We run from Saturday to Monday this weekend, Guaraní given an extra days recovery following their trip to Colombia in midweek. Sunday is the rare spectacle of a Cerro/Olimpia double header on the TV, both allowed to play on the same day with the fans sufficiently separated, Cerro in Luque and Olimpia in Ciudad del Este.
Nacional vs Rubio Ñu (TV)
Nacional are the dark horses in this year’s tournament, while Guaraní and Luque took most of the limelight usually afforded the big three the Academia have quietly gone about their business and collected 13 points so far. With Rubio Ñu awful on their travels – just one point and one goal in their last five away games – this should be a home win especially with their strength in central midfield.
BEST BET: Home win
Nacional XI (probable): Oscar Agüero; Ramón Coronel, Raúl Piris, Leonardo Cáceres, David Medonza; Carlos Ruiz Peralta, Silvio Torales, Marcos Riveros, César Cáceres Cañete; Javier Gonzalez, Angel Orué
Rubio Ñu XI (probable): Osvaldo Cabral; Arnaldo Rodriguez, Derlis Riveros, Oscar Velazquez, Oscar Ayala; William Santander, Fredy Coronel, Roberto Acuña, Diego Chamorro; Roberto Gamarra, Nery Cardozo
Tacuary vs Carapeguá
A basement battle between two clubs that will be playing Intermedia football next year unless they can buck up their ideas. Tacuary threatened to impress at the beginning of the season but have since gone off the boil losing their last six matches. Their best source of goals seems to be Nicolas Martinez with Ramón Cardozo only being used off the bench. Carapeguá have suffered 3-1 defeats in their last couple of outings so they will probably just want to concentrate on not conceding too many goals, their only doubt is over who will start in goal. Don’t expect a classic.
BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals
Tacuary XI (probable): Carlos Servín; Grégor Aguayo, Ronald Huth, Diego Viera, Marcos Acosta Rojas; Reinaldo Ocampo, Édgar Fernández, Juan Núñez, Marcos Giménez; Raúl Román, Nicolás Martínez
Carapeguá XI (probable): Orlando Rojas or Gustavo Arévalos; Raúl Cáceres, Rubén Maldonado, Marcos Arce; Diego Benítez, Rodrigo Soria; Walter Fleitas, Ricardo Ortiz, Jorge Ayala; Imanol Iriberri, Arnulfo Colmán.
Sportivo Luqueño vs Cerro Porteño (TV)
Luque have their eyes on the prize, not the league title but survival, and they always treat this game like something of a derby owing to the huge rivalry between the sets of fans. Cerro for their part have their minds fully focussed on the Copa Sudamericana with next week’s trip to Argentina the priority however much the players pretend this game is important to them. With the extra motivation and Cerro likely to rest some tired legs this could be a home win, also worth noting that Luque have won 3 of last 5 against Cerro in this stadium.
Luque XI (probable): Tobías Vargas; Gerzon Chacón, Gonzalo Maulella, Rolando Bogado, Sergio Vergara; Claudio David Vargas, Édgar Robles, Juan Abente, Juan Pablo Raponi; Guido Di Vanni, Ariel Bogado
Cerro XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Gonzalo Viera, Pedro Benítez, César Benítez; Mathías Corujo, Jorge Rojas, Édgar González, Walter López; Julio Dos Santos; Alejandro Da Silva, Roberto Nanni
BEST BET: Both Teams to Score
Libertad vs Independiente
Although Independiente won their last game, at home to Cerro de Franco, I expect them to lose this Sunday. Libertad have been strong at home recording 5 wins in their last 7 games and conceding just twice. The front two of Nuñez and Velázquez should be too strong for the Independiente defence.
Libertad XI (probabe): Rodrigo Muñoz; Aldo Olmedo, Joe Bizera, Ismael Benegas, Gustavo Mencia; Luis Cáceres o Nelson Romero, Sebastián Eguren, Sergio Aquino, Néstor Camacho; José Ariel Núñez, Pablo Velázquez
Independiente XI (probable): Roque Cardozo; José Báez, Milciades Portillo, Miguel Almirón, Felipe Giménez; Aldo Vera, Luis Miño, Richard Lugo, Osvaldo Díaz; Emanuel Biancucchi, Gabriel Ávalos
BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals
Cerro de Franco vs Olimpia
Estadio Antonio Oddone Sarubbi
After arriving back from Ecuador on Wednesday the Olimpia team had a bit of time to let off steam (mainly towards their president who has banned the use of mobile phones after midnight) before travelling to the east of the country. The previous meeting was 3-3 and the first meeting in Ciudad del Este back in February was 0-0. I think this could be a draw again too with Olimpia definitely suffering some confidence and morale issues.
BEST BET: The way Olimpia are playing I wouldn’t fancy backing them, maybe on the DNB but a better bet is probably Under 2.5 goals
Guaraní vs Sol de América (TV)
A decent performance in Colombia will have softened the blow of being knocked out of the Copa Sudamericana. Having said that Guaraní are a different proposition at home anyway, they’ve won all three league matches at Dos Bocas this season and should be able to overcome Sol de América. In fact the aurinegro have won the last five meetings at home.
BEST BET: Over 2.5 goals or Both Teams to Score
By Ralph Hannah