Week Two Wrap: Clásico a bore draw as Guaraní consolidate top spot

There were no goals in the clásico and little chances either end as once again Diego Centurión of Guaraní grabbed the headlines scoring two more goals to take his tally to four for the season and put his team at the summit. Here is a round-up of the main games.

Olimpia vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Manuel Ferreira a.k.a Para Uno
(0-0) 0-0

A strange clásico amidst the backdrop of black and white as the away team Cerro Porteño had only been offered 30 tickets which were refused by the azulgrana board. There were no goals to speak of and little incident in a game that probably came too early in the season and too soon after the recent clash, these two ended up cancelling each other out. Cerro will be more pleased with a point, they were after all the visiting side and played the last 15 minutes with ten men as Fidencio Oviedo was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Fabbro gets the better of Candia – Photo: D10.com.py

El Ciclón were definitely the best team in the first half, under siege from the boisterous home fans but putting Olimpia under the cosh on the pitch, Jonathan Fabbro was excellent and unlocked the black and white defence several times with some excellent passes. The strategy was to get the ball behind the defence to Rodrigo López or Jorge Rojas as much as possible, it worked but the players were unable to capitalise. In the second half El Decano improved, they stopped giving the ball away as cheaply and began to gain territory although they were mostly limited to long shots or set pieces. Any chance of Cerro Porteño nicking a goal ended with Oviedo’s sending off and they sat back as the Benitez’s (Pedro and Cesár) along with Luis Cardozo repelled everything that came their way.

===========================

Tacuary vs Libertad
Estadio Roberto Bettega
(0-0) 1-1 – Ramón Cardozo (pen) 88′, José Ariel Nuñez 75′

A frustrating Friday night for the Libertad fans who saw their team work so hard to break the deadlock before handing the draw to their opponents. More to the point it was 17-year-old substitute Maurito Caballero who was at fault, needlessly sticking his arm up in the box which gave away the penalty. Ramon ‘Tacuarita’ Cardozo announced his return to Paraguayan football with a coolly taken spot kick.

Before that Libertad had deservedly taken the lead through José Ariel Nuñez, set up by Pablo Velázquez for the second week running. In fact it was Caballero who started the move heading back a poor clearance into the ‘mixer’ and Velázquez cushioned a header into the path of Nuñez, the striker chested the ball down and volleyed home in style. The draw keeps Tacuary floating above the relegation zone  and on four points with a host of sides including Libertad.

========================================

Other results: Guaraní go top of the league as the only team with a 100% record, it was that man Diego Centurión on fire with two goals in the 3-1 victory. On Sunday Sol and Rubio Ñu played out a 1-1 draw while Nacional and Luque couldn’t find the net in the Arsenio Erico. As predicted in the preview the winners of Carapeguá vs Cerro de Franco was decided by their respective goalscorers Jorge Ayala and Rogerio Leichtweis. The latter scored twice in the 2-1 away win with his adversary getting the consolation for Carapeguá who are yet to win in their new stadium.

The team from Alto Parana are the only azulgrana to record a victory thus far – Photo: D10.com.py

Bad Odours: The Cerro Porteño players were forced to sit outside the changing rooms before the game and during halftime due to an unusual smell. Olimpia said it was the fresh paint used just before the game, personally sounds like

Fossati rumbled: Jorge Fossati was spotted communicating with his assistant from the stands by the TV broadcaster just after kick off, although he wasn’t rumbled by the referee until well into the second half. Fossati’s assistant was sent to join him in the stands.

Team of the Week:  Carlos Servín (Tacuary); Gustavo Gimenez (Tacuary), Pedro Benítez (Cerro Porteño), Enrique Meza (Olimpia), Marcos Miers (Nacional); Sergio Escalante (Sol de América), Carlos Paredes (Olimpia), Jonathan Fabbro (Cerro Porteño), Iván Gonzalez Ferreira (Guaraní); Diego Centurión (Guaraní), Rogerio Leichtweis (Cerro de Franco)

Player of the Week: Diego Centurión was unlucky to miss out last week but the former Roma trainee who nearly saw his career ended by injury (before Tacuary last year he was a street vendor while playing part time for Atlético Caaguazú) is now showing his true talent. A strong header and cute left foot curler doubled his goal tally and he is currently the topscorer in the league with four in two games.

Centurión was plucked from obscurity – Photo: D10.com.py

Goal of the Week:  Not many to choose from but it is Diego Centurion’s second of the game (you can find it in the link below) – a lovely team move started by Palau who found Ocampo, the Argentine exchanged passes with Mendoza before feeding the ball to Centurion who curled in a first time effort with his left foot.

Stat of the Week: 3  - is the magic number for Guaraní, the side had gone 19 games since they last notched up a treble in a game

ALL THE GOALS

By Ralph Hannah

Copa Sudamericana 2012: Olimpia and Tacuary unable to find the net

It was a mixed night for the Paraguayan sides who both failed to score, the difference being Olimpia earned a credible draw in Montevideo while Tacuary slumped to a 1-0 loss at home. The likelihood that the latter will progress to the next round is very low considering they will be playing in Calama at 2600 metres altitude. Olimpia on the otherhand can be pleased with a solid result, riding their luck at times, and will expect to overcome Danubio in Asunción.

Danubio vs Olimpia
Estadio Luis Franzini
(0-0) 0-0

Danubio nor Olimpia couldn’t warm up the crowd with a goal – Photo: D10.com.py

Gregorio Perez got his second spell at Olimpia underway with a decent draw in Montevideo against Danubio that puts them in the driving seat for the return leg. The Uruguayans had the better chances, hitting the woodwork three times, and the best player on the pitch was undoubtedly 21-year-old Leonardo Melazzi who looked the most likely source of a goal. For most of the game El Decano were restricted to shots from distance, Richard Ortiz and Maxi Biancucchi both forcing saves, but their best chance came with nine minutes to go. Substitute Arnaldo Castorino broke at pace and fed the ball through to Julio Santa Cruz but Roque’s younger brother was unable to make the difference as his shot was saved by the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Goicoechea.

Olimpia XI: Martín Silva; Alfredo Rojas, Julio César Cáceres, Salustiano Candia, Sebastián Ariosa; Eduardo Aranda, Carlos Humberto Paredes, Fabio Caballero, Richard Ortiz; Maximiliano Biancucchi, Julio Santa Cruz

Subs: Miguel Amado for Fabio Caballero, Arnaldo Castorino for Maxi Biancucchi, Osvaldo Hobecker for Eduardo Aranda

Return Leg: 07/08/2012, 20.45 (01.45 BST) in Para Uno, Asunción

================================================

Tacuary vs Cobreloa
Estadio Roberto Bettega, Asunción
(0-0) 0-1 – Patricio Troncoso

The Chileans got the better of Tacuary – Photo: EFE

As expected a defensive-minded affair between two sides looking to capitalise on a mistake by the other side, Tacuary were strong in defence for the most part and as ever their dependable goalkeeper Carlos Servín made some excellent saves when called upon. However, even he couldn’t stop Patricio Troncoso’s ferocious shot which broke the deadlock and looks certain to have earned the Chileans passage into the next round.

Tacuary XI: Carlos Servín; Gustavo Gimenez, Ronald Huth, Diego Viera, Gregor Aguayo; Reinaldo Ocampo, Gustavo Noguera, Marcos Gimenez, Marcos Acosta Rojas, Raúl Román; Jorge Ortega

Subs: Juan Nuñez for Gregor Aguayo, Nicolas Martinez for Gustavo Noguera, Fabian Caballero for Raúl Román

Return Leg: 07/08/2012, 18.15 (23.15 BST) in Estadio Municipal de Calama, Calama

By Ralph Hannah

Copa Sudamericana 2012: Tacuary vs Cobreloa preview

Tacuary vs Cobreloa
Estadio Roberto Bettega
24/07/2012, 20.30 (01:30 BST)

The team that finished bottom of the Apertura table are in continental action for the first time since 2007 and will be desperate to try and spring a surprise against their Chilean opponents in the first leg of their first round tie. Tacuary have brought back striker Ramon Cardozo after a successful stint in Perú but it is their defence that will be key. Remember the preview to the other game tonight involving Olimpia is here. 

Tacuary look forward to their first continental game in 5 years – Photo: Futgol3D.radio970am.com.py

Gonzalo Ocampo usually prefers a 4-5-1 formation but is expected to go for a 4-4-2 to partner Cardozo with Jorge Ortega, also on the right-hand side of midfielder is Reinaldo Ocampo a talented winger. The defence’s key component is Carlos Servín, an outstanding young goalkeeper, and also includes ex-Liverpool central defender Ronald Huth. Expect Tacuary to be organised and attempt to score via a set piece or on the counter attack.

Cobreloa were unable to register all of their players in time for this game but still come with a strong team and with ex-Cerro Porteño, Nacional & Libertad coach Javier Torrente at the helm, Tacuary’s defensive style will pose no surprises. My gut feeling says this will be a fairly stale affair with Torrente happy to set his team up defensively to avoid getting hit on the break and waiting for the return leg in Calama where

Tacuary XI (probable): Carlos Servín; Gustavo Gimenez, Ronald Huth, Diego Viera, Gregor Aguayo; Reinaldo Ocampo, Juan Nuñez, Edgar Fernandez, Marcos Acosta Rojas; Jorge Ortega, Ramón Cardozo

Prediction: 0-0 or 1-1

Selected Odds: Tacuary win 2.44, Draw 3.25, Cobreloa win 3.35, 1-1 scoreline 7.0, Under 2.5 goals 1.72

Best Bet: I think Unders seems a pretty safe bet in this one

====================================

Stats and Trivia

Tacuary’s first game against Chilean opposition

Tacuary last 5 home (All Competitions)

Pld 5 W 0 D 4 L 1 GF 3 GA 6

Tacuary results in Continental Competitions

Tacuary 1-1 Defensor Sporting – Copa Sudamericana 2007

Defensor Sporting 3-0 Tacuary – Copa Sudamericana 2007

Tacuary 2-2 Palmeiras – Copa Libertadores 2005

Palmeiras 2-0 Tacuary – Copa Libertadores 2005

====================================

By Ralph Hannah

Author’s Note: All odds correct at the time of writing via Betfair

2012 Copa Sudamericana: Paraguay clubs preview

The end of the winter brings the start of ‘the other half of the glory’ better known as the Copa Sudamericana, considered to be the Europa League of South American football. This year Paraguay has four clubs participating, Olimpia qualified as being the side with the highest accumulative points in the previous calendar year they are accompanied by the teams with the 4th, 5th and 6th highest points totals, Cerro Porteño, Guaraní and Tacuary respectively.

We go through a one-by-one look at the sides, their strengths, weaknesses and players to keep an eye on. Check the blog next week for in-depth previews of the 1st round matches with games involving the sides on 24th & 26th August.

Olimpia

Founded: 25 July 1902

Previous participation: 2011 (Last 16)

Best finish: Last 16 (2011)

Opponents: Danubio (Uruguay), potentially Emelec/Uni. San Martin in next round

Strengths: They have experience in international tournaments and this group of players have excellent mental character which will serve them well in this knock-out competition. While not particularly exciting, the all-Paraguayan central midfield trio of Richard Ortiz, Fabio Caballero and Eduardo Aranda is effective and will be a wall in away ties. Gregorio Perez is a wily coach who is tactically astute.

Weaknesses: Goals could be difficult, not that Maxi Biancucchi and Fredy Bareiro don’t have the talent but they might not get the service they need.

One to watch: Richard Ortiz, an exciting left-footed player who has been deployed at full back but more recently central midfield. Determined, combative and with a decent shot from long-range the 22-year-old could have been in Europe by now had it not been for a long-term injury sustained in November that he’s recently recovered from.

Prediction: Last 16

============================

Guaraní

Founded: 12 October 1903

Previous participation: 2010 (2nd round)

Best finish: 2nd round (2010)

Opponents: Oriente Petrolero (Bolivia), potentially Millonarios/Inti Gas in next round

Strengths: Like Olimpia the central midfield is formidable with the Uruguayan duo of Sergio Orteman and Marcelo Palau, but they also have exciting options on the flanks with the likes of Luis de la Cruz, Dario Ocampo and Iván Gonzalez Ferreira. Defensively they are also sound with Eduardo Filippini and Elvis Marecos experienced full backs.

Weaknesses: Lack a first class striker to mark the difference in key games

One to watch: Sergio Orteman has been signed by Guaraní after having his contracted terminated with Olimpia, he has a great track record in international tournaments and his experience and talent will help drive the aborigen through the early stages.

Prediction: Last 16

============================

Cerro Porteño

 

Founded: 1 October 1912

Previous participation: 2010 (2nd round)

Best finish: Semi-Finals (2009)

Opponents: O’Higgins (Chile), potentially Mineros de Guayana/La Equidad in next round

 

 

Strengths: Wonderful array of attacking talent which is on a par with the top clubs in this competition, Jonathan Fabbro and Santiago Salcedo could do some real damage in this tournament. Coach Jorge Fossati also knows what he takes to win the Sudamericana trophy having picked it up with LDU Quito in 2009.

Weaknesses: In an effort to incorporate both Fabbro and Dos Santos, Cerro often only play with just one holding midfielder – Fidencio Oviedo – it is a huge responsibility and if the Paraguayan isn’t at the top of his game the azulgrana could be overrun by opponents.

One to watch: Jonathan Fabbro is the man for the big games, he rises to the occassion and can score deadly freekicks or long-range pearlers, just ask Colo-Colo and Santos fans. Expect him to play

Prediction: Quarter-Finals

============================

Tacuary

 

Founded: 10 December 1923

Previous participation: 2007 (1st round playoff)

Best finish: 1st round playoff (2007)

Opponents: Cobreloa (Chile) potentially Barcelona/Táchira in next round

 

Strengths: Carlos Servín the goalkeeper has often kept cleansheets when the side should have lost by 3 or 4 goals and the defensive solidity of Tacuary could be a source of frustration for their international adversaries not aware of their style of play.

Weaknesses: Where do we start? Tacuary were awful last year but have managed to pick up a lot of players for a potential cup run and more importantly to preserve their status in Primera. Midfield seems the weak link as Raúl Román is getting on and they really need somebody to get up and down the pitch and link with the strikers.

One to watch: Reinaldo Ocampo is a shrewd signing, he played well at Sol de América during the Apertura and was deservedly handed a chance to play for the national team in the selección casera. The right winger could help with the attacking spark so often lacking.

Prediction: 1st round

 

By Ralph Hannah

20 July 2012

Apertura 2012: Week 20 Preview

Penultimate weekend of the Apertura (with a round of games scheduled for midweek) and a win for Olimpia on Saturday against Sol de América will mean they can secure the title before the superclásico. Carapeguá and Cerro de Franco will be desperate to try and earn more points to help stave of relegation while Luque and Tacuary have also found themselves dragged into the mire.

Nacional vs Independiente
Estadio Arsenio Erico
30/06/2012, 15:00
Prediction: 2-1

Nacional will be smarting from the 5-0 thumping handed out to them by Cerro de Franco on Tuesday, they also face an in form Independiente side who are now unbeaten in seven games following their 1-0 win over Rubio Ñu. However Nacional have usually prevailed against ‘smaller’ sides at home just like they did last weekend against Carapeguá. I think they can overcome Independiente but it will be close.

BEST BET: With the home win by no means a certainty you might want to look into Over 2.5 goals – games involving these sides have averaged 3.05 so far this season only Sol de América (3.2) have seen more goals on average in their matches.

Rubio Ñu vs Luque
Estadio La Arboleda
30/06/2012, 15:00
Prediction: 2-0

Luque preparing to visit Rubio Ñu – Photo: Prensa Club Sportivo Luqueño

Rubio Ñu are playing so badly they couldn’t even give their new manager, Blas Cristaldo, a win last week. Luque too are in disarray, increased fan violence (a knife was thrown onto the pitch) has seen them banned from their home stadium for the two fixtures after this game and the hooligan element sent a death threat to the head of referee’s this week. On the field Luque just aren’t scoring, only hapless Tacuary have less goals, and with defenders Ronald Huth and Claudio Vargas suspended it tips the scales in favour of the albiverde.

Sol de América vs Olimpia

Estadio Defensores del Chaco
30/06/2012, 17:30
Prediction: 1-2

L-R José Ortigoza, Enzo Prono, Lorenzo Frutos – the league’s highest scorers Sol de América – Photo: Courtesy of Enzo Prono

Sol de América are the form side in the league and have the division’s most profitable partnership in José Ortigoza and Enzo Prono (21 goals between them) and they always give Olimpia a good game. However, they usually give them a good game then lose as has been the case in the previous five meetings. El Decano on the other hand can smell the title, their front three are playing very well and will be hugely motivated by the possibility to wrap up the title this weekend (if they win and Cerro lose). I can only see the nominal away side (game being played in national stadium in front of Olimpia fans) winning this.

Tacuary vs Carapeguá
Estadio Roberto Bettega
30/06/2012, 18:00
Prediction: 0-1

Tacuary have just had two games in against Olimpia and Cerro Porteño so will undoubtedly be slightly tired as they face a Carapeguá side who were full of energy against Libertad and ended that encounter on a high with a last-minute equaliser. Personally I was very impressed by Carapeguá’s organisation and while scoring goals had been their problem since Eduardo Echeverría’s purple patch ended they’ve managed at least one in the last five despite only picking up one win. Just one goal will be enough against Tacuary and I think they can get it.

BEST BET: I’m convinced by Carapeguá but if you’re not so sure look at Under 2.5 goals, Tacuary are ultra-defensive and neither side are likely to score twice

Libertad vs Cerro de Franco
Estadio Nicolas Leóz
01/07/2012, 15:30
Prediction: 2-1

Victor Caceres has been ruled out for Libertad – Photo: Club Libertad Prensa

Libertad were unconvincing midweek but were a minute away from taking all three points such is their quality, I can see something similar happening this weekend. Cerro de Franco are looking very good and motivated recording back-to-back wins for the first time this year. Libertad have been hot and cold since getting knocked out of the Libertadores and are basically playing for third place which isn’t a great incentive for players of this standard. However with some fresh faces expected in the line up (Victor Cáceres and Luciano Civelli won’t play) they will want to impress the coach and ultimately at home Libertad should take this.

Guaraní vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
01/07/2012 17:45
Prediction: 1-2

L-R Santiago Salcedo & Jonathan Fabbro scorers against Tacuary – Photo: La Nacion Paraguay

A crucial game, whatever the result on Saturday this is a ‘must win’ for Cerro Porteño and the azulgrana have got their eyes on the prize since Jorge Fossati took over, there is a doubt over Jonathan Fabbro (missed training with flu) but even without him the team spirit is there. Guaraní are playing well (2 losses in last 8 which was to Olimpia and LibertaD) but there is still pressure on the team and Pablo Caballero which seems bizarre. With Julio Manzur out of contract the aborigen will have a tough time defending against a rampant Cerro attack, I doubt they will hold out. Away win.

BEST BET: Should be decent value on Cerro


By Ralph Hannah

Author’s Note: All odds correct at time of writing via Betfair for more betting tips check out CaStRoF betting tips

Midweek Wrap: Olimpia close in on number 40

Olimpia’s victory in the clásico añejo has taken them on the verge of back-to-back league wins and their 40th domestic title. They sit four points clear of Cerro Porteño with three fixtures to play between now and July 8th. The final meeting is of course the superclásico between these two great rivals. Here we round up the week with the usual awards at the bottom and some sad goings on in Luque.

Olimpia vs Guaraní
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
(1-0) 2-0 – Pablo Zeballos (pen) 11′, Maxi Biancucchi 50′

A compact and professional performance by Olimpia earned an important victory that was mainly down to their excellent front three. It was epitomised by the two goals which both involved all of the terrific trio. In the first half Luis Caballero released the pacey Maxi Biancucchi who was felled by goalkeeper Pablo Aurrecochea in what was a red card offence but punished with a just a booking. Pablo Zeballos stepped up to convert the resulting penalty, his sixth goal of the season.

In the second period Biancucchi got the goal denied by the Guaraní goalkeeper previously, this time it was good work by Caballero to find Zeballos and the number ten slotted a through ball to ‘Mini Maxi’. The Argentine controlled well with his right foot before shifting the ball onto his weaker left and finishing emphatically. The closing stages saw the aborigen probe for a consolation mainly through Dario Ocampo, but El Decano were resilient in defence and kept their fourth cleansheet in five matches.

Olimpia XI: Martín Silva; Renzo Revoredo, Francisco Nájera, Salustiano Candia, Eugenio Montiel; Eduardo Aranda, Miguel Amado, Richard Ortíz; Pablo Zeballos ; Maximiliano Biancucchi, Luis Caballero

Subs: Carlos Humberto Paredes for Luis Caballero, Julio Santa Cruz for Pablo Zeballos, Arnaldo Castorino for Maxi Biancucchi

Guaraní XI: Pablo Aurrecochea; Eduardo Filippini, Elvis Marecos, Luis Cabral, Edgar Aranda; Iván González Ferreira, Juan Aguilar, Marcelo Palau, Luis de la Cruz; Dante López, Nelson Romero

Subs:  Fabio Escobar for Edgar Aranda, Jorge Mendoza for Juan Aguilar

=============================

Cerro Porteño vs Tacuary
Estadio La Olla
(0-0) 2-0 – Santiago Salcedo 82′, Jonathan Fabbro 87′

The game started as expected, after just five minutes Cerro Porteño had won four corners and it seemed the gamble to play Edgar Benítez at left wingback was paying off with Tacuary showing no attacking intent. Jonathan Fabbro looked motivated, at one point he was even seen busting a gut to track back 30 yards, and found space early on and nearly scoring with a vicious drive tipped over by Carlos Servín. But with Tacuary disciplined and the home team throwing balls into the box to no avail, the best chances were a long range Fabbro free kick and a fierce shot by Fidencio Oviedo diverted for a corner by Servín. The halftime whistle went and Tacuary had hardly crept out of their own half let alone risked shooting.

For Cerro Porteño the second half followed a worryingly similar pattern as the first, plenty of possession, plenty of crosses but no celar cut chances and even when they got a slice of luck with a deflection that looped into the top corner it was palmed away by the super Servín. Jorge Rojas entered the fray but even the tricky winger was unable to unlock the defence with his first forays from right wing back. Finally with Fabbro having no luck from dead ball situations nor Julio Dos Santos nor Edgar Benítez, the responsibility fell to Santiago Salcedo and the striker made no mistake to the relief of the club’s fans. His free kick was sent low through a gap in the wall surprising Servín to put El Ciclón ahead. With just eight minutes remaining Tacuary finally showed some ambition and incredibly almost equalised following a nice attacking move that ended with the shot flashing just wide. But Cerro had the final word, Rojas burst down the right wing and picked out Jonathan Fabbro with a square ball placed between two defenders that the Argentine gleefully converted to cap another good individual performance under Jorge Fossati.

Cerro Porteño XI: Pablo Gavilán; Luis Cardozo, Pedro Benítez, César Benítez; Luis Cáceres, Fidencio Oviedo, Julio Dos Santos, Édgar Benítez; Jonathan Fabbro; Santiago Salcedo, Guillermo Beltrán

Subs: Jorge Rojas for Luis Cáceres, Alejandro da Silva for Guillermo Beltrán, José Domingo Salcedo for Edgar Benítez

Tacuary XI: Carlos Servín; Gustavo Giménez, Gustavo Acosta Pera, Diego Viera, Grégor Aguayo; Pablo Espinoza, Marcos Giménez, Marcos Acosta Rojas, Ever Ortiz; Raúl Román; Jorge Ortega

Subs: Edgar Fernandez for Ever Ortiz, Lorenzo Silva for Raúl Romá, Jorge Alvarenga for Pablo Espinoza

=============================

Carapeguá vs Libertad
Estadio Juan Canuto Pettengill
(1-1) 2-2 – Esteban Ramirez 31′, Ever Amarilla 90′, José Ariel Nuñez 38′, Maurito Caballero 59′

Libertad gifted their opponents a goal late on to draw and mathematically end any chances of winning the league title. It was an energetic game with Carapeguá offering ample attacking threat as well as defending well for long periods of the game. Early on Libertad controlled possession with little penetration which gave the home side hope they could get something out of the match. On the half hour mark Esteban Ramirez got inside the box and while his scuffed shot caused no danger he managed to regain the ball from Jorge Ayala who had held it up with his back to goal and smash home from the six yard line.

Libertad are used to falling behind and they equalised just seven minutes later, Pablo Velazquez with a cute ball into the area for his strike partner José Airel Nuñez, the 23-year-old latched onto the pass and finished with his left foot with a precise side-footed shot between goalkeeper and defender. The Gumarelo went ahead just after halftime thanks to Porto-bound (probably) Maurito Caballero who came off the bench to score with his first touch. It was a characteristically instinctive goal a double defensive error and with El Potro’s backline static he anticipated the flight of the ball to tap in.

The sides couldn’t be separated in Itaguá – Photo: D10.com.py

With that victory was secured, or so it seemed, but Libertad went on the back foot and were suddenly conceding ground to a Carapeguá side that wouldn’t give up. Víctor ‘Topo’ Cáceres, making his 200th and last appearance for the club, was replaced by a defender to try and see off the onslaught but ultimately he was caught ball watching at the end in some shocking defending. A deflected shot looped over the Libertad rearguard and with goalkeeper Rodrigo Muñoz staying on his line the ball was allowed to bounce, still the Guma stood like statues and when the ball was hooked back into the area there was Ever Amarilla unmarked in space to earn a vital point in the battle to avoid the drop.

Carapeguá XI: Gustavo Arévalos; Diego Cantero, Rubén Maldonado, Marcos Arce, Jorge Florentín; Julio Irrazábal, Esteban Ramírez, Diosnel Almirón, Rodrigo Cantero; Ricardo Ortíz, Jorge Ayala

Subs: Pedro Rojas for Diosnel Almirón, Diego Benítez for Marcos Arce, Ever Amarilla for Ricardo Ortíz

Libertad XI: Rodrigo Muñoz; Carlos Bonet, Cristian Nasuti, Joe Bizera, Miguel Samudio; Víctor Ayala, Víctor Cáceres, Néstor Camacho, Luciano Civelli; José Ariel Núñez, Pablo Velázquez

Subs: Maurito Caballero for Luciano Civelli,Carlos Martínez for José Ariel Nuñez, Ismael Benegas for Víctor Cáceres

=============================

OFF THE BALL

Blas betrays tradition: The old Paraguay football saying ‘The manager that debuts, wins’ was blown out of the water by Francisco Garcia’s excellent strike to hand Independiente a 1-0 win over Blas Cristaldo’s Rubio Ñu

Ortigoza at the double: José Ortigoza netted twice to see of Luque in a game marred by crowd violence. The Luque fans threw a knife at Sol de América midfielder Sergio Escalante when he was subbed off which landed a bit too close for comfort. They also threatened their own players, most notably Jorge ‘Mono’ Britez and it emerged today that the fans had left a death threat with the President of the Referee’s comittee warning him to make sure the referee ‘performed’ at the next match. Ugly times for the side facing relegation.

Nacional knocked for five: Amazingly not only did Nacional fail to win they were given a ‘paliza’ by Cerro de Franco who beat them 5-0, an incredible scoreline. The visitor’s must be missing defender Herminio Miranda now in Mexico with Puebla.

Orteman stays in Paraguay: Finally, the major transfer story of the week is Sergio Orteman who has decided to stay in Paraguay by signing a one-year contract with Guaraní. The two-time Copa Libertadores midfielder will team up with compatriot Marcelo Palau in central midfield for the Clausura.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Carlos Servín (Tacuary); Gustavo Gimenez (Tacuary), Francisco Nájera (Olimpia), Pedro Benítez (Cerro Porteño), Diego Ciz (Sol de América); Julio Irrazabal (Carapeguá), Cristian Andersen (Cerro PF), Fidencio Oviedo (Cerro Porteño), Jonathan Fabbro (Cerro Porteño); Maxi Biancucchi (Olimpia), José Ortigoza (Sol de América)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Maxi Biancucchi can be a frustrating player sometimes, always wanting to take players on and wasteful in front of goal, but against Guaraní he was part of an excellent front three and won the penalty before scoring a great individual goal himself.

Maxi Biancucchi is player of the week – Photo: D10.com.py

GOAL OF THE WEEK: Independiente’s Francisco Garcia has been here before for a similar strike, picking it up on the left wing cutting inside and looping a long range effort over Osvaldo Cabral in the Rubio Ñu goal

DONKEY OF THE WEEK: Luque fans – not all of them of course but that pocket of ‘barra’ who are making it unsafe for supporters, players and officials to enjoy football in the Feliciano Cáceres.

STAT OF THE WEEK: 2 – the win over Guaraní was Olimpia’s first two-goal victory since November of 2011!

ALL THE GOALS HERE

By Ralph Hannah

Apertura 2012: Week 19 Preview

The political crisis in Paraguay meant Week 19′s games were moved from the weekend to Tuesday and Wednesday presuambly to avoid any crowd trouble. The major game’s are of course those at the top of the table, Cerro Porteño take on whipping boys Tacuary while Olimpia and Guaraní meet in the clásico añejo the oldest rivalry in Paraguayan football.

Cerro de Franco vs Nacional
Estadio Antonio Oddone Sarubbi
26/06/2012, 14:30
Prediction: 1-2

Nacional relaxed ahead of trip out east – Photo: Club Nacional Prensa

Cerro de Franco picked up a nice win against Rubio Ñu and have been playing well but Nacional too were excellent in the 2nd half last weekend. With the extra rest days allowing them to recover from the journey to Ciudad del Este an away win is on the cards because they have the quality.

Independiente vs Rubio Ñu

Estadio Ricardo Gregor

26/06/2012, 15:00
Prediction: 1-1

Two teams playing badly and affected by managerial changes, Independiente have been poor since their coach left while Rubio Ñu named former Cerro Porteño manager Blas Cristaldo as their new boss this week, caution suggests a draw. The only chance of an away win is if Cristaldo’s appointment has instilled confidence in the albiverde.

Sportivo Carapeguá vs Libertad

Estadio Juan Canuto Pettengill
26/06/2012, 15:00
Prediction: 1-2

Libertad vs Carapeguá in pre-season

Libertad have way too much quality for a Carapeguá side struggling to get goals or points at the moment, should be an away win even if the Guma’s star player Topo Cáceres is involved in yet another transfer saga.

Sportivo Luqueño vs Sol de América
Estadio Feliciano Cáceres
26/06/2012, 18:00
Prediction: 1-1

Luque and Sol are fairly evenly matched, while Sol are stronger offensively they have a weak defence and Luque have proved themselves very hard to beat recently, unbeaten in five with four draws during that run. The home advantage also makes me lean away from the Sol win despite the excellent partnership between Enzo Prono and José Ortigoza.

Olimpia vs Guaraní
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
26/06/2012, 19:00
Prediction: 2-1

Palau will be out to try and stop Olimpia Photo: D10.com.py

Olimpia shouldn’t suffer against Guaraní as they did versus Tacuary last week, the aborigen are more expansive and will leave more space in behind for Pablo Zeballos and company to exploit. Guaraní did well to turn the game around against Sol de América, Iván Gonzalez Ferreira was excellent as the attacking outlet and Marcelo Palau is very important as the holding midfielder. However in this derby game it is likely that Olimpia will have a little bit too much for their rivals in attack and will edge this one.

SELECTED ODDS

Olimpia win 1.6, Draw 3.3, Guaraní win 2.86

BEST BET: Hard one, the gut feeling is that there will be over 2.5 but recent stats suggest Olimpia will draw or win to nil which could be a safer option

Cerro Porteño vs Tacuary
Estadio Gral. Pablo Rojas a.k.a La Olla
27/06/2012 19:00
Prediction: 2-0

Diego Barreto misses game – Photo: paraguay.com

Only a miracle saved Tacuary last week, actually two miracle saves by their goalkeeper. On the other hand Cerro played brilliantly and were unlucky to lose against a very good Libertad team, if they play anything close to that level they will win easily against Tacuary. The only big miss is Diego Barreto, the goalkeeper is still suffering dizziness after colliding with the upright against Nacional, Pablo Gavilán will continue and was a bit uncertain at times.

SELECTED ODDS

Cerro win 1.2, Draw 4.0, Tacuary 7.0

BEST BET: Cerro on the handicap, if they play like they did against Libertad they should win comfortably.


By Ralph Hannah

Author’s Note: All odds correct at time of writing via Betfair for more betting tips check out CaStRoF betting tips