Olimpia proved their squad has strength and depth with a hard fought win over Guaraní despite making some changes from the Copa Libertadores side that beat Universidad de Chile. It was a pulsating game that began with a bang and could have finished with a win for either team, especially during an end-to-end second half with both teams creating so many chances.
The first goal came after just two minutes, a sumptious strike from Fredy Bareiro, he picked the ball up over on the left and cut inside before curling the ball into the far corner, totally surprising Pablo Auerrecochea. Guaraní were rattled but slowly came back into the game only to find a resistant Olimpia defence with Martin Silva behind that. The equaliser did come though, in the final moments of the first half, via a dead ball situation as birthday boy Luis de la Cruz floated over a free kick that was met by Rodrigo Teixeira who had outjumped his marker and thundered his header in.
The second half was a great battle between two sides who will surely be contesting the title race come June, the game swung back and forth but in the end it was Olimpia who took the points. Ex-Guaraní defender Julio Manzur headed in the winner from a corner even though he was being pushed off balance by Sergio Orteman. A good win for the franjeado who play their Week 2 league match on Wednesday, rearranged due to Copa Libertadores commitments.
Nacional threw up a surprise by beating Libertad after a rare defensive error from Ruben Israel’s team, the ball given away in their own half and Marco Melgarejo was on hand to finish off a move with his weaker right foot. The midfielder will have enjoyed scoring the winner against his old club that ended a run of 19 matches without defeat for the Gumarelo. They are in action again this week taking on Brazilian side Palmeiras in the Copa.
Cerro Porteño fans finally had something to cheer about, although they continue to concede goals at an average of two per game, they managed to score four last night to see off their namesakes Cerro de Franco 4-2.
Jonathan Fabbro was in the mood, opening the scoring with a half volley after a training-ground freekick that was cut back in his direction. His second was superb, a direct freekick over the wall that left the goalkeeper floundered and kissed the post on its way in. That came just moments after the visiting side had been gifted an equaliser from the local left back Sergio Vergara who headed the ball over Diego Barreto and into his own net, serious miscommunication issues between the new teammates. In the second half the azulgrana were the best they’ve been this year – Angel Romero looks a very exciting prospect and set up Santiago Salcedo for a simple tap-in thanks to the 20-year-old’s well timed run and clever cut back. Julio Dos Santos sealed victory with a well hit half volley meaning there were no nerves when Cristian Andersen got a second for the team from Presidente Franco.
General Díaz 1-0 Sportivo Luqueño
Guaraní 1-2 Olimpia
Sol de América 0-0 Carapeguá
Nacional 1-0 Libertad
Rubio Ñu 1-2 Capiatá
Cerro Porteño 4-2 Cerro de Franco
By Ralph Hannah