Bacca injury gives Pekerman more striker woes

Columbia World cup Team

Colombia played a 4-5-1 formation in their opening win over Greece but could go for a more attacking 4-4-1-1 in Thursday’s match versus Ivory Coast as they aim to seal qualification for the World Cup knockouts after just two games.

Coach Jose Pekerman will have to make do without Sevilla attacker Carlos Bacca due to injury but Inter midfielder Fredy Guarin returns after missing their first match due to suspension.

Pekerman is unlikely to make any changes at the back yet seems ready to give three new players a chance to prove their worth in midfield and up front.

The aforementioned Guarin is expected to get the nod in midfield at the expense of Abel Aguilar, while Juan Quintero could also feature from the start in place of Victor Ibarbo. In attack, Pekerman will make a choice between Teo Gutierrez, who scored against Greece, and Jackson Martinez, with the Porto man sitting in pole position to start at this point.

Ivory Coast boss Sabri Lamouchi, meanwhile, will have some serious selection headaches as well following his side’s hard-fought win over Japan. The Africans struggled to get going while using their 4-3-3 formation in their opening game and only sprung to life after Didier Drogba came off the bench to effectively give them four attackers on the pitch.

Lamouchi stressed after the final whistle that he was satisfied with his side’s performance, however, and it seems unlikely that he will make any major changes to his starting XI. That means that both Kolo Toure and Drogba seem destined to start from the bench once more, with the latter having to play for a role as super-sub behind Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony.