Olimpia vs Emelec
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
12/04/2012, 18.30 (23.30 BST)
Hit for six by Lanús in Buenos Aires the black and white machine was stopped in its tracks, an eleven game unbeaten streak ripped into shreds and tossed aside. In fact that huge defeat in Argentina threatened qualification hopes only for Flamengo to lose in Ecuador to tonight’s rivals Emelec which has left Group 2 wide open. Olimpia know a win will secure their passage to the next round, a defeat will hand that prize to Emelec while a draw will leave the Paraguayans sweating on news from Rio de Janeiro.
Led by two-time Copa Libertadores winner Sergio Orteman El Decano will be going all out for that vital victory in their standard 4-4-2 but with one key change. Luis Nery Caballero is injured, Maxi Biancucchi (who missed the Lanús drubbing) is on his way back from injury and with the Paraguayan superclásico just three days away Gerardo Pelusso has turned to other options. Arnaldo Castorino has spent most of this year in the reserves but has been named in the starting lineup tonight after coming off the bench to score at the weekend. It means Pablo Zeballos is likely to play a bit deeper and try and create chances, something he did very well against Sol de América recently. The good news for Olimpia fans is that Vladimir Marín has been passed fit for this game after hobbling off in their last Copa Libertadores game, alongside Orteman he has been the player of the tournament so far for the Asunción club.
As for Emelec they managed to steal a win at the end of the game against Flamengo to be in with a chance of qualifying still, a last minute penalty from Fernando Gaibor nicked the victory. But their man to watch is Luciano Figueredo (in keeping with my fascination for bald-headed players) who gave the Olimpia defence a tough time in the Guayaquil mudbath that was the first meeting between these two. He also netted twice against Flamengo and must be contained to ensure Olimpia reserve their place among the best 16 in South America.
Olimpia XI (confirmed): M.Silva; F.Nájera, A.Romero, E.Meza, S.Ariosa; E.Aranda, S.Orteman, F.Caballero, V.Marín; P.Zeballos, A.Castorino
SELECTED ODDS: Olimpia win 1.70, Draw 3.95, Emelec win 6.0; 3-1 scoreline 17.0, Over 2.5 goals 2.02
BEST BET: Back Olimpia, nice odds and they won’t let you down, won 12 of their last 13 home games.
STATS & TRIVIA
Olimpia last 3 vs Emelec
Pld 3 W 2 D 0 L 1 GF 4 GA 3
Olimpia last 5 Copa Libertadores home games Pld 5 W 3 D 1 L 1 GF 8 GA 7Emelec last 5Copa Libertadores away games
Pld 5 W 0 D 1 L 4 GF 1 GA 6
Olimpia’s last 13 victories have been by the odd goal
Olimpia’s all-time Copa Libertadores record is:
Pld 265 W 104 D 78 L 83
==================================================By Ralph Hannah
Author’s Note: All odds up to date at the time of writing, vía Betfair