We have two games on Saturday then four on Sunday, early kick offs the norm as we are now in autumn (apparently) and we have just one game, the opener, outside of the Asunción/Central nucleus. To remind yourselves what happened last week check the Weekend Wrap and don’t forget to make your own predictions in the comment sections below!
Cerro PF vs Libertad
Estadio Cerro Porteño
Cerro Porteño de Presidente Franco are unbeaten in Ciudad del Este this season and now they play in their home stadium (rather than that of neighbour’s 3 de Febrero) against a Libertad side in freefall (one win in eight). After last week’s home draw with Carapeguá, some Libertad fans stayed behind after the game to vent their anger at the team and goalkeeper Rodrigo Muñoz took the brunt of the verbal abuse. With Libertad flying to the game (rather than a 6 hour coach ride) it might be somewhat of a relief to be playing away from home. Ultimately the quality of the Gumarelo, who line up with six changes from last week, and the absentees in Cerro PF (recent goalscorers Liechtweiss and Recalde are out due to a clause in their contracts) should mean an away win. But then I backed Libertad last time.
Olimpia vs Sol de América
Estadio Manuel Ferreira a.k.a Para Uno
The defending champions and league leaders have just beaten Flamengo and are hurtling down the highway to more success this season. An out of form Sol (one win in five, the other four all defeats) should be no obstacle for the black and white machine operated by captian Orteman. While Olimpia will rest some players, namely Marín and Luis Caballero, they still have quality on the sidelines with Maxi Biancucchi likely to be restored to the starting line up. Left back Gabriel Montiel could make his debut for El Decano. Sol de América lost all four meetings in 2011 scoring just one goal (vía Enzo Prono), it would be unwise to expect a different outcome on Saturday.
Independiente vs Nacional
Estadio Ricardo Gregor
The Independiente unbeaten streak lasted just two games before getting back to losing ways last weekend against Rubio Ñu. Nacional have returned jaded by an arduous trip to Venezuela (they had to fly to Colombia and cross one of South America’s more hostile borders into Venezuela by land to reach San Cristóbal). With that in mind Torrente is set to make changes after analysing energy levels during Saturday’s training session. On the other hand Alicio Solalinde goes with the same XI that lost to Rubio Ñu. Although Nacional are the better team the journey and the home advantage for Independiente might just even things out. A draw.
SELECTED ODDS: Check back on Sunday
BEST BET: For all Independiente’s woes they have only failed to score once this season and often concede early – Overs or Both teams to score could work here
Luque vs Rubio Ñu
Estadio Feliciano Caceres
Rubio Ñu got the monkey of their backs with a win last week after five successive defeats but will be up against it at the Feliciano Caceres where they face a Luque side that also won last week. In general Luque have been slightly better in front of their own fans, winning two and drawing one of the four games played there. They will be missing Jorge Britez, Rodrigo Soria and the important left sided midfielder Juan Pablo Raponi (all injured) but that does mean the exciting young prospect Carlos Florenciañez finds himself in the senior squad. The albiverde have actually won the last three meetings between these sides and are unbeaten in seven against Luque but Rubio Ñu are not as strong this year while the auriazul are fighting for their lives. Home win.
Sportivo Carapeguá vs Tacuary
Estadio Juan Canuto Pettengill
Carapeguá have been the revelation of the season, desperately unlucky to come away with nothing in their opening two games with Olimpia and Cerro Porteño they then changed managers after just four fixtures which has sparked a revival. The draw with Libertad last week, not a bad result in itself, ended a three-game winning run that has seen Carapeguá put a big distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Tacuary on the other hand have been on a downward spiral as readers of this blog will be aware, just can’t see them winning even with the impressive Jorge Ortega in their ranks.
Cerro Porteño vs Guaraní
Estadio General Pablo Rojas a.k.a La Olla
The bad blood between these clubs is present in the stands, on the pitch and even up in the director’s box so expect a heated game in La Olla. The last five meetings have thrown up two wins for either side and one draw and both sides are on good form currently. Pablo Caballero has surprisingly left midfielder Jorge Mendoza out of the squad (reasons unknown) but the aborigen will be looking to Dario Ocampo for creativity and Fabio Escobar for goals. Cerro Porteño have brought Jonathan Fabbro back into the starting line up, partly due to his goal last weekend and partly because he will be motivated by playing against his former club, and a motivated Fabbro is a goal threat. So too is Edgar ‘Pajaro’ Benitez arguably the player of the season who proved against Libertad he can be equally destructive on the left wing as up front.
SELECTED ODDS: Check back on Sunday
BEST BET: Overs the best bet, don’t be surprised if somebody sees red
By Ralph Hannah
Author’s Note: All odds correct at time of writing via Betfair