Sunday, June 16, 2024

Cruzeiro vs Universidad Catolica

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 29 May 2024

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Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 16/5

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

Currently occupying the top two positions in Group B of the Copa Sudamericana, Cruzeiro and Universidad Catolica will face each other in the final round of the stage at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte. Holding a two-point advantage, the visitors need only not to lose to stay at the top, while the home side obviously have to win if they want it for themselves.

Cruzeiro

These teams opened their respective campaigns in this competition against each other, playing out a goalless draw in the first round at Universidad’s Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa. Cruzeiro continued the trend of playing matches without a winner through the following two rounds, drawing 3-3 at home againt Alianza and 0-0 away to Union La Calera. Since then, they beat Alianza away by 3-0 and then Union 1-0 at home, reaching their current tally of nine points from five matches.

Based on those results, consistency doesn’t seem to be a strength of Moises Moura’s side, but they’ve done a little better in the early stages of the season in the Brazilian Serie A, where they’ve also played five games so far, winning three, drawing one and losing one. At the moment, they sit sixth in the table, a position which leads into the Copa Libertadores qualifications at the end, but there is clearly a long way to go before the league standings gain proper significance in that aspect.

In their last match, Cruzeiro faced achieved their one-goal victory over Union La Calera, courtesy of an early strike by Al-Hilal loanee Matheus Pereira.

Team News

Cruzeiro players expected to miss this match are midfielder Mateus Vital (shoulder injury), winger Arthur Gomes (thigh problems) and striker Juan Dinenno (pubic bone bruise).

The absence of Dinenno and Gomes will certainly hamper the attacking section of the game for the home side, but Rafael Elias should prove quite capable of leading the line in those circumstances. Rafa Silva, at the age of 32, would represent a more experienced option for Moura’s consideration for the role.

Universidad Catolica

With three wins and two draws in the previous five rounds, Universidad remain the only team to have done better in the competition than Cruzeiro, and their record away from home should be giving the Brazilian side something to worry about. Following the goalless draw in the opening round between these sides, Universidad beat Union La Calera 1-0 and Alianza 3-1, both away from home, before completing the double over the latter with a 4-0 thrashing at home.

Round five, however, saw them drop two points through another 0-0 draw at home against Union, despite the fact that they were a man up for two thirds of the contest. The numbers were even at the final whistle, with Facundo Martinez sent off in the sixth minute of stoppage time with a second yellow card.

Like Cruzeiro, Universidad are sixth in their domestic top flight at the moment, though they have played 14 LigaPro matches so far. Their points tally stands at 22, two less than Emelec in fifth and one more than El Nacional in seventh.

Team News

There have been no reports of any injury concerns for head coach Jorge Celico, but Martinez, his 39-year-old captain, should miss out through suspension.

Ismael Diaz on the left wing and striker Jose Fajardo should represent considerable danger for the Cruzeiro defence.

Conclusion

It will certainly be a fierce clash between two teams determined to remain undefeated in the group stage, and it’s not unlikely that both manage to achieve that goal, even though most bookies favour a Cruzeiro win.

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 16/5

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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