An unpredictable Clausura season continues as Libertad draw their 4th straight game, Olimpia are now four games without a win and Guaraní and Luque are 1st and 2nd respectively. At least Cerro Porteño got back to winning ways in what was arguably the only
Luque vs Olimpia
Estadio Feliciano Cáceres
(0-0) 2-1 – Raponi,A.Bogado; Salgueiro
Luque overcame Olimpia for the second consecutive game in a pulsating contest in the Feliciano Cáceres. The first half was a cagey affair with neither side able to break the deadlock but both sets of players showing attacking intent. The opener came just seven minutes after halftime, a nice move down the left involving Fredy Bareiro and Arnaldo Castorino who move the ball across to Juan Manuel Salguiero and the Uruguayan smashed in his second of the season.
Gregorio Pérez took off one of his brightest attacking players, Castorino, for defensive midfielder Fabio Caballero as he tried to protect the lead but even a more cautious Olimpia were unable to weather the barrage from the auriazul. The equaliser came from Argentine Juan Pablo Raponi who received a pass with an excellent first touch that unbalanced his marker and struck low past Martin Silva with his weaker right foot to equalise. All the momentum was with Luque after the equaliser and roared one by their supporters they grabbed the winner, a corner was headed down into the path of substitute Ariel Bogado who made no mistake just a few yards out.
Cue mayhem in the stands and jubilation on the bench as Pablo Caballero’s team held on to beat Olimpia, stay in second place and pull themselves out of the relegation zone.
Nacional vs Guaraní
Estadio Arsenio Erico
(1-1) 1-2 – Torales, Centurion (2)
For the third time this season Diego Centurión scored twice to lead Guaraní to victory as they remain top of the league and unbeaten after five games. It was Nacional who opened the scoring at the Arsenio Erico through Silvio Torales deflected shot following Marcos Melgarejo’s cut back from the left which was met with an unconvincing clearance.
Centurión equalised just a minute later, an acrobatic scissor kick after his original header had bounced up off a Nacional defender. He grabbed the winner in the opening minutes of the second half with a crashing header from Dario Ocampo’s accurate cross. The Academia’s hopes of an equaliser were dashed when Melgarejo received his marching orders in the 53rd minute. Guaraní held on to record their fourth win in five games.
Cerro Porteño vs Rubio Ñu
(2-0) 3-0 – S.Salcedo, Fabbro, Dos Santos
Cerro Porteño finally recorded their first win of the Clausura with a comfortable victory over Rubio Ñu. It took Santiago Salcedo just four minutes to chalk up his first goal of the league season, Rodrigo López’s header smacked the crossbar and fell at the feet of SaSa who made it 1-0. After 20 minutes they had doubled the lead through Jonathan Fabbro, a stunning freekick that evaded the wall and nestled in the side netting leaving the goalkeeper no chance.
Julio Dos Santos capped a good game with a goal direct from a free kick that was meant as a cross but swerved in taking a slight deflection of a Rubio Ñu defender. A good game for the defending champions and the azulgrana now travel to Venezuela for Wendnesday’s Copa Sudamericana tie full of confidence.
Other results: A fourth straight draw for Libertad was maybe no surprise as it also marked the fourth 1-1 draw for Sol de América on Friday night as they threw away the lead for the third time this season. Diego Ciz with the danzarín goal cancelled out by Sergio Aquino’s penalty. On Saturday Carapeguá completed a smash and grab job against Independiente scoring in the 92nd minute to win 1-0 courtesy of debutant Arnulfo Colmán. On Sunday Cerro de Franco continued their good start to the season with a professional 2-0 victory over Tacuary.
Referee’s in spotlight: Was there a blatant handball in the Cerro Porteño game that should have resulted in a Rubio Ñu penalty? Yes there was. But any accusation that the referee’s are biased towards Cerro is unlikely considering Olimpia’s Juan Manuel Salguiero incredibly escaped a second booking against Luque for a clear foul. The conclusion that this blog has held for a long time is that there is no great conspiracy just a severe lack of training and competency amongst Paraguayan referees.
Team of the Week: Roberto Acosta (Sol de América); Tomás Bartomeus (Guaraní), Arnaldo Recalde (Cerro de Franco), Rolando Bogado (Luque), Diego Ciz (Sol de América); Dario Ocampo (Guaraní), Fidencio Oviedo (Cerro Porteño), Julio dos Santos (Cerro Porteño), Juan Pablo Raponi (Luque); Diego Centurión (Guaraní), Arnaldo Castorino (Olimpia)
Player of the Week: Argentine Juan Pablo Raponi was instrumental in Luque’s victory, his equaliser was vital but his all-round display was excellent.
Goal of the Week: Diego Centurión showed great instinct for his first goal, Lorenzo Delvalle scored a screamer (see below) but the winner is Juan Manuel Salguiero of Olimpia (see video above) partly because of the build up to the strike and for his excellent close control to set himself up.
By Ralph Hannah