This week we have another Friday start with the pick of the round between two of Paraguay’s biggest clubs Olimpia and Libertad. League leaders Cerro Porteño play on Saturday and we round off with three games on Sunday involving some of the basement boys and two exciting young teams (Sol and Rubio Ñu). The first three games of the round are on TV followed by the weekend’s final game, foreign viewers can probably find them here. Finally a competition reminder – predict your results in the comments section below, the most correct scores will win a (fake) Paraguay shirt!
Libertad vs Olimpia
Estadio Nicolas Leoz
Libertad and Olimpia are locked on points in the table and although Libertad have home advantage they will have one eye on next week’s Copa Libertadores game. Last season Libertad got the better of Olimpia in both games and you have to go back 10 games since Olimpia last won. Both teams are on an excellent run this year, having only lost once each (away in the Copa Libertadores). I think Libertad by virtue of having a more organised defence will sneak a win although don’t be surprised if Olimpia refuse to lose, they have been very determined and dogged all season.
SELECTED ODDS: Libertad win 2.46, Draw 3.25, Olimpia win 3.1; Under 2.5 goals 1.66, 1-0 scoreline 7.8
BEST BET: Libertad to win seems good value if you are willing to trade out – they have a habit of scoring in the first half
Guaraní vs Sportivo Luqueño
Estadio Rogelio Livieres a.k.a Dos Bocas
Guaraní have come back into form over the last game and a half, rescuing a draw with Libertad then thumping Tacuary last Friday. They seemed to have a settled starting XI after Pablo Caballero initally was unsure who to replace Federico Santander and whether to go for a back three or a back four. With a 4-4-2 formation and the excellent form of Dario Ocampo they look solid, also the injuries to Eduardo Filippini and Jorge Mendoza will be covered competently by Tomás Bartomeus and Luis de la Cruz (who scored last week). I expect a home win, the only small doubt is Luque’s defensive organisation that has frustrated sides (they have only conceded twice, the best record in the league) and who scores first is crucial.
SELECTED ODDS: Guaraní win 2.07, Draw 2.28, Luque win 2.72; Under 2.5 goals 1.65, 2-0 scoreline 7.4
BEST BET: Guaraní at over evens seems great value, expect a low scoring game too although Unders not so tempting at 1.65
Nacional vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Feliciano Caceres
The combination of Nacional’s midweek game, the match being played at a neutral venue and Cerro’s excellent form suggests the ‘away’ side will prevail in this game. Not only did Nacional play on Wednesday night they have another Copa Libertadores game next Tuesday to prepare for. The big absentee for Cerro is Jonathan Fabbro who didn’t train this week due to ‘personal problems’ but he wasn’t likely to start anyway due to the form of Julio Dos Santos. With Edgar Benitez and Santiago Salcedo combining well up front this should be another victory for the league leaders.
SELECTED ODDS: Market not developed yet
BEST BET: Back Over 2.5 goals
Independiente vs Cerro PF
Estadio Ricardo Gregor
Independiente are under new management, with ex-Olimpia star Alicio Solalinde taking the reins and has been gifted with their first home fixture of the season (Independiente’s stadium only passed inspection this week). With neither side impressing offensively this is likely to be a game of few goals, the boost of having a new manager and playing in their own stadium could just be enough for Independiente to record their first win of the season.
Rubio Ñu vs Carapeguá
Estadio La Arboleda
Rubio Ñu have been scoring goals all season and expect them to stay true to their offensive style against Carapeguá. The quality in possession and attacking players on show should be sufficient for Rubio Ñu to rediscover their early season form. Although Carapeguá won last weekend they were playing one of the league’s weakest sides and I can’t see a repeat of last week. Rubio Ñu are missing Eric Ramos (suspended) in central midfield but his replacement is likely to be the talented teenager Roberto Piris da Motta who has a great future ahead of him. Going for a home win here.
Tacuary vs Sol de América
Estadio Roberto Bettega
This game pits two sides struggling for form, Tacuary have been dire whereas Sol started brightly before crashing to two consecutive defeats. This fixture is the perfect chance for Sol to stop the rot and get back to winning ways, they should be able to count on a full strength side which will be more than a match for Tacuary. My prediction is a win for the visitors with Tacuary really needing to go back to the drawing board.
SELECTED ODDS: Tacuary 2.3, Draw 3.3, Sol 3.35; 0-1 scoreline 9.0;
BEST BET: Expect a low-scoring affair, Under 2.5 goals
By Ralph Hannah
Author’s Note: All odds up to date at time of writing and available via Betfair