Chile vs Paraguay
Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza
15/01/2013, 20:00 (23:00 GMT)
Following Friday night’s heroics and Argentina failing to win at their third attempt, the albirrojita are on course to qualify for the final round. They face the already-qualified Chile who are missing two players through suspension having picked up four red cards so far in this tournament.
So far we have seen a 4-4-2 and a 3-4-3 from Paraguay but we are starting to get to know the key players in the side, Teodoro Paredes has played well both as right back and one of three centre backs while Derlis Gonzalez was critical in the victory over Argentina as was Cecilio Dominguez. The interest is in central midfield, Iván Ramirez put in a tremendous 90 minutes in the previous game in a classic defensive midfield performance shielding his back four, the introduction of Miguel Almirón in that zone in the 2nd half improved Paraguay’s passing immensely. We should see those two start tonight’s match, especially with news that Robert Piris da Motta suffered an injury in training and won’t be available for selection.
Chile have announced they will rest players for this game, they have already qualified for the final round so want to recuperate fully before the Hexagonal final starts on Sunday. The albirrojitos will be happy if they don’t have to defend against players like Nicolás Castillo of Universidad Católica who has scored two already. The suspension of Cristian Cuevas is also good news, the O’Higgins midfielder’s absence could allow more space for Almirón to find his strikers.
Paraguay XI (possible): Diego Morel; Teodoro Paredes, Matias Perez, Gustavo Gomez; Jorge Rojas, Iván Ramirez, Miguel Almirón, Manuel Balbuena; Derlis Gonzalez, Cecilio Dominguez, Bryan Montenegro
Prediction: Chile are already through, Paraguay will fancy their chances – 1-3 to the Paraguayans
Author’s Note: I don’t understand why in so many publications Manuel Balbuena is named as Jorge Balbuena, maybe it is his first name but on his facebook account he is called ‘Manu Balbuena Carreras’
By Ralph Hannah