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Copa Libertadores Preview & Tips: Bolivar and Argentinos Jrs to gain valuable points

Striker Gabriel Avalos

We’re at the halfway point of the Libertadores group stage, and with only Fluminense on maximum points there’s still plenty to be decided. In round four, Atletico-MG face Athletico-PR in what looks to be a crucial fixture in Group G, while River Plate travel to Peru knowing three points must be claimed against Sporting Cristal if they are to avoid crashing out.

However, three other fixtures stand out and I’ll start this week's Copa Libertadores tips in Venezuela.

Monagas v Colo Colo: Under 2.5 goals

Monagas head into their encounter with Colo Colo yet to pick up a win after three matches, and despite being back on home soil face a difficult fixture. Their only point to date was a home tie against group favourite Boca, who finished the match with nine men and have since changes managers.

In the reverse fixture between Colo Colo and Monagas, the Chilean outfit prevailed thanks to a penalty converted by Carlos Palacios. Colo Colo dominated proceedings, finishing with 25 shots and an xG of 2.87.

However, after drawing a blank in their defeat to Boca, as well as their 1-1 draw away to Pereira, Gustavo Quinteros has struggled to get his team firing.

Monagas, on the other hand, finally scored their first goal of the Libertadores in a 2-1 defeat to Pereira and back in front of their own supporters, they’ll be hoping to build on that.

Yet Monagas simply do not have the quality to compete at this level and although Colo Colo have found it difficult in front of goal, there will be an expectation from their fans to return home with the three points.

With a lack of experience in the final third to trouble Colo Colo, and with the away side yet to get into their full stride, under 2.5 goals around 1.67 and a low scoring affair looks on the cards.

Bolivar v Barcelona: Home win

Bolivar’s 4-0 victory over Cerro Porteno was their biggest ever away win and it puts their fate in their own hands at the halfway stage. Back on home soil, Bolivar will be confident their uncomfortable home environment in La Paz will see them claim three more valuable points.

Having beaten Palmeiras 3-1 already in front of their own fans, the Bolivian club will be looking for their fifth win in six matches at home in the Libertadores – turning their stadium into quite the fortress due to the high-altitude conditions they play in.

Barcelona suffered a 2-1 defeat to Cerro Porteno on their only away match to date, but often struggle to score goals away from their intimidating home crowd. With Bolivar having scored eight goals in three matches, they certainly know where the back of the net is.

What’s most interesting is that Bolivar have had seven different goalscorers (plus one own goal) and aren’t reliant on an individual to get them over the line.

Bolivar to claim all three points on home soil and remain top is generously priced at 1.70.

Argentinos Jrs v Corinthians: Home win

Unsurprisingly this year’s group of death has thrown up a few surprises, and currently Argentinos Jrs lead the way with seven points.

They’ll be disappointed to have drawn to Liverpool last time out, who claimed their first point, but back in front of their own fans they have a chance to all but seal their qualification.

Corinthians have been in horrendous form. Currently on a six-match winless run before they play Flamengo on Sunday evening, they’ve also lost their last five away matches.

In those matches, they’ve found the net just twice and conceded 12 in the process.

Argentinos Jrs haven’t been in the best form themselves of late, having only picked up a single victory since beating Corinthians in their own back yard. However, looking closer at the results, only a 4-2 defeat to Gimnasia raises the eyebrows.

Corinthians will heavily rely on Roger Guedes to drag them back into Group E contention, but if Argentinos Jrs can keep him quiet, they can secure the three points required to qualify.

Forward Gabriel Avalos has scored eleven goals in 2023 and he could be the difference for Argentinos Jrs in this crucial round four fixture.

Priced at 1.90, it’s worth taking on Corinthians who at present show no signs of improving.


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