Junior vs Jaguares de Cordoba 1-0
Junior vs Real Cartagena 3-1
Independiente FBC vs Olimpia 1-2
Olimpia vs Junior 1-0
Olimpia vs Wanderers 2-0
Wanderers vs Olimpia 0-0
Deportivo Capiatá vs Olimpia 1-2
Junior’s next game is at Deportivo Pasto the coming weekend (Colombia championship). Olimpia are hosting General Díaz on Monday (Paraguay Apertura).
Junior vs Olimpia Asuncion: Head to head Stats
Junior have hosted Olimpia once before, in 1994. It was a Copa Libertadores group stage match that ended without goals.
Junior vs Olimpia Asuncion: Prediction
I can’t imagine Olimpia conceding more than once, and I do see them score at least once themselves. In other words, despite Junior being considered favourites to win the game, I’m backing the Paraguayan side to earn at least a draw, and, obviously, to qualify.
Junior vs Olimpia Asuncion: Betting Tips
Olimpia’s double chance pays 2.15, which I consider good enough to avoid risking with other bets. Draw definitely feels more probable than Olimpia’s win, it pays 3.25 or 3.75 (in under 2.5 goals), but I repeat, even 2.15 feels good enough to me, really trusting Olimpia get the job done in Barranquilla.
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