We kick off tonight (Friday) with the duel betweent the albinegros Libertad and Tacuary with just one game tomorrow an intriguing battle between Nacional and Guaraní. Sunday rounds off the weekend with 2nd placed Cerro Porteño taking on their namesakes from Presidente Franco and Olimpia play Independiente in the Defensores del Chaco still recovering from Paul McCartney’s visit.
Libertad vs Tacuary
Estadio Nicolas Leóz
Libertad are riding high again with nine goals in their last two games but will field several changes with Tuesday’s Copa Libertadores clash with Cruz Azul on the agenda. It shouldn’t have any effect on the result with Luciano Civelli and Rodolfo Gamarra very destructive when replacing Nestor Camacho and Victor Ayala as substitutes against Luque. Up front there could be a start for Maurito Caballero with first choice pair José Ariel Nuñez and Pablo Velázquez already in Mexico having travelled to Guatemala with the national team. Tacuary will hope that their decent historic form in the Nicolas Leóz (3 draws in last 5) saves them from defeat as their current form is dire.
Nacional vs Guaraní
Estadio Arsenio Erico
Guaraní have named all the international call ups despite the long journey back from Central America, the were the hardest hit club with four players making the trip. On top of that they are missing Dario Ocampo and Nelson Romero with injuries which will hamper their chances of scoring. Nacional have decided to give Paraguay’s match winner Ricardo Mazacotte a rest and other thanAriel Bogado’s niggling injury Gustavo Moringio has a full squad to choose from. The tricolor have been strong at home this season winning four out of five games and could nick this one.
Sportivo Carapeguá vs Sportivo Luqueño
Estadio Juan Canuto Pettengill
Luque have suffered two heavy defeats on the bounce and Carlos Kiese has looked to his youth team for answers, promoting 18-year-old creative midfielder Fulvio Chavez to the senior squad. Carapeguá have lost their last four matches which coincides with Eduardo Echeverria’s four-game scoring drought, the club’s fortunes are highly correlated with that of their star player’s. With both teams anxious to gain points to boost their position in the promedio table the onus will be on avoiding defeat more than anything making a draw a probable result.
Rubio Ñu vs Sol de América
Estadio La Arboleda
It takes a braver man than myself to predict a game involving Rubio Ñu this season (well not really as I just predicted it reluctantly) with the albiverde very up and down. Sol de América too have been a bit hit and miss, and tensions ran high last weekend when they conceded a last minute goal to lose at home against lowly Independiente. I’ve plumped for a Sol win mainly on the basis that José Ortigoza is back from injury and as featured yesterday is one of the league’s best strikers. But don’t rule out a Rubio Ñu win if you are a believer in form, they have won 4 of the last 5 in this stadium against the danzarin with a healthy goal difference of 12 to 4!
Cerro PF vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Oddone Sarubbi
Cerro de Franco take on their illustrious namesakes in Ciudad del Este where they have only lost once all year and will be on a high after the comeback to draw 3-3 with league leaders Olimpia last week. Cerro Porteño however are looking determined and efficient if not quite as pleasing on the eye as earlier on in the season. With that in mind it is more likely to be a professional victory rather than an emphatic one, I think it will an away win by the odd goal.
Independiente vs Olimpia
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
Assuming my previous prediction holds true then Olimpia will enter this game knowing the gap is just two points having been as wide as seven after the superclásico. Maxi Biancucchi sits this one out, his second game of a two match ban, while the injury list is still notable with no place for Fabio Caballero or Salustiano Candia. Independiente can also look to a positive record against El Decano having drawn with them earlier in the season they have also drawn 2 of the 3 previous meetings in the Defensores. With that in mind it won’t be the walkover their respective league positions suggest.
By Ralph Hannah