The 2012 Clausura got underway with wins for Libertad and Olimpia, a surprise defeat for champions Cerro Porteño against Guaraní and the opening of Carapeguá’s new stadium. Here is a brief round-up.
Rubio Ñu vs Olimpia
Defensores del Chaco
(0-1) 0-3 – Arnaldo Castorino, Nestor Bareiro, Arnaldo Rodriguez (o.g.)
Gregorio Perez’s side top the league after an emphatic win against Rubio Ñu thanks to two late goals that slightly flattered Olimpia. The vice-champions took the lead through a tidy finish by Arnaldo Castorino following some poor defending by the albiverde. Castorino was involved in the second goal seven minutes before time when his clever backheel found debutant Nestor Bareiro who lifted the ball over the goalkeeper. Chiqui Arce’s misery was compounded when Arnaldo Rodriguez headed into his own net.
Cerro Porteño vs Guaraní
Estadio Gral. Pablo Rojas a.k.a La Olla
(0-0) 1-2 – Alejandro Da Silva; Diego Centurión (2)
Cerro Porteño’s run of four straight wins in the local league was ended in a two minute salvo by Diego Centurión. The Guaraní striker bagged a brace in the 74th and 76th minute to cancel out Alejandro Da Silva’s opener for the home side. The reigning champions had survived an early scare when Guaraní were awarded a penalty for Barreto’s foul on Centurión. The goalkeeper made amends by diving low to his right to save the hapless Carlos Hidalgo’s spot kick. It was Cerro who took the lead when Da Silva latched onto a fantastic pass from Juan Manuel Lucero who had only entered the contest a minute previously. But the aborigen stole the points thanks to a looping Centurión header and a defensive mix-up that allowed the striker in for his second a low left-foot shot. Jorge Fossati was expelled from the bench late on for protesting what seemed to be a clear penalty on Jorge Rojas as Cerro were left frustrated.
Libertad vs Nacional
Estadio Nicolas Leóz a.k.a Tuyucua
(1-0) 1-0 – José Ariel Nuñez
A controversial goal by José Ariel Nuñez handed Libertad an opening day victory to give Ruben Israel a win on his return to Tuyucuá. While there was nothing wrong with Nuñez’s finish it seems that his strike partner Pablo Velazquez used an arm to control the ball in the build up to the goal.
Other Results: Luque got their relegation fight off to a great start with a win against Cerro de Franco in Ciudad del Este, the solitary strike from Claudio Vargas. Tacuary also managed a victory away from home, Jorge Ortega’s double secured the points in a 2-0 win against Independiente. Yesterday Carapeguá and Sol de América played the first-ever game at the Estadio Municipal de Carapeguá, Jorge Ayala’s penalty got the hosts off to the perfect start but they were pegged back by Diego Vázquez’s chipped finish.
Player of the Week: Arnaldo ‘Chucky’ Castorino didn’t score two like Ortega or Centurión but his goal was an excellent finish to break the deadlock and his assist for Nestor Bareiro was an intelligent piece of play by a footballer who doesn’t get as many minutes as he deserves.
Donkey of the Week: Poor old Carlos Hidalgo, missed a hatful of chances in Guaraní’s defeat to Oriente Petrolero so was handed the penalty to ‘boost confidence’. He missed from 12 yards, luckily his strike partner was on song to save his blushes.
Goal of the Week: Take a bow Claudio Vargas for the long range free kick you can find it on the video ‘ALL THE GOALS’
Stat of the Week: 540 goal-starved minutes had gone by for Guaraní before Diego Centurión’s header, and like buses 2 came along in quick succession.
By Ralph Hannah