A selection of Paraguay’s Primera clubs warmed up for the Apertura 2012 in impressive style with victories over international opposition, further justification of the recent rise in the IFFHS rankings from the 18th to 12th best league in the world. While that position might not misleading (I’m not sure Paraguay is really better than the J-League, Mexico or Belgium’s top divisions) the upwards curve is significant as the last few years has seen more money and with it better quality both via the youth ranks and foreign imports.
Defending champions Olimpia led the way with yet another international title, this time the Copa Comunicaciones a quadrangular tournament in Montevideo. In fact they are so accustomed to trophies these days that Adrián Waysburt was snapped in the arrivals hall of Silvio Pettirossi airport with the cup balanced on a suitcase trolley. Blasé to say the least. Having overcome domestic rivals Libertad (1-0) they swept aside Nacional of Uruguay on Staurday night 2-0 with goals from two of their talented young forwards. Alberto ‘Piru’ Contreras led the way with a left-footed finish before Luis Caballero proved why he is in the sights of European and Brazilian clubs with an instinctive finish from Marín’s pass. SEE GOALS HERE.
Incidentally Caballero dismissed any rumours of a move today “We shouldn’t talk about transfers anymore” he said to 780AM at lunchtime “I’m staying at Olimpia”. He had been linked with just about everybody by MR (see glossary) but his agent Jorge Oliva rarely corroborated the claims of offers.
- Staying in Uruguay and defensive-minded Tacuary scored two goals (seriously!) in a draw with Danubio, the strikes coming from Diego Centurión and substiute Cyril Berry (Cirilo Mora) who had been at Serie B’s Vicenza until recently.
- Rubio Ñu were too strong for Argentina’s Boca Unidos twice, the reserve side winning 2-0 (Mario Caceres bagging both) before the senior side won a penalty shootout 5-4 having drawn 2-2. The first albiverde goal came from Benfica’s starlet Derlis Gonzalez (still on-loan to his original club) while new signing Josías Cardoso got the second. The stand out scorer in the penalty shootout was Mario Villasantti, Rubio Ñu’s goalkeeper!
- Cerro Porteño PF played in their hometown (if not home stadium) of Ciudad del Este against the K-League’s Daegu FC. The Korean side put up a good fight before being downed 3-2 with the home side profiting from Rogerio Leichtweis, Cristian Andersen and Arnaldo Recalde’s prowess in front of goal.
While on the subject of international competition don’t forget to check the preview to Libertad’s opening Copa Libertadores fixture tomorrow in Ecuador.
By Ralph Hannah