Had a wonderful midweek with my Week 12 preview incredibly accurate for once including the Olimpia and Sol de América scores being spot on and the Cerro Porteño result just a 93rd minute goal from being perfect! This weekend we have the games spread over three days (Saturday to Monday) before Chiqui Arce takes a casera squad to Guatemala in the last friendly before the crucial La Paz qualifer against Bolivia. As always the kick off times are local time which is currently five hours behind British Summer Time (e.g. 4 hours behind GMT).
Olimpia vs Cerro PF
Estadio Manuel Ferreira a.k.a Para Uno
Olimpia have won the last nine games in the league and have been strong in Para Uno all season, in contrast Cerro de Franco have been good at home but struggled on their travels. The only question mark hanging over the league leaders is an injury crisis with three players hobbling off against Carapeguá as the casualty list keeps growing. The good news is that Pablo Zeballos isn’t one of those, he has found his scoring touch again and is one of the most devastating strikers in the league when on form. Home win.
SELECTED ODDS: None at time of writing
BEST BET: Although I predicted 2-0, Olimpia have been winning consistently by one goal, if you like the look of Cerro de Franco then think about the Asian Handicap
Sol de América vs Independiente
Estadio Luis Giagni
Independiente were pipped late on by Guaraní in midweek while Sol earned a credible draw with Cerro de Franco thanks to Bruno Valdez’s first senior goal. In theory the danzarín at home and against weak opposition should run riot, that should hold true even without José Ortigoza still out injured. The good news is that David Mendieta is back in midfield and played well in midweek he should help spur the home side on to a comfortable win.
Sportivo Luqueño vs Libertad
Estadio Feliciano Caceres
Luque were blown away in the final few minutes against Cerro Porteño but can take heart from the brave performance in the first hour of that match. Libertad have been finding their form again, now ubeaten in six games (four wins) and players like Nestor Camacho and Jonathan Santana have brought flair and mobility to the side. Crucially Libertad didn’t have to play during the week which has given them more time to prepare for this fixture and that is enough for me to plump for an away win in this one.
SELECTED ODDS: None up at time of writing
BEST BET: Libertad have been more free scoring recently but are always prone to conceding so go for Over 2.5 goals
Guaraní vs Rubio Ñu
Estadio Dos Bocas
It has been a tough week for Rubio Ñu, beaten 5-1 by Libertad on Monday they returned to action on Thursday against Tacuary only for the game to be called off at halftime thanks to a ferocious storm. On Friday they were set to finish off that match but La Arboleda didn’t pass a pitch inspection and now on Sunday they play Guaraní. Although the albiverde were triumphant in the previous meeting Guaraní have improved since then and have been very strong at home winning four of the five games at Dos Bocas this year. The only thing that could prevent a home win is if Derlis Gonzalez can use his pace to upset Julio Manzur and the aborigen defense something he did to great effect last time round.
Cerro Porteño vs Carapeguá
Estadio La Olla
Following that strong finish against Luque there is no reason why Cerro Porteño shouldn’t stretch their 100% record at La Olla to eight games (dating back to November 2011). Edgar Benitez is almost unstoppable when running at defenders full tilt, ably accompanied by Jorge Rojas on the other flank. While Carapeguá will employ their firm style and look to Eduardo Echeverría for goals it is improbable that it will reap rewards against the league’s second best side this season.
SELECTED ODDS: None up at time of writing
BEST BET: Try Cerro Porteño/Cerro Porteño – they are playing well and Carapeguá won’t be able to hold out as long as Luque did midweek
Tacuary vs Nacional
Estadio Roberto Bettega
Tacuary were lucky to have escaped having to play on Friday and it will be their opponents who go into this one jetlagged, Nacional had to traipse back from Mexico after losing to Cruz Azul. Not that it seems to affect the tricolor last time they returned from an away game (in Venezuela) they won 5-2 in the league! Add to that Nacional’s excellent record here (four wins in the last five with a +6 goal difference) and it wouldn’t be crazy to think an away win is on the cards.
By Ralph Hannah
Author’s Note: All odds correct at time of writing via Betfair