TOP spot in Group A is up for grabs at the Copa America but who is Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) backing to come out on top?
Chile v Bolivia | Saturday 00.30 | Premier Sports
Hands up, who thought this fixture could be a Group A decider for top spot? Bolivia entered the competition as rank outsiders but a richly deserved 0-0 draw with Mexico was followed up by a 3-2 win over Ecuador – just their second success in 18 games.
Confidence is now high in El Verde’s camp with the altitude-specialists knowing a place in the knockout rounds of the Copa America is well within grasp for the first time in six attempts. However, Mauricio Soria’s men hold a rotten competitive away record across the past 20 years (W0-D10-L39) and are likely to set-up in the hope of stealing a draw.
Of course, this fixture has been overshadowed by news emanating from Chile’s camp in the last few days. Following a disappointing but thrilling 3-3 draw with Mexico in their last group game, star midfielder and Copa America's top goalscorer, Arturo Vidal, had his driver's licence revoked after he was involved in a car crash in which he was deemed to be over the alcohol limit.
Head coach Jorge Sampaoli has confirmed that Vidal is available to play for the remainder of the tournament but whether the Juventus man will feature here remains to be seen. And Chile could also be without Arsenal hitman Alexis Sanchez with the speedster an injury concern…
So there are a few doubts surrounding La Roja and we can add their defence to that list too. Mexico successfully targeted Chile’s lack of height and Bolivia could opt for a similar approach with targetman Marcelo Moreno enjoying plenty of luck against more formidable defenders against Ecuador and Mexico previously.
Victory for either side will ensure the group winner faces off against a third-placed side in the quarter-finals as opposed to the runner-up of Group C and so there’s plenty at stake. History is certainly on Chile’s side – they’ve won six of their last seven against Bolivia by at least two goals and are unbeaten against El Verde since 2000.
So how do we profit from such a showdown? Despite the issues surrounding the Chilean team, with one defeat in 16 on home soil plus Bolivia’s woeful away record it’s hard to find the faith in backing El Verde, even at 11/1 with BetVictor. Instead, I’m happier taking a goals angle again here in Santiago.
Sampaoli’s side have scored at least twice in 10 of their last 12 competitive outings with only one of La Roja’s last 22 meaningful matches seeing fewer than two goals. Bolivia have kept just one clean sheet in 31 competitive games now with 13 of their previous 22 featuring both teams scoring – with all that in mind, I’m going to have a small stab at Both Teams To Score with 888 Sport offering 23/17.
Chile v Bolivia – Both Teams To Score (23/17 888 Sport)