Olimpia vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
08/07/2012, 15.00 (20.00 BST)
The last game of the season and we have a superclásico to decide the Apertura title, it doesn’t get much bigger than this. This has happened before but usually in end of season two-legged ‘playoffs’ to decide who is the annual champion, most recently in 1999 when Olimpia got the better of Cerro Porteño in both games.
Olimpia go stuttering into this game with three wins in their last six, two goalless draws and that defeat against Luque on Wednesday that has set up this title showdown.They will feel that they have let the title slip from their grasp, after the first clásico victory midway through the campaign they were seven points clear but sacked three key players (Orteman, Marín & Romero) due to indiscipline. However, under Gerardo Pelusso this side have always shown great character and the players won’t allow recent results to distract them from the reality, avoid defeat and they are back-to-back champions. The Uruguayan coach will set his side up in a 4-3-3 formation which he has moved to recently, it gives him solidity in midfield with Aranda, Amado and Ortiz all defensively strong protecting what could be seen as a slightly week centre-back partnership of Salustiano Candia and the veteran Julio César Cáceres expected to start in place of Renzo Reveredo (Nájera shifting to right back). The real offensive threat is Maxi Biancucchi who will look to get into the space left by Cerro’s wing backs and provide ammunition for Pablo Zeballos.
Cerro Porteño have the pressure of knowing I predicted them to win the title at the start of the season but they have showed great mental strength in this run-in winning five of their last six games, the only slip up being a tremendous match against Libertad. Jorge Fossati has installed his preferred 3-5-2 formation and with Luis Cáceres injured he is likely to throw Jorge Rojas in at right wing-back who will have to be aware to the threat from Olimpia’s attacking left back Sebastian Ariosa. Fidencio Oviedo has been playing his best football of the season in recent games and will be key in stopping counter attacks and covering his wing-backs. Up front there will be a definite mismatch if Edgar Benítez can run at the Olimpia centrebacks, he is too fast for them and will be trying to earn freekicks as much as score goals.
A super sunday showdown is in store and it will end with one half of the country celebrating and the other half comiserating.
Olimpia XI (probable): M.Silva; F.Nájera, J.C. Cáceres, S.Candia, S.Ariosa; E.Aranda, M.Amado, R.Ortiz; M.Biancucchi; L.Caballero, P.Zeballos
Cerro Porteño XI (probable): P.Gavilán; C. Benítez, P.Benitez, L.Cardozo; J.Rojas, W.López; F.Oviedo, J.Dos Santos, J.Fabbro; E.Benitez, S.Salcedo
Selected Odds: Olimpia win 2.42, Draw 3.35, Cerro win 3.2; 1-0 scoreline 9.0, 0-1 scoreline 11.0
Best Bet: Anybody betting on this needs to understand that form and stats go out of the window, this is very much a ‘cup final’ kind of fixture and trying to predict this is very difficult at the best of times let alone when the title is decided, my feeling is that it won’t be a draw, either Cerro go for it and win or they go for it and get caught on the break and lose, usually these games are low scoring so that might be the best option. Best of luck for those who bet on this.
STATS AND TRIVIA
Olimpia vs Cerro Porteño last five
Pld 5 – Olimpia W 2 – Cerro W 1 – Draws 2
Superclásico head-to-head (League Games)
Pld 273 – Cerro W 97 – Olimpia W 93 – Draws 83
Carlos Amarilla will referee the game, he has officiated 21 clásicos in the league overseeing 8 Cerro wins, 7 Olimpia wins and 7 draws.
No team has won more than five clásico’s in a row, Cerro have achieved the quintuple twice (1986-88 & 2007-08)
By Ralph Hannah