Nacional have done the league a huge favour by inflicting defeat on Guaraní and reducing the gap to one point, it means Libertad and to an extent Olimpia and Cerro Porteño will feel they have a chance of catching the leaders as we enter the home straight of the 2012 Clausura. Here is a round-up of each game.
Sol vs Libertad
Defensores del Chaco
A goalless draw between the two sides that have a penchant for ending games all square, Sol have nine draws to their name in 15 games, Libertad have 8 from 16. The danzarín did create chances but it was Libertad who dominated possession but were unable to find a goal, obviously missing topscorer José Ariel Nuñez who is suspended.
The most poignant moment of the match was the re-appearance of Juan ‘El Mágico’ Samudio almost two years after serious injury, the 34-year-old is a Libertad hero holding the record of the all-time topscorer in Paraguayan football.
Tacuary vs Cerro de Franco
(2-0) 4-0 – Nicolas Martinez (3), Brian Montenegro
Tacuary shocked us all with four goals, the first time since November last year that they’ve managed the feat. Nicolas Martinez has been something of a revelation up front, his hattrick means he now has seven goals in the last five games and is second topscorer in the league with nine strikes. The 23-year-old is back in Paraguay having covered most of the continent playing in Mexico, Colombia and most recently Brazil with Juventude in Rio Grande do Sul.
At times the defending from Cerro de Franco was shocking, the third goal – scored by ex-West Ham Utd player Brian Montenegro – was the result of a centreback dawdling on the edge of his own area. The result is indicative of the visitor’s feeling that they’ve done enough to secure their Primera status for another year.
Olimpia vs Luque
(0-0) 2-0 – Ariosa, F.Bareiro
A game highlighted by the divisive crowd, some chanting in support of Maxi Biancucchi while others responding with support of the club president Marcelo Recanate who had publicly threatened to kill the aforementioned player’s agent. The volume wasn’t particularly loud, the game far from a sell out with a lot of fans frustrated with the president and the poor play of the team. For the first half it seemed they had made the right decision, Olimpia unable to score despite having several chances.
The deadlock was broken by Uruguayan left-back Sebastián Ariosa a precise half-volley from the edge of the area, and the win was wrapped up by Fredy Bareiro on as a substitute for his namesake Nestór – the striker tapped in a low cross from Salgueiro. As for Luque they didn’t play well, once again the threat of relegation looms but with games against Carapeguá, Independiente and Rubio Ñu to come they know survival is still in their hands.
Carapeguá vs Independiente
Estadio Municipal de Carapeguá
(1-0) 2-0 – Pereira, Portillo (og)
Celso Ayala kept up his 100% record at home since taking the reins of El Potro with a comfortable victory over bottom of the table Independiente. His decision to give striker David Pereira his debut was vindicated after just 13 minutes when he headed in a Soria cross from the left. The second was an own goal from Milciades Portillo turning a cross into his own net in comical fashion.
Rubio Ñu vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Antonio Oddone Sarubbi
(0-0) 1-2 – Gamarra; S.Salcedo (2)
Fossati went with most of his big guns as he refuses to give up the title race, it paid off with Santiago Salcedo bagging his first brace for the azulgrana since 2005. He nodded in Julio Dos Santos’ excellent long pass to put the visitor’s ahead and got his second soon after as Cerro went route one and Nanni blocked off the defence to allow the striker a clean run; he lined up Quiñonez in goal and slotted the ball past him expertly.
Rubio Ñu had threatened throughout the game, forcing Barreto into several excellent one-on-one saves during the match, in the end their only reward was Roberto Gamarra’s deflected freekick that wrong-footed the Cerro goalkeeper. Chiqui Arce lamented after the game that it was “the same problem as always”, they really need a poacher to take the chances created by their talented midfield.
Guaraní vs Nacional
(0-1) 0-1 – Teixeira
A pulsating game to finish off the weekend as first played second, in the end it was the chasers that beat the leaders with an early strike from former-Guaraní striker Rodrigo Teixeira. The Brazilian was on had to smash in Marcos Melgarejo’s diverted cross after just five minutes.
Incredibly the scoreline didn’t alter after that despite both teams having a host of opportunities – Guaraní were particularly strong down the flanks and bombarded Nacional with crosses, Raúl Piris did particularly well in central defence to see off the threat of Centurión. The result means Nacional have won their last four while Guaraní are on a four-game winless streak – the momentum has shifted!
Player of the Week: Nicolás Martínez has to get it for his hattrick, it isn’t easy being a Tacuary striker so scoring three in one game is worth this award.
Goal of the Week: Particularly enjoyed Ariosa’s strike which you can see above, watched it well and made a sweet connection to drill the volley in
By Ralph Hannah