The black and white clásico is Saturday’s only game as Olimpia and Libertad renew their rivalry, then on Sunday we are treated to five games with Guarani hoping to bounce back.
Libertad vs Olimpia (TV)
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
A game in which the pressure is certainly on Olimpia, they sit a point behind Libertad in the Copa Libertadores race and know that a four-point gap could be unassailable. The Guma however have their sights set on the league title, a win wouldn’t only give them breathing space from Olimpia but it would also close the gap (at least temporarily) on Guaraní to just two points. Ruben Israel’s men have been on great form recently and I think their attack and central midfield will be too strong for Olimpia. Pepe Cardozo’s team could go with three at the back and Miguel Amado is set to return following Fabio Caballero’s injury. The positive is the form Olimpia’s strikers, Fredy Bareiro’s scoring run came to an end two games ago but in that time Arnaldo Castorino has contributed with three of his own.
Head-to-Head last five: Olimpia 2 wins (2-1, 1-0), Libertad 2 wins (2-1, 2-0), 1 draw (2-2)
Libertad XI (probable):
Olimpia XI (probable): Martín Silva, Salustiano Candia, Julio César Cáceres, Enrique Meza; Eduardo Aranda, Sebastián Ariosa; Miguel Amado, Richard Ortíz; Juan Manuel Salgueiro; Arnaldo Castorino, Fredy Bareiro.
BEST BET: BTTS (Both Teams to Score)
Cerro de Franco vs Rubio Ñu
Estadio Juan Eudes Pereira
Only Tacuary have failed to score in more games than these two sides in 2012 so don’t expect and epic in the East. Cerro de Franco and Rubio Ñu suffered defeats in midweek and both will want to pick themselves up immediately. The visitor’s have never won this fixture in the Primera and their last three trips to Presidente Franco have been fruitless losing 3-1, 1-0 and drawing 0-0. Cerro de Franco will be relying on the services of Rogerio Leichtweis for goals and the striker usually delivers, at the other end they shouldn’t be troubled much by a fairly toothless albiverde attack.
BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals
Independiente vs Sol de América
The draw specialists, Sol de América, who have tied seven of their 13 games this season face the losers, Independiente, who have lost 8 of their last ten. So bad is the home side’s run that they have managed to undo much of Pablo Caballero’s good work in 2011 and are in a precarious position on the edge of the relegation zone. One thing both teams can take heart from is their habit of scoring with Sol averaging 1.6 goals per game this year and Independiente with five in their previous four games. The question is can either side keep a cleansheet, Independiente have kept two in their 36 meetings this year, the least of any side in Primera.
BEST BET: Both teams to score
Nacional have been one of the most consistent sides this year and are on course to better their 33 points in the Apertura (currently on 26 with 8 games to play). They were comfortable in Wednesday’s game at the Arsenio Erico against Cerro de Franco and expect Sunday to go much the same way. Guarani and Libertad are the only sides to have won in this stadium in the previous ten fixtures and the only other team to come away with a point is Luque in a goalless draw. Tacuary are unlikely to provide much opposition, they’ve lost to nil in their previous 3 games against the Academia (0-2, 0-1, 0-3).
Best Bet: Nacional 2 goals or more
Luque vs Guaraní (TV)
Is the pressure getting to these two? Guaraní have gone two games without winning for the first time in the Clausura while Luque have lost their last three games in the Feliciano Cáceres. Both sides need all three points for different reasons but they might just settle for the draw if it means avoiding a defeat that would be devastating at this crucial stage of the season. If any team was going to snatch the victory it is more likely to be Guaraní with their potency up front. Luque have beaten Guaraní just once in the last seven games at this stadium.
BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals at a push although this is a hard one to call
Cerro Porteño vs Carapeguá (TV)
The second leg with Tigre is the only thing on Cerro’s mind, this game is little more than a distraction but that might cause the players to relax and be at their freeflowing best. Fossati will certainly rest players but he is aware of the importance of not upsetting rhythm so expect a handful of changes rather than a ‘B’ team. Carapeguá have the interesting stat of only failing to score 8 times this year, a more positive record than Guarani, Nacional and Olimpia amongst others. Back-to-back wins is probably a little too much to ask having beaten Rubio Ñu on Wednesday, but worth bearing in mind that they beat Libertad this Clausura just a few days after securing three points against Independiente.
BEST BET: Over 2.5 goals
By Ralph Hannah