Cerro Porteño vs Olimpia
Estadio Antonio Oddone Sarubbi
15/04/2012, 16.00 (21.00 BST)
The first superclásico of the year pits second against first in Ciudad del Este (the recently relaid pitch at the national team stadium is being used for a Paul McCartney concert) with nominal home side Cerro Porteño hoping to inflict more pain on Olimpia the latter having been knocked out of the Copa Libertadores on Thursday.
As ever most of the talk in the Cerro Porteño camp revolves around Jonathan Fabbro having been in and out then back in the side recently he now finds himself on the bench for the biggest game of the season. Ultimately it isn’t a question of quality or even temprement but Mario Grana is unable to have both the Argentine and Julio Dos Santos in the middle as he will need two markers to get hold of Sergio Orteman and hustle Fabio Caballero. Dos Santos has won the battle, his form this season makes him one of the first names on the teamsheet and there is the added impact of his experience in this fixture, the former Bayern Munich man will be taking part in his 21st superclásico and has scored four goals against Olimpia. Cerro’s real threat lies in their flanks, Edgar Benitez will start on the left but cut in at every opportunity and try and take on his man, the same goes for teenager Jorge Rojas who, on his day, can skip past challenges at will and will give the infringement-prone Sebastián Ariosa plenty of food for thought.
Olimpia are feeling the strain of the Copa Libertadores, Luis Nery Caballero is back from injury having missed out against Emelec which means Arnaldo Castorino reunites himself with the bench (desperately unlucky seeing that he scored twice in the last two games). The injuries sustained by Martin Silva and Enrique Meza in the last match could rule them out, at the time of writing it was expected that the Uruguayan goalkeeper would make it but doubts lingered over Meza’s fitness. A lot of this game will depend on mental strength with the players undoubtedly fatigued and demoralised by yet another grueling week, the plus side for Gerardo Pelusso is that his team have proved on many occassions that when the chips are down they can produce results. The question is will they be able to do so on the biggest stage.
As ever it promises to be another fascintating battle between these two old rivals in front of a sell-out crowd.
Cerro Porteño XI (probable): D.Barreto; M.Corujo, P.Benitez, L.Cardozo, W.López; F.Oviedo, A.Gonzalez; J.Rojas, J.Dos Santos, E.Benitez; S.Salcedo
Olimpia XI (possible): M.Silva; F.Nájera, A.Romero, S.Candia, S.Ariosa; E.Aranda, F.Caballero, S.Orteman, V.Marín; L.Caballero, P.Zeballos
Selected Odds: Cerro Porteño win 2.34, Draw 2.96, Olimpia win 2.36; 1-1 scoreline 6.8; Olimpia/Draw 12.0, Cerro/Draw 11.5
Best Bet: These games are usually tight and cagey – think Cup Finals – under 2.5 goals is a possibility only three of the last ten have gone over while two have been nil-nil. The draw could be of interest when you consider that six of the last eight meetings have ended equal.
STATS AND TRIVIA
Cerro Porteño vs Olimpia in Ciudad del Este
Pld 5 Cerro W 3 – Olimpia W 1 – Draws 2
Superclásico head-to-head (League Games)
Pld 272 Cerro W 97 – Olimpia W 92 – Draws 83
A sell-out crowd is expected to break the record of 906 million guaranies for the largest gate receipt in the superclásico set at the 2011 Apertura at the Defensores del Chaco, this year’s encounter is set to fetch around 1300 million guaranies (US$300,000).
Olimpia president Marcelo Recanate has promised his players a bonus even if they draw the game.
Carlos Amarilla will referee the game, he has officiated 21 clásicos in the league overseeing 8 Cerro wins, 6 Olimpia wins and 7 draws.
By Ralph Hannah