Alianza Lima make the long trip into the mountains to Juliaca to take on Binacional. Will the league leaders continue their run this Clausura, and all but secure the league title with a victory? Will the defending champions earn a home victory and extend the hopes of winning back to back titles another week? Where does the betting market show value?
The stage is set
This is the match of the year for Peruvian football bettors. The defending champions Binacional hosting the league leaders Alianza Lima.
Each team in the league has three matches remaining, and Alianza Lima are in the lead with 28 points. Binacional are a full four points behind them, but very much in striking distance of back-to-back titles with a victory on Sunday.
Both teams have winnable matches to finish the season, but Binacional gets their most difficult match of the remaining two at home with Cristal in the final week, while Alianza Lima must travel to Nueva Cajamarca to take on Union Comercio.
A win for Alianza would all but clinch the title, so this match could well be for the championship.
Alianza is obviously from the city of Lima, which means they play their home matches and do their training at sea level. In unusual fashion, the club has been able to avoid altitude for almost the duration of the entire season.
The only time Alianza has had to play at any considerable altitude was away at Cajamarca in early September and Arequipa vs. Melgar in mid-October.
The competition level of both teams is significantly lower than that of Binacional (Melgar ranked 9th and UTC 16th), but the performance level of Alianza was as we have grown to expect from them at altitude – poor.
Despite playing with a man advantage, they were outshot by UTC but earned a 1-1 draw. Against Melgar, they fell behind 2-0 into the 61st minute, but benefitted from an own goal and two late goals in the final ten minutes to earn a 3-2 victory despite generating just three shots on target.
Despite leading the league in overall points, Alianza Lima has been lackluster away from home, not just at altitude. They have a goal differential of +0 and have conceded 1.70 goals per away match.
Binacional has yet to lose in Juliaca this season, and have conceded the fewest home goals of any team aside from Universitario who has been playing to a historic defensive rate.
This match is problematic for the back line of Alianza. As mentioned when playing at altitude they concede a ton of opportunities. But looking beyond that to the tactical matchup, the preferred 5-4-1 playing style of Pablo Bengoechea encourages Binacional to push forward.<>While it may disperse the attack away from Donald Millan, it opens up the opportunity for Roberto Mosquera to push forward in an aggressive 4-3-3 and get his fullbacks involved.
The best way to attack a 5-4-1 is to get wide and create numbers to add two men into each defending zone. Not only is Binacional extremely good at playing wide, at home they do so with consistency and pacing.
Betting market analysis
The betting market opened with Binacional as 1.60 (62.5% implied probability) favourites. Not only does this price present value for the tactical advantage of Binacional, it keeps the -0.75 and -1 Asian Handicap prices in play at fair prices too above 1.78 and 2.00.
This is going to be a match with plenty of opportunities and there is certainly value on the home favourite.