Olimpia’s hard-fought win over Sol de América has put them in the driving seat, four points ahead of Cerro Porteño with two fixtures left. A win on Wednesday against suffering Sportivo Luqueño will wrap up the title before the superclásico and would signal Olimpia’s 40th domestic title, it is all to play for!
Guaraní vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
(0-0) 0-1 – Edgar Benítez 81′
Another late-late show from Cerro to keep their title hopes alive, with Olimpia winning the day before (see below) they had to take all three points to have a chance of winning the division. Once again under Jorge Fossati the azulgrana were superb, flowing forward in attack in an open game that also saw Guaraní have their fair share of chances. But it was Cerro who came closest, hitting the underside of the bar twice in the second period, firstly Edgar Benítez’s volley on the edge of the area and later Jonathan Fabbro’s freekick which somehow wasn’t turned in on two follow up attempts.
Against Tacuary the deadlock was broken with eight minutes remaining, this time it was with nine minutes left on the clock. Fabbro whipped in a dangerous free kick from the right that somehow was allowed to drop in the penalty box, substitute Guillermo Beltrán was the first to anticipate and stabbed the ball away from the pack of bodies to Edgar Benítez, the ‘Pajaro’ side-footed into the side-netting with his weaker right foot evading both the goalkeeper and a defender coming off the goal line.
The defeat for Guaraní spelled the end of Pablo Caballero’s reign as manager of the aborigen a new coach is expected to be named today.
Guaraní XI: Pablo Aurrecochea; Eduardo Filippini, Luis Cabral, Rober Aldama, Tomas Bartomeus; Nelson Romero, Marcelo Palau, Juan Aguilar, Blas Cáceres; Dario Ocampo, Dante López
Subs: Luis De la Cruz for Dario Ocampo, Carlos Hidalgo for Nelson Romero, Diego Figueredo for Blas Cáceres
Cerro Porteño XI: Pablo Gavilán; Luis Cardozo, Pedro Benítez, César Benítez; Luis Cáceres, Fidencio Oviedo, Julio Dos Santos, Walter López, Jonathan Fabbro; Edgar Benítez, Santiago Salcedo
Subs: Jorge Rojas for Luis Cáceres, Guillermo Beltrán for Santiago Salcedo, José Domingo Salcedo for Walter López
Sol de América vs Olimpia
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
(0-1) 0-1 – David Mendieta (o.g.) 15′
For the third straight game Sol de América played well against Olimpia only to lose 1-0 in a result that has left El Decano just one win away from securing back-to-back championships. The only goal came early on, Pablo Zeballos’ low free kick across the face of goal was inadvertantly turned in by midfielder David Mendeita.
Sol de América created chances of their own but as is so often Olimpia were strong enough defensively to hold out for the win, their 6th 1-0 win of the season. Towards the end of the game the Sol de América captain and ex-Olimpia player Diego Ciz was given his marching orders by the Japanese referee who once again received praise for his performance.
Sol de América XI: Roberto Acosta; Roberto Bonet, Bruno Valdez, Ricardo Martínez, Diego Ciz; Sergio Escalante , Angel Enciso, Alfredo Rojas, David Mendieta; José Ortigoza, Enzo Prono
Subs: William Mendieta for Alfredo Rojas, Lorenzo Frutos for Enzo Prono, Vázquez for Sergio Escalante
Sent Off: Diego Ciz
Olimpia XI: Martín Silva; Renzo Revoredo, Francisco Nájera, Salustiano Candia, Eugenio Montiel; Eduardo Aranda, Miguel Amado, Richard Ortíz, Pablo Zeballos (ST: 44′ Arnaldo Castorino), Luis Caballero, Maximiliano Biancucchi
Subs: Arnaldo Castorino for Pablo Zeballos
OFF THE BALL
Luque vs Olimpia without a home: With Luque banned from their stadium and Cerro Porteño booked into the Defensores del Chaco there is no venue for Wednesday’s Luque vs Olimpia match which could decide the title. Ironically the most appropriate stadium is La Olla but there is no way Cerro would allow the game to be played at their ground and risk Olimpia doing the lap of honour on their pitch! At present the most likely solution is that Cerro cede the Defensores to Olimpia and play their match in La Olla.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Pablo Aurrecochea (Guaraní); Francisco Nájera (Olimpia), Bruno Valdez (Sol de América), Luis Cabral (Guaraní), Walter López (Cerro Porteño); Dario Ocampo (Guaraní), Fidencio Oviedo (Cerro Porteño), Jonathan Fabbro (Cerro Porteño), Gustavo Cristaldo (Nacional); José Ariel Nuñez (Libertad), Javier Gonzalez (Nacional)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Fidencio Oviedo was hot property when he left Independiente to move to Cerro Porteño but in the early stages of the season the defensive midfielder offered little justification of all that attention. However, against Guaraní he was phenomenal in breaking up attacks and starting offensive moves for his side, a top performance at a crucial stage of the season.
GOAL OF THE WEEK: Javier ‘Metalero’ Gonzalez’s cheeky flick for Nacional’s second goal was a delight, it is the second one on video in link below.
STAT OF THE WEEK: 47 – Olimpia have set a new club record for the most points since Paraguay adopted short seasons in 1996 and there are still two games to play!
Results: Rubio Ñu 0-0 Luque, Tacuary 1-1 Carapeguá, Nacional 5-0 Independiente, Sol 0-1 Olimpia, Libertad 2-0 Cerro de Franco, Guarani 0-1 Cerro Porteño
By Ralph Hannah