Paraguay Abroad: Brian Montenegro set for return to England and Leeds United

Brian Montenegro is only 21 but he’s already done the rounds locally having played for Tacuary, Rubio Ñu and more recently winning the league with Libertad and finishing Copa Libertadores runner-up with Nacional. He also had a spell with West Ham a couple of years ago and although he only played 12 minutes with the senior team in the FA Cup he did manage 12 goals in 12 games for the reserves.

Montenegro Full Name: Brian Guillermo Montenegro

 D.o.B: 10 June 1993

 Place of Birth: Asunción, Paraguay

 Height: 1.81 metres

 Weight: 75 kg

 Position: Striker/Left winger

Hardly blessed with pace but he makes up for it with excellent movement, a very tactically disciplined player which is probably why English clubs have shown more interest in him than other forwards from the 2013 U20s World Cup squad. His versatility is an asset, he can play up top usually in a two off a more physical striker or he can be used in a front three on the left hand side and is a provider of goals as much as he is a poacher.

He may have been a bit raw at West Ham but he’s now played in important matches and scored at the highest level in South America, the Copa Libertadores. Most recently he scored in the semi-final for Nacional against Defensor Sporting on their run to the final. Last year for Libertad he also managed two goals during their Copa Sudamericana campaign reaching the the semi finals. However, my favourite Montenegro goal is his spectacular bicycle kick at the U20s World Cup against Greece – LUFC fans could be enjoying more of this before Christmas!

By Ralph Hannah

Paraguay national team: Squad confirmed for Ukraine and UAE friendlies

Paraguay will travel to Europe for a possible friendly with Ukraine on 3rd September followed by a match on the 7th against UAE (United Arab Emirates) in Villach, Austria. The game against Ukraine was scheduled to be in Kiev but due to the Paraguayan FA concerns current political crisis the venue is expected to be moved or the game will be cancelled. It seems Paraguay simply can’t organize a friendly (in 2012 they ended up playing Guatemala four times for lack of other opponents!).

While the squad has a very “fresh” look with plenty of youngsters involved the major talking points are over three of the more experienced players. Roque Santa Cruz will win his 100th cap against Ukraine and this could be the perfect time to bow out, although he remains one of Paraguay’s best strikers in terms of recent international form. Nestor Ortigoza has been recalled for the first time since the 2011 Copa América final having been frozen out by Gerardo Martino’s successors. Finally, the fantastic central defender Pablo Aguilar is back, he was only left out of recent games because of an illogical medical report that claimed his low platelet count was a health risk. Winning the league with Xolos (who were fully aware of his genetic condition) and his subsequent splendid start with Club América in Mexico seems to have made the APF medical staff finally come to their senses.

ParaguaySquad

In terms of the domestic-based players there are call ups for Joel Silva who has been playing well for table-topping Guaraní while Oscar Romero is a shoe-in being the best young player in the country at the moment. Nacional’s run to the Copa Libertadores final has rewarded midfielder Silvio Torales and defenders Ramón Coronel and Leonardo Cáceres with call-ups.

FULL SQUAD LIST

Goalkeepers: Joel Silva (Guaraní), Anthony Silva (3 de Febrero)

Defenders: Pablo Aguilar (América, Mexico), Gustavo Gómez (Lanús, Argentina), Junior Alonso (Cerro Porteño), Jorge Moreira (Libertad), Ramón Coronel (Nacional); Leonardo Cáceres (Nacional)

Midfielders: Victor Cáceres (Flamengo, Brazil), Nestor Ortigoza (San Lorenzo, Argentina), Jorge Rojas (Gimnasia LP, Argentina), Silvio Torales (Nacional), Oscar Romero (Cerro Porteño), David Mendieta (3 de Febrero), Miguel Paniagua (Cerro Porteño)

Attackers: Roque Santa Cruz (Malaga), Derlis Gonzalez (FC Basel), Jorge Benítez (Olympiakos), Antonio Sanabria (Roma)

 

 

By Ralph Hannah

Clausura 2014 Week 5: Cerro Porteño vs Guarani preview

Cerro Porteño vs Guaraní
La Olla, Asunción
23/08/2014; 18:30 (23:30 BST)
TV: Tigo Sports (Paraguay)

The biggest game of the fledgeling season, table-toppers Guarani could be pegged back by their hosts Cerro Porteño one of a four-strong chasing pack. Cerro return to La Olla after a successful midweek excursion to Montevideo in the Sudamericana, they have now kept four straight cleansheets as Chiqui Arce’s side begin to click into gear. The aurinegro like their rivals have no trouble finding the net, although a repeat of the 5-5 draw in their previous meeting might be a bit too optimistic.

CerroGuara

The Azulgrana can’t afford to rest players as the league is important for qualification into the 2015 Libertadores, with that in mind Arce will play his strongest team and hopes to welcome back Dani Guiza from injury. The main decision is who he plays as his designated U20s player – either Junior Alonso or José Ortigoza will have to make way for Carlos Montiel or Sergio Diaz respectively, my money is on the former. One of the key players today will be central defender Danilo Ortiz who will have to out muscle Federico Santander, not an easy task.

Jubero will want his team to attack, it is afterall his best form of defence with the aformentioned Santander forming a great partnership with Fernando Fernandez as the youngster almost seems to steal space to always find himself on the end of a flick or cross. Adilson Lezcano had a strong game at right back last week, his pace could help the side on the break although he is likely to find himself pegged back by Cerro’s Oscar Romero. Iván Gonzalez Ferreira is a fantastic player and will look to cause problems by running at the defence, cutting in and shooting from distance – he’ll be a thorn in Cerro’s side all afternoon that’s for sure.

Prediction: 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Carlos Bonet, Bruno Valdez, Danilo Ortiz, Carlos Montiel; Mauricio Sperduti, Fidencio Oviedo, Julio Dos Santos, Oscar Romero; José Ortigoza, Dani Guiza

Guaraní XI (probable): Joel Silva; Adilson Lezcano, Julio César Cáceres, Luis Cabral, Edgar Aranda; Dario Ocampo, Marcelo Palau, Juan Aguilar, Iván Gónzalez Ferreira; Federico Santander, Fernando Fernandez

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair

 

By Ralph Hannah

Copa Sudamericana: Rewarding first week for Paraguayan clubs

A wonderful first week for most of the Paraguayan sides on their Copa Sudamericana adventures – three wins with only Libertad losing but a 1-0 defeat at 3,900 metres above sea level is nothing to panic about. Cerro Porteño put in a good shift to win 2-0 away to a toothless Rentistas in Montevideo while here in Luque the two debutants, General Díaz and Capiatá, were both victorious raising hopes of progressing to the next round.

RENTISTAS 0-2 CERRO PORTEÑO

Strong performance from the azulgrana as they kept their 4th consecutive cleansheet while the forwards played their part as ever. Oscar Romero was alive to José Ortigoza’s hooked pass for the opener and a fantastic stoppage time run and cut back by 36-year-old full back Carlos Bonet gave Julio Dos Santos the chance to convert his 84th goal for the club and seal the victory.

NACIONAL POTOSI 1-0 LIBERTAD

An early freekick that decieved Rodrigo Muñoz in the thin air of Potosí was enough to hand the Bolivians the victory. Pedro Sarabia’s team will be confident they can overturn the result in the comfort of Asunción next week although there is a slight concern that the Gumarelo have only mustered one goal in the last 360 minutes.

GENERAL DIAZ 2-1 COBRESAL

Arguably the toughest opponents of all four sides so it really was a splendid win for the Aguilas against the Chileans. Blas Cáceres had an excellent game setting up the first goal for Argentine Gustavo Toranzo with a great dead ball delivery before assisting the second for Roberto Gamarra to tap in. It was a great response from Humberto Garcia’s side having been pinned back on the half hour mark by the Chileans. All to play for in the Atacama next week.

CAPIATA 3-1 DANUBIO

Like their compatriots Rentistas the Uruguayans failed to impress and literally handed two penalties to Capiata although the second infringement seemed to have been just outside the penalty box. Veteran striker Fabio Escobar had no problem converting both spot kicks either side of half time. Blas Irala connected cleverly to a corner for the third and an almost perfect outing in Luque was blotted by Danubio’s late away goal.

Photo: EFE

Photo: EFE

 

By Ralph Hannah

Copa Sudamericana: Rentistas vs Cerro Porteño preview

Rentistas vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Luis Franzini, Montevideo 
19/08/2014; 17:00 (22:00 BST)
Preliminary Round, 1st Leg
TV: Fox Sports (Latin America)

Cerro Porteño embark on another continental campaign desperate to make an impact having just seen their Barrio Obrero neighbours Nacional reach the Libertadores Final. This is their 9th participation in the Copa Sudamericana, last year they went out at this stage with a surprise home defeat to Uni. Católica which almost cost Chiqui Arce his job. Their best performance remains the 2009 edition of the competition where they reached the Semi-Finals winning in La Paz and beating two Brazilian sides (Goias & Botafogo) on the way.

Photo: Daniel Riveros - Ultima Hora

Photo: Daniel Riveros – Ultima Hora

The Azulgrana will line up without Dani Guiza who is suspended following his red card against Cruzeiro in the Copa Libertadores. José Ortigoza had a great game in the league and he will start with Oscar Romero and Mauricio Sperduti playing off him. Julio Dos Santso will captain the team and while he plays a more withdrawn role these days he can provide goals from midfield, in fact he finished joint topscorer in this year’s Libertadores. In defense there is experience with Carlos Bonet who represented Libertad in this competition many times while centre-back Danilo Ortiz will be under the spotlight with several foreign clubs said to be tracking the 22-year-old who bullies forwards with his rough and tumble approach.

Rentistas aren’t one of Uruguay’s traditional big clubs and have qualified for a continental competition for the first time in their history, they were in the 2nd division in 2010/11 and 2012/13. Their topscorer in last year’s Clausura was Octavio Rivero who has since moved to Chile, so the goal threat could come from youngster David Terans. English football fans may recognize Brazilian midfielder Anderson Silva who played for Barnsley and took part in the giantkilling of Liverpool at Anfield in the 2007/08 FA Cup.

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Carlos Bonet, Danilo Ortiz, Victor Hugo Mareco, Junior Alonso; Fidencio Oviedo, Miguel Paniagua, Julio Dos Santos; Mauricio Sperduti, Oscar Romero; José Ortigoza

Prediction: 0-1

Selected Odds: Rentistas win 3.8, Draw 3.3, Cerro win 2.22, 0-1 away win 6.8, Under 2.5 goals 1.63

Best Bet: Cerro Porteño have kept three straight cleansheets and they’ll be confident they can snatch an important AWAY WIN here

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Stats and Trivia

Cerro Porteño vs Uruguayan opposition  (Copa Sudamericana )

Pld 4 W 2 D 1 L 1 GF 7 GA 4

Cerro Porteño in Montevideo (Copa Sudamericana)

Pld 2 W 1 D 1 L 0 GF 4 GA 2 

Cerro Porteño’s two previous games in Montevideo were in the Centenario where they beat Peñarol (3-1) and drew with Defensor Sporting (1-1)

Cerro Porteñ0 away record (Copa Sudamericana)

Pld 18 W 6 D 5 L 7 GF 28 GA 32

Cerro have only won one of their last 7 away games in the competition, a 2-1 win over Colón de Santa Fe in the 2012 Last 16.
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Authors Note: All odds are selected from Betfair Sports and accurate at the time of writing, there is a live market on this game

Copa Sudamericana 2014: Confirmed Squad Lists

The four Paraguayan clubs in the 2014 Copa Sudamericana, Capiatá, Cerro Porteño, General Díaz and Libertad have confirmed their squad lists (Lista de Buena Fe) for the competition. They are below, for more info on the clubs themselves head over to our club-by-club guide here.

CAPIATÁ

Goalkeepers

Tobías Vargas, Antonio Franco and  Elio Martínez

Defenders

Ángel Martínez, Jorge Balbuena, Jorge Candia, Néstor González, Jorge Paredes, Nelson Figueredo, Arnaldo Pereira, Alfredo Rojas, Arturo Aquino and Víctor Ayala

Midfielders

Édgar Balbuena, Julio Irrazábal, Derlis Ortiz, Ricardo Ortiz, Óscar Ruiz, Carlos Ruiz Peralta, Reinaldo Ocampo, Porfirio Gauto, Carlos Ruiz Peralta, Walter Fretes, Blas Irala and  Gustavo Velázquez

Strikers

Fabio Escobar, Cristian López, Milciades Silva, Jorge Ayala and Jonathan Sánchez

CERRO PORTEÑO

Cerrolistadebuenafe

 

LIBERTAD

ListadeBuenaFeLibertad

GENERAL DIAZ

1 BERNARDO DAVID MEDINA

2 ARMANDO DELFIN GONZALEZ AYALA

3 ROLANDO FIDEL SANABRIA JARA

4 ANGEL OSMAR VERA ESCOBAR

5 DIONISIO MERELES OVELAR

6 CARLOS ALBERTO VERA SEGOVIA

7 VICTOR HUGO DAVALOS AGUIRRE

8 VICTOR HUGO MATTA PEREZ

9 ROBERTO GAMARRA ACOSTA

10 ALBERTO CIRILO CONTRERA JIMENEZ

11 BLAS ANTONIO CACERES GARAY

12 JORGE LUIS GONZALEZ CARDOZO

13 JULIO CESAR GONZALEZ TRINIDAD

14 ALFREDO VIRGINIO CANO BENITEZ

15 CRISTIAN GUSTAVO SOSA

16 OSCAR MOISES GAMARRA

17 ADILIO FABIAN MORA LOPEZ

18 CRISTIAN MARTINEZ MEDINA

19 MARCO ANTONIO PFINGST FARIÑA

20 VICTOR SOCRATES GENES ESPINOLA

21 ALEJANDRO DAVID BERNAL GIMENEZ

22 ORLANDO TOMAS ROJAS CACERES

23 ALBERTO ESPINOLA GIMENEZ

24 MARCOS ANTONIO GAMARRA ARBINIAGALDEZ

25 PEDRO JULIAN CHAVEZ RUIZ

26 GUSTAVO ARIEL TORANZO

27 WILFRIDO MANUEL BAEZ MATTO

28 DIEGO JAVIER DOLDAN ZACARIAS

29 CESAR AUGUSTO CAICEDO SOLIS

30 JORGE AMERICO GIMENEZ GONZALEZ

Copa Sudamericana 2014: Paraguayan club-by-club guide

As ever there are four Paraguayan sides in the Copa Sudamericana, the champion with the most points earned during 2013 (Cerro Porteño) and the three non-champions with the highest points total that didn’t qualify for the Libertadores. Last year’s semi-finalists Libertad return for their tenth appearance while General Díaz and Capiatá will play continental football for the first time in their history just one year after being promoted to Primera.

Libertad

 

ClubLibertadLogoFounded: 30 July 1905

Previous participation: 2013 (SF)

Best finish: Semi Final (2013)

Opponents: Nacional Potosí (Bolivia) and should they progress Barcelona (Ecuador) or Alianza Lima (Peru)

 

All-time record: 

Pld W D L F A
38 17 6 15 43 38


Strengths:
 Experience; many of the players have played in continental competition many times so know what it is to be travelling midweek. Pace; there is plenty of it in the team with players like right back Moreira, midfielders Antonio Bareiro and Jorge Gonzalez and “Pollo” Recalde up front. Focus; having won the Apertura they have qualified for the 2015 Libertadores so can treat this competition as a priority.

Weaknesses: Goalscoring has been an issue in the games Rodrigo López hasn’t played in, hopefully the veteran Uruguayan can stay fit to play a part in the campaign. Central midfield is solid with the presence of Molinas and Aquino but it isn’t dynamic, if they come up against a team that plays at a high tempo they could struggle.

One to watch: Antonio Bareiro is an exciting right winger who enjoys running with the ball and taking on his full back. Don’t be surprised to see his 5 ft 5 in frame rising above defenders to win headers, he has an incredible leap.

Prediction: Last 16

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General Díaz

 

GeneralDiazLogoFounded: 22 November 1917

Previous participation: None

Best finish: N/a

All-time record: N/a

Opponents: Cobresal (Chile) and should they progress Dep. La Guaira (Venezuela) or Atletico Nacional (Colombia)

Strengths: Organization, stability and team spirit which all come from the portly Humberto Garcia who has been coach of the Luque-based club since 2011 overseeing the 2012 Intermedia title win that put them in Primera last year. They are solid in defense with

Weaknesses: A relatively small squad and inexperience at this level. They are also on a rotten run of form in the league.

One to watch: Blas Cáceres had spells and Olimpia and Guaraní and never fails to impress with his pace and crossing down the left, his strike against Cerro Porteño this season is an indication of how talented he is.

Prediction: First Round

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Cerro Porteño

 

Founded: 1 October 1912

Previous participation: 2013 (1st round)

Best finish: Semi-Finals (2009)

Opponents: Rentistas (Uruguay), potentially Trujillanos (Venezuela) or Independiente del Valle (Ecuador) in next round

 

 

All-time record:

Pld W D L F A
36 14 9 13 54 48

Strengths: Great going forward with Oscar Romero, Dani Guiza, José Ortigoza and Rodolfo Gamarra capable of testing the continent’s very best defenders. They had a good Libertadores campaign earlier in the year, going out to Cruzeiro, so this set of players knows what is expected of them.

Weaknesses: For whatever reason they can’t seem to win the big games in continental competition, maybe it is the pressure of knowing they’ve never reached a final or maybe bad luck but they always seem to fall short when it matters.

One to watch: Oscar Romero, I’ve mentioned him many times on this blog but he’s such an exciting player and surely on his way abroad in January. Great movement, excellent technique, pinpoint finishing the kid has got it all!

Prediction: Last 16

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Capiata

 

Deportivo_Capiatá_logo

 

Founded: 4 September 2008

Previous participation: None

Best finish: First time

Opponents: Daubio (Uruguay) potentially Inti Gas (Peru) or Caracas FC (Venezuela) in next round

All-time record: N/a

 

Strengths: They can usually find a goal, either through veteran striker Fabio Escobar or a well-organized set piece. Hector Marecos is a smart coach who works well within his limitations.

Weaknesses: It looks like they won’t be able to play at their home stadium after it failed the CONMEBOL inspection. Like General Díaz they are inexperienced at this level with many some players set to leave Paraguay for the first time. They aren’t tight at the back conceding 37 goals in the Apertura and even in the excellent 2013 Clausura campaign they conceded 32, they could find it hard to avoid letting in an away goal.

One to watch: Oscar Ruiz is only 23 but has already been at several clubs including Libertad and Guarani – but he seems to have settled at Capiatá and the left-sided midfielder has great technique and a knack of arriving in the box at the right time. He scored 9 goals in 2013 and has 4 already this year from midfield.

Prediction: 1st round

 

By Ralph Hannah