Weekend Wrap: Sepp Blatter opens, Derlis Gonzalez stars and Coco Basile goes mystic

All the news from Week 1 of the Paraguayan Primera, each week we’ll concentrate on one game –  this week’s feature is Tacuary vs Rubio Ñu which Paraguay Football attended. All the goals from the weekend are here.

Main game

Tacuary vs Rubio Ñu
Estadio Roberto Bettega
(0-1) 0-1 – Derlis Gonzalez ’39

A Rubio Ñu fan watches intently at the Bettega

It was rather appropriate that on a sweltering day in Viña Cué the first chance of the game fell to Rubio Ñu’s right winger Cesar Flames (real name César Llamas) a swirling shot. That attack set the tone as the flowing football of the albiverde was overpowering the desperately defensive set up of Tacuary. In reality the tone was being set by Toro Acuña, one month short of his 40th birthday, in Rubio Ñu’s midfield, with just a handful of fans his shouts and commands could be heard ringing round the stadium situated a few blocks away from nowhere.

Predictably the best player on the pitch was Benfica’s Derlís Gonzalez, his flourescent boots screaming ‘I’m already getting paid a European salary’. Whatever that salary is he was proving he was worth it, from his habitual set piece spot just withdrawn from the far post and when Diego Chamorro’s wicked corner fizzed past everybody he was on hand to steer the ball in.

Long shadows during Rubio Ñu victory

Tacuary did their best to get something from the game via set pieces, a free kick that rebounded off the wall was met with a fierce volley from the impressive Gabriel Vieira and just before haflt time a corner was headed over by Diego Vieira (no relation). Tacuary’s dead ball pressure paid off at the start of a second half, Rubio Ñu unable to defend a corner fairly gave away a penalty. Diego Centurión who had been linked with a move to Guaraní stepped up to see his shot saved by the Jorge Chena – the Paraguayan Primera players need to take lessons from Wayne Rooney.

The Tacuary revival was over, that missed penalty and the strange withdrawal of Jorge Ortega, who had linked up well with his midfielders behind him, took the wind out of their sails. Juan Arce on the RÑ bench did do his best to make things interesting though with the quite wild decision to go three at the back and have his wingers playing wing backs. Diego Chamorro was a lost puppy as Vieira ran at him in a total mismatch, fortunately for him Toro’s lungs were as spent as his legs and he didn’t have enough air to administer a rollicking. Arce’s second substitution was better than his first, Derlis Gonzalez looked like he had cramp so the Brazilian Josias Cardozo came on to inject some pace and put Tacuary on the back foot again.

Sunset over Viñas Cué at the Bettega

The final word went to Toro, a stoppage time free kick was awarded and the man who received the whole squad for pre-season training at his country home curled the ball over the wall and past the ‘keeper only to spank the stanchion. It didn’t matter, the away side had done enough a vital three points to kick off their campaign. After the game President ‘Puchi’ Ruiz Diaz gave fellow owner Carlos Gamarra a bear hug – the first step towards continental qualification.

The TV games

Olimpia vs Sportivo Carapeguá
Estadio Manuel Ferreira
(2-1) 3-2 – Luis Caballero ’20 & ’69, Adrián Romero ’38; Eduardo Echeverria ’39, Ever Barrientos ’51

Olimpia’s stadium was only authorised to host their opener at the last minute and with a reduced capacity, the rush job to get it done was only too obvious in the first few minutes when the game was stopped for a rogue advertising hoarding. Olimpia looked comfortable with three at the back, the wing backs brought natural width and the central defenders were able to cover even without much help from young Fabio Caballero and a more forward thinking Sergio Orteman

Pelusso directing proceedings from the box Photo: D10.com.py

The Uruguayan veteran became the focal point of the game on 18 minutes, Maxi Biancucchi (this man’s cousin) won a penalty from the hotheaded Wilson Quiñonez. Yet the goalkeeper made amends with a fantastic penalty save. Wait. The referee spotted encroachment and ordered a re-take. Orteman steps up to make amends, the player of the tournament in the 2011 Clausura goes for power but blazes over.

Carapeguá hardly had time to celebrate, just a minute late Luis Caballero poked hopefully with his right foot with the erratic Quiñonez too weak in the wrist to stop the tame effort. In the 38th minute the goalkeeper was again rushing out and this time the penalty was more doubtful, Marín the one to hit the deck. Olimpia swapped penalty takers but defender Romero’s shot was incredibly saved only for the ball to fall at his feet and he made no mistake. 2-0 and the life taken out of the Potro? No! Echeverría scored goal of the week (see below) just a minute later, Carapeguá’s one thousand travelling fans sparked into life as did the team, Echeverría again flashing one wide before half time

Caballero scored twice against Carapeguá

All game Olimpia had wasted set pieces by trying to work short corners or intricate routines, Carapeguá showed them how it is done with the old fashioned whipped corner to the back stick, Ever Barrientos (top scorer in Intermedia last year) outjumped his marker and ‘Big Dunced it’ past Silva to equalise. The scores were only level for 15 minutes or so as Olimpia found that extra gear, a deft touch from Biancucchi found Luis Caballero on the edge of the box who swept in with his left foot.

The game descended into controversy with red cards either side to Orteman and Barrientos and referee Mercado became increasingly card happy as he lost control of the players. Another poor performance from a Paraguayan referee unfortunately. After the game the man of the match Luis Caballero said “we had a lot of chances 1st half, the 2nd half was harder…it was important to start with a win” A great game of football, Olimpia did the necessary and Carapeguá showed that this year will be one heck of a rollercoaster ride.

Luque vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Feliciano Caceres
(0-0) 2-0 – Juan Abente ’68, Pablo Gimnénez ’94

CCP were too cool in their new Diadora shirts to come out on time, keeping the  expectant crowd baking in the 36c heat. On that note Paraguay Football is happy to report that both sets of fans behaved themselves and there was no violence inside the stadium.

Cerro's new kit (concentrate on the kit) Photo: Footballfashion.org

No team on top after 20 mins with very few clear cut chances. Diego Barreto makes best save of game in 40th min from header. As things heated up before half time debutant Walter Lopez began a shoving match in the box and reports came from the press box that a Cerro fan had fainted due to sunstroke (although it may have been a ruse to not have to watch more of the dire football). Seconds before the 45 minutes were up Raponi forced a great save from Barreto again proving why he is Paraguay’s number one.

Courtesy of Club Sportivo Luqueño - Prensa

The second half begins with Barreto making another amazing save from Toto Gamarra, what a game he was having, looking much better with his trademark beard. Luque came more and more into the game with Cerro Porteño devoid of ideas it was Luque’s veteran captain César Caceres Cañete pulling the strings in midfield.  Predictably it was Luque who opened the scoring, Juan Abente who must visit the same hairdresser as David Luiz glanced home a header from a corner to send the Kure into delirium.

Mario Grana reacted by tugging off the mercurial Jonathan Fabbro for the frankly average Alejandro da Silva. Then Walter López who hadn’t had a good debut got a second yellow card for a bit of Bruce Lee and the game was all but over for El Ciclón. After 85 minutes Caceres Cañete put the ball in the net on a Luque breakaway, gets on one knee to celebrate only to see the flag up for offside and moments later Cerro’s other newbie Fidencio Oviedo managed to get two yellows in two seconds, first for the rash challenge and then for throwing the ball at the referee. The icing on the cake for the home side was a 94th minute counter attack that ended in Pablo Giménez sealing the victory.

Man of the match Cañete with his kids, Photo: Club Sportivo Luqueño - Prensa

Luque in seventh heaven, Cerro in centenary comiseration. Caceres Cañete deservedly given the man of the match while Grana was left to rue his decision of taking off Fabbro and having so much faith in much hyped Oviedo.

Libertad vs Nacional
Estadio Nicolas Leoz
(1-0) 1-0 – Cristian Menéndez ’20

Paraguay Football was a the Tacuary vs Rubio Ñu game so didn’t get to see this one. Nothing to add.

Team of the Week: Diego Barreto (Cerro Porteño); J.Moreira (Libertad), J.Manzur (Guaraní), A.Romero (Olimpia), E.Ariosa (Olimpia); G.Vieira (Tacuary),E.Ramos (Rubio Ñu), C.Caceres Cañete (Luque), N.Camacho (Libertad); F.Santander (Guaraní), L. Caballero (Olimpia)

Player of the Week: Federico Santander may have played his last game for Guaraní with Racing of Argentina so sure of signing him that their ancient manager Coco Basile said “he should score twice for his farewell”. Either Santander was listening intently or Coco is a mystic because the 20-year-old striker did just that, a brace to win the game for the Aborigen.

Mystic Coco at the Copa America 2011

Goal of the Week: If your first ever goal in the top flight is going to be anything, let it be this – Eduardo Echeverria’s control and volley into top corner (1:00)

Moment of the Week: Joseph Blatter kicked off proceedings with Nicolas Leoz here is a montage 

Quote of the Week: “Oh are we still on air? We’ll keep going then” – Paraguay commentator after power cut in his commentary box

Donkey of the Week: This one’s for you Sergio (Orteman) – two missed penalties and a red card, somebody is still in holiday mode.

Booking of the Week: Ex-Liverpool defender Ronald Huth got far too excited on the Luque substitute’s bench after their first goal racing towards the corner flag and forgetting that there was a linesman in front of him. The assistant was bowled over and Huth received a yellow card for his over exuberance.

Controversies: Pretty much the whole performance of Mercado (and his assistant) during Olimpia vs Carapeguá – criminal offsides not flagged, yellow cards instead of reds (Luis Caballero elbow anybody?) and of course the penalties given to Olimpia. Personally I think the first penalty was right but the second (which they eventually scored from) was doubtful. Ultimately though the poor performance of the referee did not favour either team it just detracted from the excellent football from both sides. In the Cerro Porteño game both red cards were justified, we don’t know if Fidencio Oviedo’s reaction for his second yellow was on purpose but if he just walks away he avoids any problems.

Results: Guaraní 3-1 Independiente, Olimpia 3-2 Carapeguá, Tacuary 0-1 Rubio Ñu, Libertad 1-0 Nacional, Sol de América 4-1 Cerro Porteño PF, Sportivo Luqueño 2-0 Cerro Porteño

By Ralph Hannah

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