And so we begin! Sol de América vs Cerro Porteño in Luque kicks off the Apertura 2013 named “Don Osvaldo Dominguez Dibb” in honour of Olimpia’s ex-President, the most successful club president in Paraguayan football. We also have a spicy encounter between Guarani and Libertad to round off Saturday with Nacional and Carapeguá sandwiched between the two televised matches.
Sol de América vs Cerro Porteño
Feliciano Cáceres, Luque
09/02/2013; 18:40 (21:40 GMT)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)
A neutral venue for this game with Sol’s Luis Giagni stadium deemed to small to host the raucous travelling support. It is a stern opening day test for Ricardo Dabrowski’s men who have prepared well with a tour of northern Argentina including two friendlies against Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario. Cerro Porteño’s most recent friendly against Libertad ended in farce when the light’s went out and the game was suspended last weekend, before that they were in Uruguay where they won a friendly tournament.
Nacional have been sharing the goals r0und well recently, six different scorers in their previous five games, and while Rodrigo Teixeira is the striker leading the line they have goals all over the pitch with midfielders Marcos Melgarejo and Carlos Ruiz Peralta finding the net recently while Javier Gonzalez popped up with a crucial goal to break down Carapeguá in the last game, his first since September.
Historically Sol have done well in recent meetings, losing just one in five and winning the previous two games, so they will go into this match with plenty of confidence. The strongest area of the pitch for the danzarin is midfield with Sergio Escalante, Edgar Orzusa and David Mendieta all providing plenty of creativity.
Cerro Porteño are without Jonathan Fabbro who complained of a niggly injury following a stellar second-half showing against El Salvador in midweek. There will be a debut for Paul Ambrosi, the Ecuadorean veteran will play as left wing back in a 3-4-3 formation. Another starter worth noting is Ocsar Romero one half of the talented ‘Romero Twins’ who could really make an impact this season in the league while major names are rested for the Libertadores.
Best Bet: Although I’ve backed the away win it isn’t the best option with Fabbro out and Sol’s good record in these games, safer bet is Over 2.5 goals
Sol de América XI (probable): Roberto Acosta; Bruno Valdez, Ricardo Martinez, Adalberto Giori, Diego Arruá; Sergio Escalante, Marcos Duré, Edgar Orzusa, David Mendieta, Alfredo Mazacotte; Diego Vázquez
Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Gonzalo Viera, Victor H. Mareco, Luis Cardozo; Carlos Bonet, Julio Dos Santos, Fidencio Oviedo, Paul Ambrosi; Oscar Romero, Santiago Salcedo, Roberto Nanni
Guaraní vs Libertad
09/02/2013; 20:50 (23:50 GMT)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)
The evening’s entertainment finishes with what is usually a cracking game between Guarani and Libertad, the latter of course were champions in the Clausura 2012 and are my favourites to win this year’s competition. They have strengthened an already mean defence with the signing of Pedro Benítez from Cerro Porteño and in midfield there is also a return for the experienced Pablo Guiñazú.
Guaraní also welcome a returning hero, the Brazilian striker Rodrigo Teixeira is back following his stint at Nacional while crucially they have held onto key players from last year such as Diego Centurión, Marcelo Palau and Sergio Orteman. They will be desperate to take advantage of the fact that Libertad, Cerro and Olimpia have the Copa Libertadores to distract them while the aurinegro can concentrate fully on the league.
It isn’t an easy game to call, Libertad have won on their last four visits so if I had to pick a winner it would be them although I could see this being a draw. It is going to be great to see the two ‘pelados’ Orteman and Guiñazú clash in central midfield today. Expect a great atmosphere.
Best Bet: BTTS could be safer than trying to pick a winner in this one.
Guarani XI (probable): Pablo Aurrecochea; Tomás Bartomeus, Julio Cesar Caceres, Luis Cabral, Edgar Aranda; Luis de la Cruz, Marcelo Palau, Sergio Orteman, Jorge Mendoza; Diego Centurion, Rodrigo Teixeira
Libertad XI (probable): Rodrigo Muñoz; Jorge Moreira, Ismael Benegas, Pedro Benítez, Miguel Samudio; Nelson Romero, Sergio Aquino, Pablo Guiñazú, Wili Mendieta; José Ariel Nuñez, Pablo Velázquez
Nacional vs Carapeguá
Defensores del Chaco
09/02/2013; 19:00 (22:00 GMT)
Carapeguá could be exciting this year with Celso Ayala bringing in plenty of players but I think Nacional will be too good for them especially with the signing of Ramon Cardozo who looked very motivated in pre-season. It wouldn’t surprise me if his goal is the difference today.
By Ralph Hannah