2012 Copa Sudamericana: Paraguay clubs preview

The end of the winter brings the start of ‘the other half of the glory’ better known as the Copa Sudamericana, considered to be the Europa League of South American football. This year Paraguay has four clubs participating, Olimpia qualified as being the side with the highest accumulative points in the previous calendar year they are accompanied by the teams with the 4th, 5th and 6th highest points totals, Cerro Porteño, Guaraní and Tacuary respectively.

We go through a one-by-one look at the sides, their strengths, weaknesses and players to keep an eye on. Check the blog next week for in-depth previews of the 1st round matches with games involving the sides on 24th & 26th August.

Olimpia

Founded: 25 July 1902

Previous participation: 2011 (Last 16)

Best finish: Last 16 (2011)

Opponents: Danubio (Uruguay), potentially Emelec/Uni. San Martin in next round

Strengths: They have experience in international tournaments and this group of players have excellent mental character which will serve them well in this knock-out competition. While not particularly exciting, the all-Paraguayan central midfield trio of Richard Ortiz, Fabio Caballero and Eduardo Aranda is effective and will be a wall in away ties. Gregorio Perez is a wily coach who is tactically astute.

Weaknesses: Goals could be difficult, not that Maxi Biancucchi and Fredy Bareiro don’t have the talent but they might not get the service they need.

One to watch: Richard Ortiz, an exciting left-footed player who has been deployed at full back but more recently central midfield. Determined, combative and with a decent shot from long-range the 22-year-old could have been in Europe by now had it not been for a long-term injury sustained in November that he’s recently recovered from.

Prediction: Last 16

============================

Guaraní

Founded: 12 October 1903

Previous participation: 2010 (2nd round)

Best finish: 2nd round (2010)

Opponents: Oriente Petrolero (Bolivia), potentially Millonarios/Inti Gas in next round

Strengths: Like Olimpia the central midfield is formidable with the Uruguayan duo of Sergio Orteman and Marcelo Palau, but they also have exciting options on the flanks with the likes of Luis de la Cruz, Dario Ocampo and Iván Gonzalez Ferreira. Defensively they are also sound with Eduardo Filippini and Elvis Marecos experienced full backs.

Weaknesses: Lack a first class striker to mark the difference in key games

One to watch: Sergio Orteman has been signed by Guaraní after having his contracted terminated with Olimpia, he has a great track record in international tournaments and his experience and talent will help drive the aborigen through the early stages.

Prediction: Last 16

============================

Cerro Porteño

 

Founded: 1 October 1912

Previous participation: 2010 (2nd round)

Best finish: Semi-Finals (2009)

Opponents: O’Higgins (Chile), potentially Mineros de Guayana/La Equidad in next round

 

 

Strengths: Wonderful array of attacking talent which is on a par with the top clubs in this competition, Jonathan Fabbro and Santiago Salcedo could do some real damage in this tournament. Coach Jorge Fossati also knows what he takes to win the Sudamericana trophy having picked it up with LDU Quito in 2009.

Weaknesses: In an effort to incorporate both Fabbro and Dos Santos, Cerro often only play with just one holding midfielder – Fidencio Oviedo – it is a huge responsibility and if the Paraguayan isn’t at the top of his game the azulgrana could be overrun by opponents.

One to watch: Jonathan Fabbro is the man for the big games, he rises to the occassion and can score deadly freekicks or long-range pearlers, just ask Colo-Colo and Santos fans. Expect him to play

Prediction: Quarter-Finals

============================

Tacuary

 

Founded: 10 December 1923

Previous participation: 2007 (1st round playoff)

Best finish: 1st round playoff (2007)

Opponents: Cobreloa (Chile) potentially Barcelona/Táchira in next round

 

Strengths: Carlos Servín the goalkeeper has often kept cleansheets when the side should have lost by 3 or 4 goals and the defensive solidity of Tacuary could be a source of frustration for their international adversaries not aware of their style of play.

Weaknesses: Where do we start? Tacuary were awful last year but have managed to pick up a lot of players for a potential cup run and more importantly to preserve their status in Primera. Midfield seems the weak link as Raúl Román is getting on and they really need somebody to get up and down the pitch and link with the strikers.

One to watch: Reinaldo Ocampo is a shrewd signing, he played well at Sol de América during the Apertura and was deservedly handed a chance to play for the national team in the selección casera. The right winger could help with the attacking spark so often lacking.

Prediction: 1st round

 

By Ralph Hannah

20 July 2012

One response to “2012 Copa Sudamericana: Paraguay clubs preview

  1. Pingback: Copa Sudamericana round-up: Cerro Porteño and Olimpia progress with wins | The Paraguay Football Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s