We start on Friday with Libertad kicking things off as they try and close the gap to just two points at the top and heap the pressure on Guaraní. The games continue on Saturday and end on Sunday with Guaraní vs Nacional a truly mouth-watering fixture
Sol de América vs Libertad(TV)
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
Once again Libertad are in the Defensores, while they were frustrated last week against Olimpia this should be a win for them tonight against a Sol side that hasn’t quite clicked since losing José Ortigoza. Libertad’s top scorer in the Clausura, José Ariel Nuñez, is suspended following his sending off last week but his replacement in the squad isn’t back. 119 goals in 250 games, the all-time topscorer in Paraguayan football, Juan “El Magico” Samudio will be on the bench having made a few appearances in the reserves recently. While Sol haven’t been as good so far this year they keep accumulating points so much so that the Copa Sudamericana is still a possibility. They’ll be motivated for this but unsure if the quality is there.
Sol XI (probable): Acosta; Bonet, Martinez, Valdez, Ciz; Escalante, Orzusa, Mazacotte, Mendieta; Rivas, Vazquez
Libertad XI (probable): Muñoz; Olmedo, Bizera, Benegas, Mencia; Romero//Caceres, Eguren, Aquino, Camacho; Velazquez, Menendez
BEST BET: Both teams to score is decent if you consider both side’s ability to score although Libertad’s defensive capabilities makes me hestitant – call it a punt more than a tip
Tacuary vs Cerro de Franco
Estadio Roberto Bettega
Tacuary will be eyeing this as a possible three points to boost survival hopes with the hope that Cerro de Franco, all but safe, have lost focus. The away side though has a few positives, Fulvio Duarte is back from suspension while topscorer Leichtweis has been in Asunción most of the week training with the national side so expect his confidence to be flowing. Tacuary however won the previous meeting in the Bettega and will hope home advantage is good enough.
Tacuary XI (probable): Carlos Servía; Gustavo Gimenez, Gregor Aguayo, Diego Viera, Marcos Acosta Rojas; Reinaldo Ocampo, Pablo Espinoza, Edward Villalba, Juan Nuñez; Brian Montenegro, Nicolas Martinez
Cerro de Franco XI (probable): Francisco Olmedo; Cristhian Rojas, Nelson Figueredo y Fabián Balbuena; Fulvio Duarte, Miguel Godoy, Reinaldo López y Arnaldo Recalde; Christian Andersen; Rogerio Leichtweis y Sergio Samudio
BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals
Olimpia vs Sportivo Luqueño (TV)
Olimpia need a win to get back in front of Libertad in the race for the Copa Libertadores, Luque need the points as they continue to hover just above the relegation zone. Both sides have a defender suspended, Kike Meza (Olimpia) and Gonzalo Maulella (Luque) while both have injury doubts over their strikers – Arnaldo Castorino and Gerzon Chacón. Luque have won the previous two games against Olimpia but that was in the Feliciano Cáceres in front of their vociferous support – for this game the away fans were handed just 30 tickets as El Decano try to swing the balance in their favour.
Olimpia XI (probable): Martín Silva; Salustiano Candia, Julio Cesar Cáceres, Eugenio Montiel; Eduardo Aranda, Richard Ortiz, Miguel Amado, Sebastián Ariosa; Juan Manuel Salgueiro; Fredy Bareiro, Arnaldo Castorino//Julio Santa Cruz
Luque XI (probable): Tobías Vargas; Claudio Vargas, Luciano Vera, Rolando Bogado, Sergio Vergara; William Shcuster, Juan Abente, Edgar Robles, Ariel Coronel, Diego Godoy; Guido Di Vanni
BEST BET: Both teams to score
Carapeguá must see this as a golden opportunity to pull themselves out of the relegation zone, a win would just edge them above Luque in the standings. They’ve been decent at home, two wins and a draw in their last five games there with the pair of defeats coming to 1st-placed Guaraní and 2nd-placed Nacional. History is also on their side, Carapeguá haven’t lost to Indpendiente, two wins and a draw in their previous meetings this year. It is expected Carapeguá will play with three at the back, preferred by Celso Ayala who also will give David Pereira a debut having impressed in the reserves. The key figure in my opinion is Ricardo Ortiz who has the experience to create chances against Independiente’s weak defence. For the visitors the pace of Davalos and Cáceres at full back could cause some problems while Luis Miño is dangerous if given space to shoot from distance.
Carapeguá XI (probable): Fabiano Heves; González Ferreira, Marcos Arce, Derlis Correa; Raúl Cáceres, Rodrigo Soria; Michel Valenzuela, Diosnel Almirón, Ricardo Ortiz; Arnulfo Colmán, David Pereira
Independiente XI (probable): Roque Cardozo; Víctor Dávalos, Milciades Portillo, Miguel Almirón, Mario Cáceres; Michel Romero, Luis Miño, José Báez, Aldo Vera; Roberto Martínez, Luciano Ursin0
Best Bet: Home win
Rubio Ñu vs Cerro Porteño (TV)
Estadio Antonio Oddone
Cerro Porteño’s season is effectively over, they were knocked out of the Copa Sudamericana and thanks to their Apertura title they have already qualified for both of next year’s continental competitions. So you would be forgiven for thinking that they will try and blood youngsters and rest their major stars, but Fossati wants to keep fighting, if only just to finish ahead of Olimpia. Expect a full squad against Rubio Ñu. Take into account this game is in Ciudad del Este, Rubio Ñu selling the rights to the game to try and make more money from Cerro fans in the border town.
Rubio Ñu XI (probable): Wilfrido Quiñonez; Alberto Espínola, Derlis Riveros, Oscar Velázquez, Nelson Ruiz; Angel Lucena, Fredy Coronel, Robert Piris, Roberto Acuña, Diego Chamorro; Cristian Ledesma
Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Mariano Uglessich, Pedro Benítez, Cesar Benítez; Carlos Bonet, Fidencio Oviedo, Julio Dos Santos, Walter López; Jonathan Fabbro; Santiago Salcedo, Roberto Nanni
BEST BET: Over 2.5 goals
Guaraní vs Nacional (TV)
Week 16 is saving the best until last with 1st vs 2nd on Sudnay evening in Dos Bocas. Guaraní can welcome Diego Centurión back to the starting line-up, and the league topscorer will be key. The sides come into this with contrasting form, Guaraní have failed to win their last three, Nacional have won their previous trio of matches. This is a defining moment for Diego Alonso who must get his team re-focussed to ensure they can keep distance between themselves and the chasing pack. I think, with the experience of Orteman in the middle the home team will just have a enough in what promises to be a cracking ninety minutes of football.
Guaraní XI (probable): Pablo Aurrecochea; Eduardo Filippini, Luis Cabral, Elvis Marecos, Edgar Aranda; Luis de la Cruz, Sergio Orteman, Marcelo Palau, Jorge Mendoza; Dario Ocampo; Diego Centurión
Nacional XI (probable): Ignacio Don; Ramón Coronel, Denis Caniza, Raúl Piris, Marcos Miers; Carlos Ruiz Peralta, Marcos Riveros, Silvio Torales, Marcos Melagerjo; Cesar Cáceres Cañete; Rodrigo Teixeira
BEST BET: Both Teams to Score
By Ralph Hannah