Clausura 2012: Independiente vs Libertad preview

Independiente vs Libertad
Ricardo Gregor
30/11/2012; 17:00 (20:00 GMT)

***At the time of writing (00:30 GMT) there was a very small chance the game could be postponed due to heavy rain in Asunción on Thursday, I advise you check @Libertad_Guma for updates via Twitter***

Fans of the Gumarelo will be knocking off work early on Friday to see their team attempt to go top of the table, by virtue of playing the first game of week 20. This week all three title challengers (Guarani and Nacional being the other two) play away from home making this weekend the most likely in which we see twists and turns in an enthralling climax to the season.

The heavy rain meant Libertad trained indoors in ‘Chimpi Gol’ – Photo: Club Libertad Prensa

Ruben Israel has built his Libertad side on a strong defence with just 16 goals conceded (a record only bettered by Nacional) in his 19 games this season and keeping nine cleansheets. However, the strong defence hasn’t taken away from their goalscoring (they top that list in the Clausura!) with José Ariel Nuñez and Pablo Velázquez forming a formidable partnership; the latter is suspended following his very harsh dismissal against Cerro Porteño but there is plenty of creativity behind him. Nelson Romero on the right, Nestor Camacho on the left are both capable of unsettling defences and feeding their strikers with good centres and well-weighted through balls.

Independiente are at the other end of the spectrum, 35 goals conceded may only be the second worst defensive record but 14 goals scored is the lowest total in the league. Their awful record of just one win (in stark contrast to Libertad’s solitary defeat) has placed them firmly in the relegation zone which seemed almost impossible following their strong start to life in the Primera in 2011. They have a few talented individuals, Luis Miño in central midfield has a devastating shot and can be dangerous if given space while Aldo Vera is a tireless worker in midfield but also has the pace to surprise opponents.

Libertad should definitely take all three points, it might not be as spectacular as their previous trip to this side of Asunción (romping to a 7-2 win against Rubio Ñu) but they should win comfortably.

Prediction: 1-3

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals

Independiente XI (probable): Hermosilla; Martínez, Miguel Godoy, José Báez, Cáceres; Aldo Vera, Luis Miño, Romero, Franco García; Luciano Ursino, Gabriel Vieira

Libertad XI (possible): Rodrigo Muñoz; Aldo Olmedo, Joe Bizera, Ismael Benegas, Miguel Samudio; Nelson Romero, Sebastian Eguren, Sergio Aquino, Nestor Camacho; José Ariel Nuñez, Cristian Menendez

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