Copa Libertadores Preview: Olimpia vs Flamengo

Olimpia vs Flamengo
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
28/03/2012, 22.00

Ronaldinho has come to town with his Flamengo team looking for revenge against Olimpia who ‘did a Liverpool’ two week’s ago in Rio de Janeiro. Whenever Olimpia or Cerro Porteño play a big Copa Libertadores game the whole country shifts its attentions from the major topics (currently the invasion of bats and cold weather) and focuses on football. At the garage, in the bank, even in the police station all the talk today has been about tonight’s match and whether this current Olimpia side really is as good as those vintage crops of 1979, 1990 and 2002. A win would be the best way to prove it.

Ronaldinho arrives in Asunción - Photo: Paraguay.com

Gerardo Pelusso makes just one change from the Rio de Janeiro starting XI, Pablo Zeballos is in hot scoring form (three in three) so he replaces Maxi Biancucchi in a 4-4-2. Olimpia’s defence struggled against the dribbiling ability of Wagner Love last time round but Gerardo Pelusso indicated he won’t try and kind of man marking on him or the other offensive bright lights. As anybody who has watched El Decano this season will know their best quality is their spirit, this group of players refuse to be beaten whatever the circumstances and have showed it time and again in 2012. In fact they’ve only tasted defeat once (against Emelec) in the last 19 competitive matches.

Vladimir Marín scored the equaliser last time - Photo: D10.com.py

Flamengo will be an intriguing prospect, Joel Santana is naturally an attack-minded coach but he might be more cautious having felt the full force of Olimpia’s firepower in those crazy fifteen minutes two weeks ago. The group is very tight too, a home win would see Flamengo relegated into third place with another away game to come next week against Emelec. The key will be to get the ball to Ronaldinho or Wagner Love as much as possible if they are to do some damage, there is no doubt the quality of that pair is too much for the Paraguayan champions to contain, therefore Olimpia will be most concerned about cutting the supply to these world class stars. Their efficacy in that task will decide the result

Olimpia XI (confirmed): M.Silva; F.Najera, A.Romero, E.Meza, S.Ariosa; E.Aranda, S.Orteman, F.Caballero, V.Marín; P.Zeballos, L.Caballero

Prediction: You must be joking after last time!

SELECTED ODDS: Olimpia win 2.6, Draw 3.35, Flamengo win 3.05; 1-0 scoreline 9.0, 3-3 scoreline 80.0, Over 2.5 goals 2.1

BEST BET: Don’t write off Olimpia, a small bet on them outright is what I’ll be doing

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STATS & TRIVIA

Olimpia last 6 vs Flamengo

Great caricature from Ultima Hora

Pld 6 W 2 D 2 L 2 GF 9 GA 8 – this includes three Copa Mercosur games (the forerunner to Copa Sudamericana)

Olimpia last 6 vs Brazilian sides in Copa LibertadoresPld 6 W 1 D 3 L 2 GF 13 GA 8 – includes 2002 final 2nd leg against São Caetano

Olimpia go into the game having only lost once in the last 19 outings in all competitions.

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By Ralph Hannah

Author’s Note: All odds up to date at the time of writing, vía Betfair

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