Newly promoted Macara face a daunting trip to champions Barcelona in Sunday nights Ecuadorian action.
The home crowd will welcome back their team when they take to the field. It’s the first home game of the season for Los Toreros following a dominant performance last season. They won both stages of the tournament and topped the aggregate table with an 11 point gap between themselves and 2nd place Emelec. Their home record was sublime, winning 19 of 22 games with an incredible 64 goals scored (2.90 average per game).
Macara are back in the top flight for the first time since relegation in 2013. They won last seasons second tier with an overall record of 24-12-8. The also ended as the seasons top goalscorers, on 75 goals, 34 of them coming on the road.
Barcelona took a point last week away at Deportivo Cuenca in the opening round. They fell behind early in the game but were able to equalise late on in the second half, with the game ending 1-1. Manager Guillermo Almada was far from happy from his sides’ performance, stating they showed defensive frailty in the first half and that work must be done to fix it. New signing Damian Diaz has been ruled out of starting the game, but may take a place on the bench after recently recovering from injury. Abel Casquete, Jose Ayovi and Jefferson Mena are also in consideration but it remains to be seen whether or not they will start. What we do know is that Pablo Velasco and Walter Chala will miss out. The following is a possible line up for the hosts:
Banguera; Valencia, Arreaga, Aimar, Pineida; Marques, Oyola; Esterilla, Díaz, Caicedo; Álvez
Macara secured their first point back in the big time last week with a 0-0 draw on home soil to Fuerza Amarilla. Opposing coach Almada was impressed by what he saw from the new boys saying that his side must “limit the good things he saw in their game vs Fuerza”. There are no injury concerns in the Macara camp, meaning they could line up as follows:
Cabral; Gómez, Corozo, Ayala, Quiñónez; De Jesus, Hurtado; Champagn, Feraud, Benitez, Tévez.
Barcelona will feel confident of notching their first 3 points of the season in front of an expectant home crowd. Macara may well be overawed by the occasion – it has been a long time since they last played in an arena such as Barcelona’s. 17 of the hosts 22 home games finished with more than 2 goals last season, and with newly promoted opposition visiting we fancy that to happen again. Barcelona should certainly be able to notch a few goals here, and we don’t rule out the visitors getting on the score sheet either given the defensive weakness the hosts have been showing.
Tip: Over 2.5 goals at odds of 2.00