The gap is five again, Olimpia are five points ahead of Cerro Porteño thanks to the Biancucchi brothers Maxi and Emanuel. The former scored a winner deep deep into stoppage time while his older brother grabbed a brace to sink Cerro Porteño in La Olla. The Paraguay Football Blog was at Dos Bocas this weekend for a fantastic five-goal thriller between Guaraní and Libertad, there were another five strikes in Sunday’s amazing match between Sol and Nacional. All four games are featured below.
Guaraní vs Libertad
Estadio Dos Bocas
(1-2) 2-3– Carlos Hidalgo 29′, Elvis Marecos 86′; Jonathan Santana 1′, Gustavo Mencia 26′, Rodolfo Gamarra 64′
Libertad made nine changes to the side that drew with Cruz Azul but still managed to beat a Guaraní side who committed from some grave defensive errors to lose a game they maybe could have won. While it was a thoroughly entertaining game, the match was marked with controversy and violence, Carlos Amarilla turning down several penalty appeals for the home side, a home fan was injured by a stone presumably thrown from Libertad’s barra and a small group of the Guaraní barra hounded Jorge Burruchaga out of the stadium (more on that in OFF THE BALL below).
The Gumarelo were first out the traps, Marcos Melgarejo was too quick down the right and his cross found both Cristian Menendez and Jonathan Santana in acres of space. The former stretched out a leg to kill the pace on the ball and the latter was on hand to rifle the ball into the net with just a minute on the clock. During the first half the Aborigen found it hard to cope with Libertad’s pass and move game in particular Rodolfo Gamarra and Melgarejo were very good at pulling their opposing defenders out of position. In contrast when they did get hold of the ball Pablo Caballero’s team looked good but were unable to carve out many clear opportunities. The locals had two penalty shouts, the first for a handball which then fell kindly to Edgar Aranda who couldn’t score, the second looked like a push inside the box but was hard to tell from the stands.
Just 26 minutes into the game and Guaraní fell behind again after more slack defending bordering on the comical. There seemed no danger when two defenders contrived to put the ball out for a corner, Gustavo Mencia scored from the resulting set piece after more poor defending. Carlos Hidalgo managed to keep the game alive by pulling back a goal a few minutes later, a pass from the right found the Colombian on the edge of the box and his composed side-footed finish was palmed into the net by Rodrigo Muñoz. Moments earlier the same player had been denied by a good stop from Muñoz after a turn and shot inside the area. The final 15 minutes of the opening period were intense and real end-to-end stuff, Aranda should have passed but opted to shoot on a 3 vs 2 break while Gamarra was denied by a super stop from Joel Silva’s legs having been free just five yards out.
There was no way the second half could survive at the same tempo and the drop in pace seemed to suit Guaraní who began probing for the equaliser until double disaster struck in the space of three minutes. First Marcelo Palau got his marching orders for a second yellow card and then they conceded a third, Silva’s weak save pushed the ball straight into the path of Gamarra who tapped in. The introduction of Fabio Escobar for the disappointing Dante López brought more chances but the same result as the number ‘9’ was unable to mark the difference. Guaraní missed the creativity of Dario Ocampo, out with injury, but also have struggled for goals since Federico Santander left for Racing and have relied heavily on the midfield and defence to get on the scoresheet. The Aborigen’s second goal of the night was scored by left-back Elvis Marecos, his second of the season, a header following a corner. It followed a sustained period of pressure that had forced Muñoz into a string of saves and ended the actioin in this pulsating encounter that saw Libertad take home the points.
Guaraní XI: Joel Silva, Eduardo Filippini, Luis Cabral, Julio Manzur, Elvis Marecos; Ivan Gonzalez Ferreira, Marcelo Palau, Jorge Mendoza, Edgar Aranda; Dante Lopez, Carlos Hidalgo
Subs: Jorge Benitez for Edgar Aranda, Fabio Escobar for Dante López, Nelson Figueredo for Julio Manzur
Sent Off: Marcelo Palau (2nd Yellow)
Libertad XI: Rodrigo Muñoz; Jorge Moreira, Pedro Sarabia, Joe Bizera, Gustavo Mencia; Marcos Melgarejo, Víctor Ayala, Jonathan Santana, Néstor Camacho; Rodolfo Gamarra, Cristian Menéndez
Subs: Carlos Martinez for Marcos Melgarejo, Maurito Caballero for Cristian Menéndez, Víctor Cáceres for Néstor Camacho
Cerro Porteño vs Independiente
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
(2-0) 3-0 – Francisco Garcia 8′, Michel Godoy 14′, Imanol Iriberri 73′
Against Olimpia, Independiente were two goals up after 15 minutes but found things much harder against Cerro Porteño. The home side were in control of the game from the off and rarely allowed Independiente to get their possession and passing game going. Cerro included Jonathan Fabbro and Julio Dos Santos in the starting XI making it a very offensive line up, Jorge Rojas on the right, Edgar Benitez on the left and two strikers up front.
It seemed to work as the first 30 minutes were dominated by the azulgrana who just couldn’t find a goal despite getting the ball forward quickly and into the penalty area at every opportunity. Imanol Iriberri gave the centenary club a scare when he go the wrong side of Pedro Benitez on 22 minutes but shot wide. Towards halftime the visitors were more involved in the game and looked more comfortable in possession, of course a team like Cerro Porteño will create chances regardless and Fabbro’s sublime pass to Edgar Benitez almost brought the first goal, an excellent save by Cardozo. Another Benitez, Pedro, was the closest in the first half his header off the bar having stayed up from a freekick.
Just six minutes into the second half Cerro finally got their break, Pajaro Benitez was too clever for Aldo Vera and earned a penalty from the midfielder. There was a brief moment where Fabbro questioned Benitez’s decision to take the penalty which seemed justified seconds later, the spot kick was saved (impressively) by Cardozo. Five minutes later things got much worse for Cerro as they fell behind to Emanuel Biancucchi’s strange goal. The Argentine was put through thanks to a deflected pass and tried to chip Diego Barreto who had rushed out, the chip was mishit but Biancucchi continued running and finished into an empty net. If Barreto had been a bit hasty to leave his goal then he redeemed himself almost immediately with a wonderful save from Iriberri following a corner that would have doubled Independiente’s lead.
The goal should have served as a wake up call to Cerro but instead it inspired Independiente who began to surge forward in search of a second. It also seemed the decision to remove Santiago Salcedo for a defender was a bad one and it didn’t take Hugo Caballero long to change things again bringing on Roberto Nanni for Mariano Uglessich. That seemed to settle Cerro down but they weren’t as dominant as the first period and with 15 minutes to go they conceded to cap a miserable evening. Barreto had made an incredible save from Iriberri who was put through one-on-one but the ball came back at Cerro and Biancucchi headed in a cross at close range his fifth goal of the year.
Cerro looked for a miracle but it wasn’t coming, Beltrán headed wide from Luis Caceres’ cross, Nanni turned in the box but his shot was cleared off the line by Michel Godoy then Beltrán had another shot that flashed wide. Finally, three minutes from time they got they had been looking for, Roberto Nanni volleyed in after Fabbro’s ball into the box had been headed to the Argentine striker. There were no more late dramatics though as Cerro suffered their first defeat in La Olla for six months.
Cerro Porteño XI: Diego Barreto; Mariano Uglessich, Pedro Benítez, Luis Cardozo; Jorge Rojas, Edgar Benítez; Fidencio Oviedo, Julio Dos Santos, Jonathan Fabbro; Santiago Salcedo, Guillermo Beltrán
Subs: Luis Caceres for Jorge Rojas, Roberto Nanni for Mariano Uglessich, Cesar Benitez for Santiago Salcedo
Independiente XI: Roque Cardozo; José Baez, Michel Godoy, Miguel Almirón, Rody Martinez; Aldo Vera, Luis Miño, Edgar Ferreira, Luciano Ursino; Emanuel Biancucchi, Imanol Iriberri
Subs: Victor Dávalos for Luciano Ursino, Silvio Borjas for Emanuel Biancucchi, Sergio Alvarez for Imanol Iriberri
Sol de América vs Nacional
Estadio Luis Giagni
(1-2) 3-2 – Bruno Valdez 8′, José Ortigoza 84′, Sergio Escalante 91′; Rodrigo Teixeira 16′, Herminio Miranda 25′
Tuned into the last 15 minutes of this game to see teenager centre back Bruno Valdez bleeding profusely from a head wound and it seemed his early goal (his second in three games) was in vain as Sol trailed 2-1 at home. Nacional had hit back with a clever finish from Brazilian Rodrigo Teixeira eight minutes after Valdez’s opener before Herminio Miranda got a header to put the tricolor in front.
The home team looked abject, hitting long balls hoping to find José Ortigoza (being watched by Atlante coach Ricardo La Volpe) to no avail. Then with six minutes left a ball over the top finally found Ortigoza, the striker made no mistake watching the ball over his shoulder before hooking the ball in. Sol had grabbed a point but they were hungry for more and the excellent Sergio Escalante continued his purple patch with a goal worthy of winning any game. The Argentinian flicked up the ball and smashed home a volley to send the fans into delirium. Villa Elisa was in raptures and for one Bruno Valdez the blood and sweat surrendered in the course of the afternoon had been worth every drop.
Sol de América XI: Roberto Acosta; Roberto Bonet, Ricardo Martínez, Bruno Valdez, Diego Ciz; Sergio Escalante, Angel Enciso, Marcos Duré, David Mendieta; Enzo Prono, José Ortigoza
Subs: Diego Vázquez for Marcos Duré, Willian Mendieta for Enzo Prono, Reinaldo Ocampo for David Mendieta
Nacional XI: Oscar Agüero; Ricardo Mazacotte, Herminio Miranda, Denis Caniza, Marcos Miers; Carlos Ruiz Peralta (ST: 38′ Derlis Orué), Silvio Torales, Marcos Riveros, Ramón Cáceres; Rodrigo Teixeira y Ariel Bogado (ST: 28′ Germán Cano
Olimpia vs Rubio Ñu
Estadio Manuel Ferreira a.k.a Para Uno
(0-0) 1-0 – Maxi Biancucchi 95′
I was at Guaraní vs Libertad so didn’t see this game but as the scoreline and the timing suggests it was a last gasp win for the defending champions. Maxi Biancucchi was the hero latching onto substitute Sergio Almirón’s looped pass over the top to score deep into stoppage time. It came after Rubio Ñu had been reduced to ten men and after goalkeeper Osvaldo Cabral had made a host of fantastic saves.
The win was huge for Olimpia not just for what it means in the league table but was a firm response from the players that they were behind Gerardo Pelusso who left out three senior players – Vladimir Marín, Sergio Orteman and Adrián Romero – for drinking alcohol and possibly breaking curfew the night before last week’s game against Independiente.
Olimpia XI: Martín Silva; Renzo Revoredo, Francisco Nájera, Salustiano Candia, Sebastián Ariosa; Osvaldo Hobecker, Hernán Pérez, Eduardo Aranda; Pablo Zeballos, Maximiliano Biancucchi, Luis Caballero
Subs: Arnaldo Castorino for Hernan Pérez, Miguel Amado for Osvaldo Hobecker, Sergio Almirón for Renzo Revoredo
Rubio Ñu XI: Osvaldo Cabral; Arnaldo Rodríguez, José De Vaca, Gilberto Velázquez, Arturo Aquino; César Llamas, Fredy Coronel, Wilfrido Bazán, Eric Ramos; Claudio Correa, Derlis González
Subs: Nelson Ruiz for Arturo Aquino, Alberto Espínola for César Llamas, Robert Piris Da Motta for Wilfrido Bazán
Sent Off: Arnaldo Rodríguez
OFF THE BALL
Jacquet off: Mario Jacquet has resigned from Carapeguá for the second time this season but this time it is the real deal. After ten games in charge that brought three wins, three draws and four defeats the Paraguayan coach, who won the title with Cerro Porteño, has left his post.
Rubio Ñu riled: Their official facebook status this morning was “Beaten by the referee” with the following photo, ironically stating that the referee was the winner of the game.
Burru hounded out of Dos Bocas: Jorge Burruchaga was unable to conduct his post-match interview at Guaraní’s ground after a handful of the barra threatened the Argentine coach and forced him back into the dressing room. While the club president calmed the group down, the former World Cup Winner was hustled out of the back door by Libertad’s beefy security guards. There had also been a violent incident in the stands with a Guaraní supporter hit by a stone thrown from the Libertad section of fans.
Luque’s bright young things beaten: I got to Dos Bocas early to watch the game between Guaraní U20s and Luque U20s the latter top of the league. While they certainly showed flashes of talent, particularly the movement of Marcelo Ferreira in a false 9 role and Juan Gomez on the right, they were soundly beaten by the home side. It finished 3-0 with goals from Nelson Riquelme and two from substitute Marcelo Paredes.
Salvador Cabañas watch: The former Paraguay international wasn’t involved this weekend.
Stat of the Week: 200 – Denis Caniza made his 200th apperance in Paraguayan football for Nacional
Team of the Week: Osvaldo Cabral (Rubio Ñu)/Roque Cardozo (Independiente); Roberto Bonet (Sol de América), Miguel Godoy (Independiente), Bruno Valdez (Sol de América), Gustavo Mencia (Libertad); Sergio Escalante (Sol de América), Jonathan Santana (Libertad), Eric Ramos (Rubio Ñu), Rodolfo Gamarra (Libertad); Emanuel Biancucchi (Independiente), Rogerio Leichtweiss (Cerro PF)
Player of the Week: Emanuel Biancucchi’s were the difference and it was a reminder to his opponents that possession means nothing if you don’t take your chances – he took both of his.
Donkey of the Week: Hugo Caballero the interim coach at Cerro made the startling substitution of Santiago Salcedo for Cesar Benitez as he went with four at the back. That decision gave Independiente the time and space they needed to get their passing game together and by the time Caballero rectified his error (by bringing on a striker for a defender) they were two goals down.
Results: Guaraní 2-3 Libertad, Olimpia 1-0 Rubio Ñu, Sol de América 3-2 Nacional, Carapeguá 1-2 Cerro PF, Cerro Porteño 1-2 Independiente, Luque 1-1 Tacuary
Intermedia Results: 3 de Febrero 1-0 Paranaense, Atl. Colegiales 0-0 Gral Diaz, River Plate 2-1 Sp. Iteño, Sp. San Lorenzo 1- 1 29 de Setiembre, Resistencia 4-1 Dvo. Capiatá, 2 de Mayo 1-1 Sport Colombia, Trinidense 2-1 Fdo de la Mora, Dvo. Santaní 2-0 Gral. Caballero
By Ralph Hannah