Defensor Sporting vs Olimpia
Estadio Luis Franzini, Montevideo
24/01/2013; 19:00 (22:00 GMT)
TV: Fox Sports (Latin America); ESPN (UK)
Olimpia begin their quest for the fabled fourth Copa Libertadores title in familiar surroundings, this is their 16th game in Uruguay in continental comptitions and 32nd against sides from charrúa territory. They only have three wins to their name coming in 1991 against Nacional, 1993 again versus Nacional and most recently in 1998 against Peñarol. Those three games all took place in the Estadio Centenario, the most recent visit to tonight’s venue, the Luis Franzini, was last year’s Copa Sudamericana where they played out a goalless draw with Danubio.
Their only previous competitive games against Defensor Sporting was for the 2010 Copa Sudamericana, a 2-0 defeat in Uruguay followed by a 1-1 draw in Asunción saw the Decano knocked out in the preliminary stages. All has not been well recently in the Olimpia camp, on Monday the players abandoned the ‘concentración’ in an ongoing dispute with the board over upaid wages. While the trip to this game was never in doubt (ultimately the club MUST qualify for the group stages to get enough prize money to pay off debt and salaries) it represents little change from Marcelo Recanate’s first spell as president (he was recently re-elected for a second term).
Ivan Almeida is unable to count on two of his summer signings, midfielders Wilson Pittoni and Tomás Guzman both miss out with injuries, it means Juan Manuel Salgueiro is likely to be the creator in midfield. He’ll be providing the bullets to Fredy Bareiro who has plenty of experience at this level and the exciting Arnaldo Castorino who always impresses with his energy, clever running and approach play. The good news is that Richard Ortiz made the trip despite reports that he may stay in Paraguay to negotiate a transfer to Europe, the tenacious midfielder will add steel to Olimpia’s spine. Admittedly I’m yet to see Olimpia in pre-season friendlies this year but reports suggest they will line up in a 3-4-1-2 formation with Herminio Miranda’s transfer completed just in time to play in central defence. Interestingly the probable starting eleven features four Uruguayans including ex-Defensor Sporting players Martin Silva and Sebastián Ariosa.
Defensor Sporting’s key players are diminuitive defensive midfielder Diego Rodríguez who was part of the recent Olympics squad and has represented the senior national team and the experienced Andrés Fleurquin who partners him in the middle of the park, the 37-year-old has played in Turkey, Austria, France and Spain outside of his home country. Veteran striker Nicolás Olivera returns to the club for his fifth spell, a fans favourite he will hope to give them something to cheer tonight.
Olimpia XI (probable): Martin Silva; Salustiano Candia, Herminio Miranda, Enrique Meza; Alejandro Silva, Eduardo Aranda, Richard Ortiz, Sebastian Ariosa; Juan Manuel Salgueiro; Fredy Bareiro, Arnaldo Castorino
Defensor Sporting (probable): Jonathan Irrazábal, Emilio Zeballos, Ramón Arias, Mario Risso, Robert Herrera, Aníbal Hernández, Diego “Toro” Rodríguez, Andrés Fleurquin, Diego “Zurdo” Rodríguez, Nicolás Olivera, Ignacio Risso
Selected Odds: Defensor Sporting win 2.06 , Draw 3.45, Olimpia win 4.2, 1-1 draw 7.6, Under 2.5 goals 1.74
Best Bet: I‘m torn between BTTS (Both teams to score) at 1.95 and Defensor Sporting to win the first half at 2.74 – my thoughts being that neither side is great defensively and Olimpia are slow starters. Will probably do both for fun.
Plenty in the opening paragraphs but here is a quick form guide.
Olimpia last 5 Copa Libertadores Away
Pld 5 W 0 D 1 L 4 GF 6 GA 15
Olimpia last 5 Continental Comps. (All venues)
Pld 5 W 0 D 3 L 2 GF 3 GA 10 – includes two 0-0 draws
Full squad list
7-CARLOS HUMBERTO PAREDES
14-JUAN CARLOS FERREYRA
18-JUAN MANUEL SALGUEIRO
By Ralph Hannah