GROUP C concludes on Sunday night and with all four nations level on three points, there’s plenty to play for. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) searches for the best betting angle for Colombia’s clash with Peru.
Colombia v Peru | Sunday 20.00 | Premier Sports
Group C is the most delicately balanced of the three Copa America pools heading into the final matchday of the group-stages with all three sides on three points. All four nations have a chance of progression to the quarter-finals and that should hopefully lead us towards a couple of entertaining encounters.
Colombia and Peru are first up and although the runners-up in Group C look to have an easier passage to the final than the group winners, I expect to see all of the four nations approach their final fixtures looking to bag maximum points. There are simply a few too many variables to suggest either side will be trying to finish second.
Last time out Colombia picked up their first victory over Brazil since 1991 in a hugely improved performance from their curtain-raising defeat to Venezuela. Los Cafeteros scored the only goal of the game through highly-rated and Inter bound centre-back Jeison Murillo but that’s an area of concern for Jose Pekerman’s charges.
The much-vaunted attacking unit has so far failed to fire and the Colombian coach must do without the suspended Carlos Bacca for this outing whilst James Rodriguez has been training alone as he looks to shake off a knock in time to play. Even so, Pekerman has enough quality at his disposal to justify the 8/13 (Bet365) quotes on sealing the three points.
Like Colombia, Peru bounced back from an opening defeat to Brazil to pocket the points against Venezuela in their most recent outing. And similarly to Los Cafeteros, Ricardo Gareca’s troops have suffered from a lack of a cutting edge in the final third. The Blanquirroja toiled for large swathes of that Venezuela victory despite playing against 10 men for over an hour.
In fact, Peru managed just one shot-on-target – Claudio Pizarro’s winner – against Venezuela and their goal against Brazil came courtesy of a calamitous mix-up in the Samba Boys defence early on. Gareca’s team do boast a solid spine with plenty of steel in an experienced side but the supply to the forwards has been sub-standard so far.
I’ve had plenty of faith in Colombia from the outset and so I’m not going to abandon the team just yet. However, I’m unconvinced they’ll blow Peru away. The side still looks unbalanced and although Carlos Sanchez’s display deservedly reaped rewards against Brazil, he’s unlikely to be required to produce a similar performance against Peru. Instead Pekerman will need to find a link to feed his galaxy of stars in the final third.
Head-to-head records suggest Colombia should hold the upper hand. Los Cafeteros have beaten Peru in their last two meetings without conceding a goal and the coffee-lovers are undefeated against the Blanquirroja since 2001. In fact, Peru have scored just one goal against Colombia in six clashes dating back to 2009 with Under 2.5 Goals banking in all six fixtures.
With that in mind, I’m keen to explore a low-scoring Colombia win in Temuco on Sunday evening. Pekerman’s troops have secured wins ‘to nil’ in six of their last eight victories and a repeat can be snapped up at 7/5 but instead I’ll take a chance on Colombia to win and Under 2.5 Goals at a juicer 9/4 (Sportingbet) – it combines the strong trends at a better price and I just don’t see Los Cafeteros running away with this one.
Colombia v Peru – Colombia to win and Under 2.5 Goals (9/4 Sportingbet)