Paraguay vs Guatemala
Estadio Feliciano Caceres
22/02/12, 20.30 hs (23.30 hs GMT)
Paraguay’s casera outfit play their second friendly in a week having successfully overcome Chile 2-0 in the same stadium last Wednesday. The historic game is the first ever international match involving two Paraguayan coaches, Guatemala’s recent rise in fortunes has been thanks to ex-Paraguay goalkeeper Ever Almeida who won 2 Copa Libertadores titles as a player with Olimpia. It is unlikely he will be on the winning side tonight however, Paraguay will be strong favourites going into this one.
Last week Edgar Benitez and José Ortigoza got their names on the scoresheet and expect them to be key figures again this evening, Benitez has been excellent on the left wing for his club and Ortigoza is in a rich vein of form scoring four goals in his last four games. In terms of young talent the right winger Jorge Rojas (called up due to Rodolfo Gamarra’s injury) was our Player of the Week during round three of the Apertura. The 19-year-old will look to run at defenders and supply crosses to Ortigoza and his likely partner Santiago Salcedo.
Guatemala bring a strong side to this friendly owing to the quality of the opposition, we’ve been told by our Guatemalan expert that Pappa drives the team in midfielder while Jerez offers security in goal. The main man to look out for up top is Ruiz. They come into the game having won their last six encounters albeit against the likes of Belize and Grenada. Paraguay themselves are eight games unbeaten at home, the last reverse a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Chile. In terms of home friendlies it is almost 13 years that they last tasted defeat. Expect that record to stay intact.
PREDICTION: Paraguay to continue good form in friendlies against weaker opposition, 3-0
SELECTED ODDS: Paraguay win 1.29, Draw 5.7, Guatemala win 15.5, Over 2.5 goals 1.91, Paraguay/Paraguay 1.85, 3-0 win 8.2
BEST BET: Not much value on the outright win, I like the Paraguay/Paraguay bet seeing that they have scored in the first half in 4 of their last 6 friendlies
POSSIBLE XI (4-4-2)
J.Silva; T.Barthomeus, L.Cardozo, J.Manzur, R.Salinas; J. Rojas, E.Ramos, F.Oviedo, E.Benitez; S. Salcedo, J.Ortigoza
Paraguay record in Luque: Pld 3 W 1 D 1 L 1 GF 2 GA 2
Paraguay record vs Guatemala: Pld 6 W 5 D 1 L 0 GF 14 GA 5
Paraguay home record (since 2011): Pld 6 W 3 D 3 L 0 GF 7 GA 2
Full Squad list
GK: Tobías Vargas (Luque), Joel Silva (Guaraní)
DEF: Tomás Bartomeus (Guaraní), Pablo Aguilar (Sportivo Luqueño), Julio Manzur (Guaraní), Luis Cardozo (Cerro Porteño), Richard Salinas (Independiente)
MID: Reinaldo Ocampo (Sol de América), Jorge Mendoza (Guaraní), Edgardo Orzusa (Sol de América), Eric Ramos (Rubio Ñu), Marcos Riveros (Nacional), Fidencio Oviedo (Cerro Porteño), Jorge Rojas (Cerro Porteño)
ATT: Edgar Benítez (Cerro Porteño), Santiago Salcedo (Cerro Porteño), José Ortigoza (Sol de América), Ariel Bogado (Nacional).
By Ralph Hannah
Authors Note: All odds correct at time of writing via Betfair