For the first time this season we’ve got a midweek batch of games and almost incredibly Cerro Porteño and Olimpia play on the same day (police doing overtime!). There are only five games, the sixth Libertad vs Nacional is postponed due to Nacional’s trip to México to play Cruz Azul in the Copa Libertadores. These games are the first round of the ‘vuelta’ (return) as everybody will now play each other for a second time to complete the Apertura.
Cerro PF vs Sol de America
Estadio Eudes Pereira de Cerro de Franco
Cerro PF were battered by Sol in the first game of the season but are stiffer opposition at home and have improved as the tournament has gone on evidenced by the victory over Guarani at the weekend. The Danzarin also won on Sunday against the other promoted side Carapegua but this is a longer journey so fatigue might be an issue. Back-to-back triumphs for the home side is probably asking too much especially with goalscoring hero Rogerio Leichtweis suspended. For the visitors a win too is a big ask making me think a draw is on the cards
Independiente vs Guarani
Estadio Ricardo Gregor
Independiente got a much needed win against Tacuary in this ground on Saturday but face a Guarani still stinging from the surprise defeat to Cerro PF. Luis Cabral is back in central defense to add some steel to the Aborigen as they try to become just the second side to keep a cleansheet against Inde in 2012. Of course the real problems for the home team lie in defense but if they can win the midfield battle they might be able to hold their own. At the weekend central midfielders Luis Miño and Jose Baez were on song and they must try and get at Dario Ocampo and Jorge Mendoza to stop them creating chances for the forwards. Unfortunately I’m not convinced Independiente can do that and expect a comfortable win for Guarani.
Cerro Porteño vs Sportivo Luqueño
Estadio Pablo Rojas a.k.a La Olla
It was Luque who got the better of Cerro in their first meeting this season but the managerless home side will have 20,000 fans baying for a win after defeat in the clasico. Several key players weren’t convinced by Grana’s sacking and it will be interesting to see whether interim coach Hugo Caballero ocks the boat and includes fringe players like Roberto Nanni, Luis Caceres or Iván Torres in the first XI. Luque have been scrapping all season winning some and losing some but in Guido Di Vanni they have quality up top, the striker has scored 5 goals now since being promoted from the reserves. The home advantage and quality of the squad should be enough for Cerro Porteño to reignite hopes of a title chase.
SELECTED ODDS: Cerro Porteño win 1.37, Draw win 4.3, Luque win 9.4;
BEST BET: Cerro were a goalscoring machine earlier this season but things have dropped off since then so Overs isn’t obvious, I think its safer just to back the home side although little value, maybe hold out for 15 to 20 minutes!
Carapeguá vs Olimpia
Estadio Juan Canuto Pettengill
The first game between these two sides was a five-goal thriller won by Olimpia but things are different now. The reigning champions are weary but keep grinding our results while El Potro have lost that early season optimism and now with their third coach of the year and an acting president the garden in Paraguari isn’t rosy. Whoever Olimpia play they should have enough to overcome the home side (technically playing on neutral ground but they’ve been there all season) a lot depends on mind over matter as they are staring at their 11th game in less than 40 days. Carapegua’s main threat is Eduardo Echeverria who is joint topscorer from left midfield with eight goals, he scored a wonderful goal against El Decano in the season opener.
Rubio Ñu vs Tacuary
Estadio La Arboleda
Rubio Ñu were embarrassed by Libertad in the last game and have been very unpredictable this season, winning some tough ones early on before a terrible run of defeats. Juan Arce is still fiddling with his team and played Eric Ramos on the left to accommodate teenager Robert Piris da Motta on Monday afternoon which didn’t come off. Tacuary are still finding results hard to come by so I think the albiverde will prevail in the battle between two clubs close geographically and close in quality.
Libertad vs Nacional
POSTPONED DUE TO NACIONAL’S COPA LIBERTADORES MATCH
By Ralph Hannah
Author’s Note: All odds correct at time of writing via Betfair