Uruguay vs Paraguay
Estadio Centenario, Montevideo
22/03/2013, 19:00 hs (22:00 GMT)
TV: SNT & Telefuturo (Paraguay) Livesport.tv (ROW)
The first of two away games for the albirroja in their quest for a fifth successive World Cup appearance which at present looks highly unlikely. To date the Paraguayans have struggled greatly on their travels, losing all five matches as visitors which has contributed to them being last in the qualifying group. Uruguay are also underperforming by their standards, the World Cup semi finalists find themselves in the playoff position on goal difference level on points with Chile and Venezuela.
Gerardo Pelusso is likely to use experience over youth with Nelson Haedo (Valencia) and Oscar Cardozo (Benfica) expected to start up front. In defence they have already been rocked by the loss of Antolin Alcaraz to injury and now Lorenzo Melgarejo is a doubt. Paulo Da Silva is in line to become the most capped Paraguay player of all time, making his 11th appearance to beat Carlos Gamarra’s record. We’ve been accustomed to seeing three central midfielders previously but Pelusso has opted for four a cross the middle with a rather defensive aspect, Oviedo holding with Riveros pressing in the central roles while Victor Ayala and Richard Ortiz are on either flank, both players have also been used at full back in earlier stages of their careers. Ayala is a key player because of his danger from set pieces and the player most likely to profit is Tijuana’s Pablo Aguilar who has four goals in his previous four international games.
Uruguay are a combative side in the middle of the park with this match often referred to as the ‘garra’ derby with both sides typically agressive and physical. Of course Uruguay currently possess a lot of attacking flair, Luis Suarez will partner a Diego Forlán on a scoring streak (7 goals in 7 games in the Guacho championship) with Cavani consigned to the bench. Diego Perez is the ball winner in the middle with Lodeiro a playmaker next to him, interesting to see how that will work.
It is unlikely Paraguay can keep a cleansheet in Montevideo but with Ayala on set pieces and the generally solid formation we could be looking at a score draw.
Prediction: Arguably the Paraguayans are better when their backs are against the walls, Uruguay haven’t been clinical at home, 1-1
Uruguay XI (probable): Fernando Muslera; Maximiliano Pereira, Diego Lugano, Diego Godín, Álvaro Pereira; Álvaro González, Diego Pérez, Nicolás Lodeiro, Cristian Rodríguez; Diego Forlán, Luis Suárez.
Paraguay XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Ivan Piris, Paulo Da Silva, Pablo Aguilar, Miguel Samudio; Victor Ayala, Fidencio Oviedo, Cristian Riveros, Richard Ortiz, Nelson Haedo, Oscar Cardozo
SELECTED ODDS: Uruguay win 1.65; Draw 4.0; Paraguay win 6.8; 1-1 scoreline 7.8; Under 2.5 goals 1.92
BEST BET: Tough one, Uruguay too short in my opinion considering that they drew with both Venezuela and Ecuador at home so I’d look at BTTS, the celeste have just one cleansheet in their previous eight home World Cup Qualifiers
STATS AND TRIVIA
Paraguay vs Uruguay Head-to-Head (World Cup Qualifiers)
Pld 11 W 7 D 1 L 3 GF 18 GA 8
Paraguay vs Uruguay in Montevideo (World Cup Qualifiers)
Pld 5 W 2 D 0 L 3 GF 3 GA 5
Paraguay last 5 World Cup Qualifiers (Away)
Pld 5 W 0 D 0 L 5 GF 2 GA 12
Paraguay last 5 (All competitions, all venues)
Pld 5 W 3 D 0 L 2 GF 7 GA 5 (on a run of three consecutive wins)