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

Clausura 2014 Week 4: Guaraní vs Sol de América preview

Guaraní vs Sol de América
Dos Bocas, Asunción
17/08/2014; 15:30 (20:30 BST)
TV: Tigo Sports (Paraguay)

The Aurinegro finished second in the Apertura and have started this campaign well despite losing topscorer Jorge “Conejo” Benítez to Europe. They are currently on a 13-game unbeaten run stretching back to early May and have won their last two matches following a draw in the season opener. Three points today would put them in pole position.  Sol have also had a solid start, they were unlucky to lose their opener against Libertad and the 1-0 win over Rubio Ñu last week will be a confidence boost going into today’s clash.

Guarani will go top with a win - Photo: Club Guarani

Guarani will go top with a win – Photo: Club Guarani

Youngster Fernando Fernandez has been leading the line for Guaraní and is partnered by the ever-dangerous Federico Santander. Spanish coach Fernando Jubero relies on the grit and determination of Uruguayan Marcelo Palau in midfield to protect his back four. Dario Ocampo is as always a dangerous figure whether starting or coming off the bench with his darting runs and through balls, Iván Gonzalez Ferreira is an excellent runner with the ball, the Aborigen are full to the brim with offensive talent and will surely find the net today at home.

The Danzarín have lost central defender Bruno Váldez to Cerro Porteño but this week they gained the experience of veteran Claudio Morel Rodriguez who had played at Boca while Pompei was on the coaching staff there. In midfield the main threats are from Edgar Orzuza on the right hand side and Ignacio Miño in the middle who managed six goals in the Apertura. Up front Diego Vázquez is a very intelligent player and he is joined by the talented and temperamental Claudio Correa. Another striker, Cecilio Dominguez is back from his 4-game loan to Nacional where he played the semi-final and final of the Copa Libertadores although he might be rested today.

Prediction: 2-0

Best Bet: Home win is odds on but it is a good bet, if you can find Guaraní to score more than one goal that is also a strong option

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

Sol de América XI (probable): Gerardo Ortiz; Aureliano Torres, Adalberto Goiri, Raúl Cáceres, Celso Cáceres; Edgar Orzuza, Ignacio Miño, Edgar Villasboa, Marcos Duré; Diego Vázquez, Claudio Correa

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair

 

By Ralph Hannah

Clausura Week 4: Rubio Ñu vs Cerro Porteño preview

Rubio Ñu vs Cerro Porteño
La Arboleda, Asunción
15/08/2014; 19:00 (00:00 BST)
TV: Tigo Sports (Paraguay)

Having got their first win under their belt last weekend, Chiqui Arce’s side are looking to go momentarily joint top tonight in Asunción as Paraguay’s capital city celebrates her 477th birthday. Rubio Ñu have garnered just one point from their opening three games with relegation a very real possibility for the Trinidad-based club. Despite that start the albiverde can celebrate the fact they are playing Cerro Porteño at their home ground, a very rare occurrence and made possible thanks to the recent installation of floodlights. Expect a capacity crowd on this bank holiday Friday and events like these can only serve to improve the local league.

La Arboleda hosts tonight's game Photo: Julio C.Fernandez - Prensa Rubio Ñu

La Arboleda hosts tonight’s game Photo: Julio C.Fernandez – Prensa Rubio Ñu

The big blow for Cerro Porteño is the absence of Spanish striker Dani Guiza who is carrying an injury, it seems likely that Rodolfo Gamarra will play just off José Ortigoza in a blend of pace and power. New signing Mauricio Sperduti made his mark last game with a fine cross to set up Julio Dos Santos who has been in the goals of late, in fact he finished joint topscorer in the Copa Libertadores. Defense has been an issue, Victor Mareco still doesn’t convince and although Junior Alonso is a better left back than Montiel it is the latter who will probably start to fill the designated U20s cuota.

Rubio Ñu have struggled of late with no wins in five if you go back to the end of the Apertura, coincidentally their last victory was versus Cerro Porteño in that tournament, it was 4-1 capping a purple patch for Pablo Caballero’s team. Ex-Cerro striker Ale da Silva is set to start and other players to look out for is the Argentine midfielder Sergio Escalante and youngster in central midfield Roberto Piris who has a lovely range of passing. The defense is experienced with 4-time World Cup veteran Denis Caniza at centre-back and 33-year-old Uruguayan Diego Ciz at left back. Although for all their experience the collective lack of pace is likely to be exposed by Cerro’s rapid attack.

Prediction: 1-2

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals – this is traditionally high scoring as both team’s philosophies are based on attack, the goals per game average is 4.1 over the last 10 games!

Rubio Ñu XI (probable): Mario Santilli; Gustavo Giménez, Celso González, Denis Caniza, Diego Ciz; Sergio Escalante, Ismael Roa, Robert Piris, Diego Figueredo; David Pereira, Alejandro Da Silva

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

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair

 

By Ralph Hannah

Copa Libertadores Final: San Lorenzo vs Nacional preview

San Lorenzo vs Nacional
Nuevo Gasómetro, Buenos Aires 
13/08/2014; 20:15 (01:15 BST)
Final, 2nd Leg (1-1 aggregate)
TV: Fox Sports (Latin America)

Just ten years ago the Tricolor were crowned Intermedia champions earning a return to the Primera División, captain Raúl Piris was part of that team, now he has the chance to lift the continent’s most prestigious trophy and arguably the second most important club trophy in the world. It has been a remarkable rise for this historic yet tiny club, their stadium in Barrio Obrero has only had floodlights for just over a year and getting more than 1,000 people into the Arsenio Erico for a league game is rare. But now they stand on the edge of glory, Julio Santa Cruz’s last gasp equalizer in the first leg in Asunción means they don’t have to take the game to San Lorenzo and they will be stronger with the return of key players.

Santa Cruz scores - AFP PHOTO / GUSTAVO SEGOVIA

Santa Cruz scores – AFP PHOTO / GUSTAVO SEGOVIA

Nacional simply couldn’t get the ball of Ortigoza at the base of the Cuervo midfield in the first leg and while it will be a difficult task tonight they welcome back defensive midfielder Marcos Riveros who was sorely missed in Asunción. With his presence the Academia will have more bite in midfield and should see more possession. Brian Montenegro is also back and is likely to play up front with Fredy Bareiro, the youngster is such a clinical finisher which makes him a great asset for a team set up to play on the break and likely to create few chances. The key player in the 2nd leg games to date has been Ignacio Don the goalkeeper and the 32-year-old will need to continue his fine form to give the Paraguayans a chance of snatching the silverware.

Conceding the late equalizer was  a sucker punch for San Lorenzo but they will have taken heart from their dominant performance and the fact they’ve won 5 of their 6 home games in this competition. Ignacio Piatti has joined Montreal Impact which is obviously a big blow but there is plenty of quality in Romagnoli the 20-year-old Villalba and the hard working Mercier who belies his 34 years with his constant running.

Nacional XI (probable): Ignacio Don; Ramón Coronel, Raúl Piris, Leonardo Cáceres, David Mendoza; Marcos Melgarejo, Marcos Riveros, Silvio Torales, Derlis Orué; Brian Montenegro, Fredy Bareiro

Prediction: 2-0

Selected Odds: San Lorenzo win 1.46, Draw 4.4,  Nacional win 10.0, 2-0 home win 5.8, Under 2.5 goals 1.72

Best Bet: San Lorenzo have been so strong at home while Nacional haven’t won away since 2009, the home win seems the right choice

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Stats and Trivia

The last side to win the 2nd leg away in the final was Estudiantes in 2009 managed by former Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella

Nacional’s only other Copa Libertadores game on 13 August was in 1986 and ended in a 2-1 defeat to Olimpia

Gustavo Morinigo, aged 37, is the youngest manager in the final since Marcelo Bielsa who took Newell’s to the final in 1992

Nacional vs Argentinian opposition  (Copa Libertadores)

Pld 7 W 3 D 3 L 1 GF 9 GA 6

Nacional in Argentina (Copa Libertadores)

Pld 3 W 0 D 2 L 1 GF 2 GA 3 
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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