The final round of games in the opening half of the Clausura sees plenty of ‘mismatches’ with Nacional, Guaraní an Olimpia all playing strugglers at home. The hardest game to call is probably Luque vs Libertad with the latter on great form at home but still suffering now and again away. We start on Saturday with two games and end with Cerro Porteño’s visit to Tacuary on Monday evening.
Nacional vs Independiente
Nacional have won their last two home games to nil against similar strength opposition to Independiente (they beat Rubio Ñu and Sol de América). Independiente continue to struggle as they have all year in defence, they have kept just two cleansheets in 2012 the lowest of any team in Primera. With that in mind Nacional plan to be more offensive; Javier Gonzalez is set to come back into the side to partner Teixeira up front with Cáceres Cañete dropping into the hole. Think this one will be a comfortable win for the Academia.
Nacional XI (probable): Ignacio Don: Coronel, Ramón Coronel, Raul Piris, Leonardo Caceres, David Mendoza; Derlis Orué, Silvio Torales, Marcos Melgarejo, César Cáceres Cañete; Javier Gonzalez, Rodrigo Teixeira
Independiente XI (probable): Roque Cardozo; Víctor Dávaldos, Miliciades Portillo, Miguel Godoy, Hugo Fleitas; Aldo Vera, Luis Miño, Osvaldo Díaz, Francisco Garcia; Emanuel Biancucchi, Gabriel Avalos
BEST BET: Home win
Guaraní vs Rubio Ñu (TV)
Last weekend Guaraní had to scrap and ride their luck as they earned all three points away to Carapeguá despite not being at their best, the sign of champions maybe? This weekend they are back in the comforts of Dos Bocas where they have a 100% record in the league after four matches. The only change from last week’s team is at right back where Fillipini comes in for the injured Bartomeus, in many respects that gives them more attacking options on that flank. Rubio Ñu did notch up a victory last week and while the form of Chamorro and Contrera might bring some joy their problem is going to be stopping the aurinegro from scoring. First choice defender Oscar Velazquez is ineligible to play against his parent club which further weakens Arce’s back line.
Guaraní XI (probable): Pablo Aurrecochea; Eduardo Filippini, Robert Aldama, Luis Cabral, Elvis Marecos; Iván González Ferreira, Sergio Órteman, Marcelo Palau, Dario Ocampo; Dante López, Diego Centurión
Rubio Ñu XI (probable): Osvaldo Cabral; Alberto Espínola, Derlis Riveros, Arnaldo Rodríguez, Óscar Ayala; Ángel Lucena, Fredy Coronel, Robert Piris, Diego Chamorro; Lauro Cazal, Alberto Contrera
BEST BET: Over 2.5 goals could offer better odds than the home win
Cerro de Franco vs Sol de América
Estadio Juan Eudes Pereira
Following their excellent performance against Cerro Porteño on Thursday night, Cerro’i are back in the east of the country where they have lost just 2 of their last 8 games. They boast one of the league’s best strikers in Rogerio Leichtweis and will certainly be confident heading into this match. Sol are set to be without top scorer Sergio Escalante, the Argentinian midfielder has a niggle that he hasn’t been able to shake off. That shouldn’t bother them too much as they’ve shared the goals around this season, 8 different players have found the net for the danzarin. A home win is tempting but bearing in mind the midweek exertions this could be yet another score draw involving Sol de América (6 in 10 games so far).
BEST BET: Both teams to score (Sol average 1.66 goals a game but concede on average 1.28 per game)
Luque vs Libertad
The relegation-threatened title challengers earned a valuable victory last weekend against fellow strugglers Independiente, it also made them the closest rivals to Guaraní. However, a win for Libertad would see them leapfrog Luque into second place and keep the chase up for the vacant Copa Libertadores spot. It is a tough game to call, as two of the best defences in the division meet with one key difference. Luque’s regular goalkeeper Tobías Vargas can’t play against his parent club so the 20-year-old José Aquino is handed the gloves, if the pressure were to get to him it might tip things in Libertad’s balance.
Luque XI (probable): José Aquino; Claudio Vargas, Gonzalo Maulella, Rolando Bogado, Sergio Vergara; Diego Godoy, Édgar Robles, Juan Abente, Juan Raponi; Adriano Duarte, Guido Di Vanni.
BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals
Olimpia vs Carapeguá (TV)
Following a draw in his debut, Pepe Cardozo hopes to pick up his first win on Sunday against lowly Carapeguá. He will continue to favour some of the younger players as Montiel continues at left back and is joined by Fabio Caballero in defensive midfield. The use of Caballero instead of Uruguayan Miguel Amado also allows the Olimpia boss to include Maxi Biancucchi in his starting XI without infringing the 4-foreigners rule. There is little hope for Carapeguá, they have only two wins on the road in 2012, they played very well against Guaraní last weekend only to lose. They were also rocked by thte news this week that topscorer Jorge Ayala has suffered a serious knee injury that will put him out for at least 6 months.
Olimpia XI (probable): Martín Silva; Alejandro Silva, Salustiano Candia, Enrique Meza, Eugenio Montiel; Eduardo Aranda, Fabio Caballero, Richard Ortiz; Juan Manuel Salgueiro; Maximiliano Biancucchi, Fredy Bareiro
BEST BET: Home win
Tacuary vs Cerro Porteño (TV)
Defensores del Chaco
Cerro Porteño have drawn their last four legue games and they will be missing four key players on Monday evening – Diego Barreto, Pedro Benítez, Fidencio Oviedo and Jonathan Fabbro will all be joining up with the Paraguay squad that day for the World Cup Qualifiers. With the game at a neutral venue though it means Cerro must still be favourites against a woeful Tacuary side.
BEST BET: Cerro should score two (they average 1.9 goals per game while Tacuary concede 1.8 per game) so Over 2.5 is quite tempting as Tacuary have scored against Cerro in 6 of last 7 meetings
By Ralph Hannah