Clausura Week 9: Cerro Porteño vs Sportivo Luqueño preview

Cerro Porteño vs Sportivo Luqueño
La Olla, Asunción
20/09/2014; 17:10 (22:10 BST)
TV: Tigo Sports (Paraguay)

Leo Astrada returns to La Olla having had to coach three consecutive away games with Cerro Porteño in his second spell at the Barrio Obrero club. They face a Sportivo Luqueño side that has continued to do well under Daniel Navarro following Eduardo Rivera’s resignation. In fact the auriazul head into this clash with just one defeat in 14 (to leaders Guarani) and are ahead of Cerro in the table.

Photo: Club Sportivo Luqueño - prensa

Photo: Club Sportivo Luqueño – prensa

While Arce didn’t want to rest players in the league, Leo Astrada has a history of favouring continental tournaments over domestic so some first teamers players will step aside today. Youngster Bruno Valdez will play alongside Mareco at centre-back while Oviedo and Oscar Romero are set to watch from the bench. Iván Torres and Sergio Díaz are likely starters.

Veteran Brazilian Rodrigo Teixeira and Argentina Guido Di Vanni are likely to play up front, filling Luque’s foreigners quota. Navarro usually plays with three strikers so either Derlis Alegre or Marcelo Ferreira will fill the remaining spot. Midfielder Luis Miño has been making the side tick so far, the 25-year-old has a good range of passing and is dangerous from far out. Cristhian Aguada the left-sided player is exciting to watch, the 21-year-old full back he likes to get forward and scored the equalizer from the bench against Olimpia earlier in the season – could he do the same today?

Prediction: 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Carlos Bonet, Bruno Valdez, Victor Hugo Mareco, Junior Alonso; Mauricio Sperduti, Miguel Paniagua, Julio Dos Santos, Iván Torres; José Ortigoza, Sergio Díaz

Luqueño XI (probable): Rodolfo Rodriguez; Mario Saldívar, Carlos Rolón, José Leguizamón, Sergio Vergara; Miguel Godoy, Luis Miño, Lorenzo del Valle; Derlis Alegre, Rodrigo Teixeira, Guido di Vanni.

By Ralph Hannah

Paraguay national team: Paraguay vs UAE friendly preview

Paraguay vs United Arab Emirates
Stadion Villach Lind, Klagenfurt, Austria
07/09/2014; 12:30 (18:30 CET)
TV: Telefuturo (Paraguay)


Paraguay play their fourth friendly of the year in the Austrian town of Villach where they take on United Arab Emirates. It is their first game against AFC opposition since 2010 when they thrashed Hong Kong 7-0, that day Roque Santa Cruz scored twice and the Malaga striker is set to win his 100th cap for the Albirroja on Sunday. Santa Cruz will become just the 6th player to reach a centenary of Paraguay caps equalling Denis Caniza and Roberto Acuña and he is just three behind goalkeeper Justo Villar. Defenders Carlos Gamarra (110) and Paulo Da Silva (116) are in 2nd and 1st place respectively.

Training in Austria - Photo: Seleccion Paraguaya

Training in Austria – Photo: Seleccion Paraguaya

This is Paraguay’s first game against UAE, currently ranked 65th in the world (one place above Ireland) and coached by Mahdi Ali who won the Gulf Cup of Nations last year as they beat Iraq in the final in extra time. They sound like fairly stiff opposition currently on the run of their lives, as Wael Jabir tells me on Twitter “They went unbeaten for 20 games from 2012 – 2014 with a peak FIFA ranking of 58 in February” and there is no doubt who the star player is “Omar Abdulrahman…search his name on YouTube” says Abdulraham Almheiri (so I did) while @aeody has taken to calling him “Maestro Omar Abdulrahman” such is the 21-year-old’s obvious talent.

Of course the current Paraguayan crop have their fair share of exciting attacking talent – Tonny Sanabria of Roma is being groomed for next year’s qualifiers and he is likely to be flanked by FC Basel’s Derlis Gonzalez and Cerro Porteño’s Oscar Romero in a fluid trident behind the target man Roque. In central defence Pablo Aguilar of Club América is looking like the new leader and he could well be handed the armband once Santa Cruz steps aside, he’ll partner youngster Gustavo Gómez again with a view to the qualifiers after the 2015 Copa América. Victor Genes has given Copa Libertadores winner Nestor Ortigoza a 2nd chance, the big man in midfield needs those around him to do the leg work but he will surely find the runs of the flying youngsters like Derlis Gonzalez and Sanabria time and again.


L-R Derlis Gonzalez & Tonny Sanabria - Photo: Seleccion Paraguaya

L-R Derlis Gonzalez & Tonny Sanabria – Photo: Seleccion Paraguaya


Paraguay XI (possible): Joel Silva; Jorge Moreira, Gustavo Gómez, Pablo Aguilar, Junior Alonso; Víctor Cáceres, Néstor Ortigoza; Derlis Gonzalez, Tonny Sanabria, Óscar Romero; Roque Santa Cruz

Prediction: 2-1

Best Bet: I like BTTS knowing that Paraguay are always good for a goal but UAE seem to have a bit of flair themselves and will look to play offensively


Stats and Trivia

Paraguay vs AFC opposition

Pld 33 W 11 D 16 L 6 GF 39 GA 23

Paraguay in Austria

Pld 3 W 2 D 1 L 0 GF 3 GA 1 

Paraguay beat Georgia and Cameroon at neutral venues in 2006 and 2014 and played a goalless draw with Austria in Vienna in 2007.

Paraguay last 5

Pld 5 W 1 D 2 L 2 GF 6 GA 7

UAE last 5

Pld 5 W 1 D 3 L 1 GF 6 GA 6


By Ralph Hannah

Clausura 2014 Week 5: Cerro Porteño vs Guarani preview

Cerro Porteño vs Guaraní
La Olla, Asunción
23/08/2014; 18:30 (23:30 BST)
TV: Tigo Sports (Paraguay)

The biggest game of the fledgeling season, table-toppers Guarani could be pegged back by their hosts Cerro Porteño one of a four-strong chasing pack. Cerro return to La Olla after a successful midweek excursion to Montevideo in the Sudamericana, they have now kept four straight cleansheets as Chiqui Arce’s side begin to click into gear. The aurinegro like their rivals have no trouble finding the net, although a repeat of the 5-5 draw in their previous meeting might be a bit too optimistic.


The Azulgrana can’t afford to rest players as the league is important for qualification into the 2015 Libertadores, with that in mind Arce will play his strongest team and hopes to welcome back Dani Guiza from injury. The main decision is who he plays as his designated U20s player – either Junior Alonso or José Ortigoza will have to make way for Carlos Montiel or Sergio Diaz respectively, my money is on the former. One of the key players today will be central defender Danilo Ortiz who will have to out muscle Federico Santander, not an easy task.

Jubero will want his team to attack, it is afterall his best form of defence with the aformentioned Santander forming a great partnership with Fernando Fernandez as the youngster almost seems to steal space to always find himself on the end of a flick or cross. Adilson Lezcano had a strong game at right back last week, his pace could help the side on the break although he is likely to find himself pegged back by Cerro’s Oscar Romero. Iván Gonzalez Ferreira is a fantastic player and will look to cause problems by running at the defence, cutting in and shooting from distance – he’ll be a thorn in Cerro’s side all afternoon that’s for sure.

Prediction: 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Carlos Bonet, Bruno Valdez, Danilo Ortiz, Carlos Montiel; Mauricio Sperduti, Fidencio Oviedo, Julio Dos Santos, Oscar Romero; José Ortigoza, Dani Guiza

Guaraní XI (probable): Joel Silva; Adilson Lezcano, Julio César Cáceres, Luis Cabral, Edgar Aranda; Dario Ocampo, Marcelo Palau, Juan Aguilar, Iván Gónzalez Ferreira; Federico Santander, Fernando Fernandez

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair


By Ralph Hannah

Copa Sudamericana: Rentistas vs Cerro Porteño preview

Rentistas vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Luis Franzini, Montevideo 
19/08/2014; 17:00 (22:00 BST)
Preliminary Round, 1st Leg
TV: Fox Sports (Latin America)

Cerro Porteño embark on another continental campaign desperate to make an impact having just seen their Barrio Obrero neighbours Nacional reach the Libertadores Final. This is their 9th participation in the Copa Sudamericana, last year they went out at this stage with a surprise home defeat to Uni. Católica which almost cost Chiqui Arce his job. Their best performance remains the 2009 edition of the competition where they reached the Semi-Finals winning in La Paz and beating two Brazilian sides (Goias & Botafogo) on the way.

Photo: Daniel Riveros - Ultima Hora

Photo: Daniel Riveros – Ultima Hora

The Azulgrana will line up without Dani Guiza who is suspended following his red card against Cruzeiro in the Copa Libertadores. José Ortigoza had a great game in the league and he will start with Oscar Romero and Mauricio Sperduti playing off him. Julio Dos Santso will captain the team and while he plays a more withdrawn role these days he can provide goals from midfield, in fact he finished joint topscorer in this year’s Libertadores. In defense there is experience with Carlos Bonet who represented Libertad in this competition many times while centre-back Danilo Ortiz will be under the spotlight with several foreign clubs said to be tracking the 22-year-old who bullies forwards with his rough and tumble approach.

Rentistas aren’t one of Uruguay’s traditional big clubs and have qualified for a continental competition for the first time in their history, they were in the 2nd division in 2010/11 and 2012/13. Their topscorer in last year’s Clausura was Octavio Rivero who has since moved to Chile, so the goal threat could come from youngster David Terans. English football fans may recognize Brazilian midfielder Anderson Silva who played for Barnsley and took part in the giantkilling of Liverpool at Anfield in the 2007/08 FA Cup.

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Carlos Bonet, Danilo Ortiz, Victor Hugo Mareco, Junior Alonso; Fidencio Oviedo, Miguel Paniagua, Julio Dos Santos; Mauricio Sperduti, Oscar Romero; José Ortigoza

Prediction: 0-1

Selected Odds: Rentistas win 3.8, Draw 3.3, Cerro win 2.22, 0-1 away win 6.8, Under 2.5 goals 1.63

Best Bet: Cerro Porteño have kept three straight cleansheets and they’ll be confident they can snatch an important AWAY WIN here


Stats and Trivia

Cerro Porteño vs Uruguayan opposition  (Copa Sudamericana )

Pld 4 W 2 D 1 L 1 GF 7 GA 4

Cerro Porteño in Montevideo (Copa Sudamericana)

Pld 2 W 1 D 1 L 0 GF 4 GA 2 

Cerro Porteño’s two previous games in Montevideo were in the Centenario where they beat Peñarol (3-1) and drew with Defensor Sporting (1-1)

Cerro Porteñ0 away record (Copa Sudamericana)

Pld 18 W 6 D 5 L 7 GF 28 GA 32

Cerro have only won one of their last 7 away games in the competition, a 2-1 win over Colón de Santa Fe in the 2012 Last 16.

Authors Note: All odds are selected from Betfair Sports and accurate at the time of writing, there is a live market on this game

Copa Sudamericana 2014: Paraguayan club-by-club guide

As ever there are four Paraguayan sides in the Copa Sudamericana, the champion with the most points earned during 2013 (Cerro Porteño) and the three non-champions with the highest points total that didn’t qualify for the Libertadores. Last year’s semi-finalists Libertad return for their tenth appearance while General Díaz and Capiatá will play continental football for the first time in their history just one year after being promoted to Primera.



ClubLibertadLogoFounded: 30 July 1905

Previous participation: 2013 (SF)

Best finish: Semi Final (2013)

Opponents: Nacional Potosí (Bolivia) and should they progress Barcelona (Ecuador) or Alianza Lima (Peru)


All-time record: 

Pld W D L F A
38 17 6 15 43 38

 Experience; many of the players have played in continental competition many times so know what it is to be travelling midweek. Pace; there is plenty of it in the team with players like right back Moreira, midfielders Antonio Bareiro and Jorge Gonzalez and “Pollo” Recalde up front. Focus; having won the Apertura they have qualified for the 2015 Libertadores so can treat this competition as a priority.

Weaknesses: Goalscoring has been an issue in the games Rodrigo López hasn’t played in, hopefully the veteran Uruguayan can stay fit to play a part in the campaign. Central midfield is solid with the presence of Molinas and Aquino but it isn’t dynamic, if they come up against a team that plays at a high tempo they could struggle.

One to watch: Antonio Bareiro is an exciting right winger who enjoys running with the ball and taking on his full back. Don’t be surprised to see his 5 ft 5 in frame rising above defenders to win headers, he has an incredible leap.

Prediction: Last 16


General Díaz


GeneralDiazLogoFounded: 22 November 1917

Previous participation: None

Best finish: N/a

All-time record: N/a

Opponents: Cobresal (Chile) and should they progress Dep. La Guaira (Venezuela) or Atletico Nacional (Colombia)

Strengths: Organization, stability and team spirit which all come from the portly Humberto Garcia who has been coach of the Luque-based club since 2011 overseeing the 2012 Intermedia title win that put them in Primera last year. They are solid in defense with

Weaknesses: A relatively small squad and inexperience at this level. They are also on a rotten run of form in the league.

One to watch: Blas Cáceres had spells and Olimpia and Guaraní and never fails to impress with his pace and crossing down the left, his strike against Cerro Porteño this season is an indication of how talented he is.

Prediction: First Round


Cerro Porteño


Founded: 1 October 1912

Previous participation: 2013 (1st round)

Best finish: Semi-Finals (2009)

Opponents: Rentistas (Uruguay), potentially Trujillanos (Venezuela) or Independiente del Valle (Ecuador) in next round



All-time record:

Pld W D L F A
36 14 9 13 54 48

Strengths: Great going forward with Oscar Romero, Dani Guiza, José Ortigoza and Rodolfo Gamarra capable of testing the continent’s very best defenders. They had a good Libertadores campaign earlier in the year, going out to Cruzeiro, so this set of players knows what is expected of them.

Weaknesses: For whatever reason they can’t seem to win the big games in continental competition, maybe it is the pressure of knowing they’ve never reached a final or maybe bad luck but they always seem to fall short when it matters.

One to watch: Oscar Romero, I’ve mentioned him many times on this blog but he’s such an exciting player and surely on his way abroad in January. Great movement, excellent technique, pinpoint finishing the kid has got it all!

Prediction: Last 16






Founded: 4 September 2008

Previous participation: None

Best finish: First time

Opponents: Daubio (Uruguay) potentially Inti Gas (Peru) or Caracas FC (Venezuela) in next round

All-time record: N/a


Strengths: They can usually find a goal, either through veteran striker Fabio Escobar or a well-organized set piece. Hector Marecos is a smart coach who works well within his limitations.

Weaknesses: It looks like they won’t be able to play at their home stadium after it failed the CONMEBOL inspection. Like General Díaz they are inexperienced at this level with many some players set to leave Paraguay for the first time. They aren’t tight at the back conceding 37 goals in the Apertura and even in the excellent 2013 Clausura campaign they conceded 32, they could find it hard to avoid letting in an away goal.

One to watch: Oscar Ruiz is only 23 but has already been at several clubs including Libertad and Guarani – but he seems to have settled at Capiatá and the left-sided midfielder has great technique and a knack of arriving in the box at the right time. He scored 9 goals in 2013 and has 4 already this year from midfield.

Prediction: 1st round


By Ralph Hannah

Clausura 2014 Week 4: Guaraní vs Sol de América preview

Guaraní vs Sol de América
Dos Bocas, Asunción
17/08/2014; 15:30 (20:30 BST)
TV: Tigo Sports (Paraguay)

The Aurinegro finished second in the Apertura and have started this campaign well despite losing topscorer Jorge “Conejo” Benítez to Europe. They are currently on a 13-game unbeaten run stretching back to early May and have won their last two matches following a draw in the season opener. Three points today would put them in pole position.  Sol have also had a solid start, they were unlucky to lose their opener against Libertad and the 1-0 win over Rubio Ñu last week will be a confidence boost going into today’s clash.

Guarani will go top with a win - Photo: Club Guarani

Guarani will go top with a win – Photo: Club Guarani

Youngster Fernando Fernandez has been leading the line for Guaraní and is partnered by the ever-dangerous Federico Santander. Spanish coach Fernando Jubero relies on the grit and determination of Uruguayan Marcelo Palau in midfield to protect his back four. Dario Ocampo is as always a dangerous figure whether starting or coming off the bench with his darting runs and through balls, Iván Gonzalez Ferreira is an excellent runner with the ball, the Aborigen are full to the brim with offensive talent and will surely find the net today at home.

The Danzarín have lost central defender Bruno Váldez to Cerro Porteño but this week they gained the experience of veteran Claudio Morel Rodriguez who had played at Boca while Pompei was on the coaching staff there. In midfield the main threats are from Edgar Orzuza on the right hand side and Ignacio Miño in the middle who managed six goals in the Apertura. Up front Diego Vázquez is a very intelligent player and he is joined by the talented and temperamental Claudio Correa. Another striker, Cecilio Dominguez is back from his 4-game loan to Nacional where he played the semi-final and final of the Copa Libertadores although he might be rested today.

Prediction: 2-0

Best Bet: Home win is odds on but it is a good bet, if you can find Guaraní to score more than one goal that is also a strong option

Guaraní XI (probable): Joel Silva; Eduardo Filippini, Julio César Cáceres, Luis Cabral, Edgar Aranda; Dario Ocampo, Marcelo Palau, Juan Aguilar, Iván Gónzalez Ferreira; Federico Santander, Fernando Fernandez

Sol de América XI (probable): Gerardo Ortiz; Aureliano Torres, Adalberto Goiri, Raúl Cáceres, Celso Cáceres; Edgar Orzuza, Ignacio Miño, Edgar Villasboa, Marcos Duré; Diego Vázquez, Claudio Correa

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair


By Ralph Hannah

Clausura Week 4: Rubio Ñu vs Cerro Porteño preview

Rubio Ñu vs Cerro Porteño
La Arboleda, Asunción
15/08/2014; 19:00 (00:00 BST)
TV: Tigo Sports (Paraguay)

Having got their first win under their belt last weekend, Chiqui Arce’s side are looking to go momentarily joint top tonight in Asunción as Paraguay’s capital city celebrates her 477th birthday. Rubio Ñu have garnered just one point from their opening three games with relegation a very real possibility for the Trinidad-based club. Despite that start the albiverde can celebrate the fact they are playing Cerro Porteño at their home ground, a very rare occurrence and made possible thanks to the recent installation of floodlights. Expect a capacity crowd on this bank holiday Friday and events like these can only serve to improve the local league.

La Arboleda hosts tonight's game Photo: Julio C.Fernandez - Prensa Rubio Ñu

La Arboleda hosts tonight’s game Photo: Julio C.Fernandez – Prensa Rubio Ñu

The big blow for Cerro Porteño is the absence of Spanish striker Dani Guiza who is carrying an injury, it seems likely that Rodolfo Gamarra will play just off José Ortigoza in a blend of pace and power. New signing Mauricio Sperduti made his mark last game with a fine cross to set up Julio Dos Santos who has been in the goals of late, in fact he finished joint topscorer in the Copa Libertadores. Defense has been an issue, Victor Mareco still doesn’t convince and although Junior Alonso is a better left back than Montiel it is the latter who will probably start to fill the designated U20s cuota.

Rubio Ñu have struggled of late with no wins in five if you go back to the end of the Apertura, coincidentally their last victory was versus Cerro Porteño in that tournament, it was 4-1 capping a purple patch for Pablo Caballero’s team. Ex-Cerro striker Ale da Silva is set to start and other players to look out for is the Argentine midfielder Sergio Escalante and youngster in central midfield Roberto Piris who has a lovely range of passing. The defense is experienced with 4-time World Cup veteran Denis Caniza at centre-back and 33-year-old Uruguayan Diego Ciz at left back. Although for all their experience the collective lack of pace is likely to be exposed by Cerro’s rapid attack.

Prediction: 1-2

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals – this is traditionally high scoring as both team’s philosophies are based on attack, the goals per game average is 4.1 over the last 10 games!

Rubio Ñu XI (probable): Mario Santilli; Gustavo Giménez, Celso González, Denis Caniza, Diego Ciz; Sergio Escalante, Ismael Roa, Robert Piris, Diego Figueredo; David Pereira, Alejandro Da Silva

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Carlos Bonet, Danilo Ortiz, Victor Hugo Mareco, Carlos Montiel; Mauricio Sperduti, Miguel Paniagua, Julio Dos Santos, Oscar Romero; Rodolfo Gamarra, José Ortigoza

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair


By Ralph Hannah