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.

CerroGuara

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

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By Ralph Hannah

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Clausura Week 2: Cerro Porteño vs Cerro de Franco preview

Cerro Porteño vs Cerro de Franco
La Olla, Asunción
04/08/2013; 17:40 (22:40 BST)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)

Cerro Porteño have drawn their opening two games 1-1 but showed a definite improvement in performance from the Guaraní game to the midweek draw in Chile with Universidad Católica. Most of the major players from that game will be present today as they play namesakes Cerro de Franco who visit from the east of the country.

José Ortigoza is the goal getter - Photo: La Nacion

José Ortigoza is the goal getter – Photo: La Nacion

Chiqui Arce has been impressed by José Ortigoza´s fitness who has trained well since Thursday and will make his debut today, the 26-year-old has already starred in the “Oriental Triangle” of South Korea, China and Japan having also played in for Palmeiras and Cruzeiro in neighbouring Brazil. This is the first time he has played outside of Sol de América in Paraguay, his pace and power is likely to cause plenty of problems. In midfield Juan Franco is the latest from the “class of 92” to play for the first team joining the Romero twins. Mathias Corujo impressed on the right side of midfield against Uni. Católica but he will probably drop back to full back and cover Carlos Bonet who can’t play two games in a week yet.

Eduardo Rivera has returned to try and save the club from the drop - Photo: D10.com.py

Eduardo Rivera has returned to try and save the club from the drop – Photo: D10.com.py

Cerro de Franco have lost 5 out of the 6 meetings with the azulgrana since being promoted back to Primera, their best result was a 2-2 draw. Their recent run of form is awful too, no wins in eight and just one in 14. The only good news is that Eduardo Rivera has returned, he was in charge in their impressive 2012 campaign and will hopefully restore some stability to the side that has conceded at least twice in six of their previous seven.

Prediction: 3-1

Best Bet: The home win looks very short so I’m tempting to go for Cerro Porteño -1 on the Asian Handicap with them likely to win by two goals or more

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Roberto Fernández; Mathías Corujo, Teodoro Paredes, Danilo Ortiz, Junior Alonso; Juan Franco, Fidencio Oviedo, Julio Dos Santos, Óscar Romero; Ángel Romero, José Ortigoza

Cerro de Franco XI (probable): Juan Espínola; Cristian Ramirez, Victor Velázquez, Cristian Rojas, Fulvio Duarte, Salvador Portillo, Miguel Godoy, Reinaldo López, Jorge Villar; Ariel Andrusyzsyn, Aquilino Gimienez

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By Ralph Hannah

Apertura 2013 Week 3: Cerro Porteño vs Cerro de Franco and Nacional vs Libertad preview

We have four games on Sunday to finish off Week 3 with Nacional vs Libertad the first match on TV followed by the “clásico cerrista” between Cerro Porteño and Cerro de Franco to finish off the weekend. Also Rubio Ñu play host to Capiatá and Carapeguá travel to Villa Elisa to play Sol de América.

Nacional vs Libertad
Defensores del Chaco, Asunción
24/02/2013; 17:30 (20:30 GMT)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)

Following their excellent win in Argentina, Libertad are back in action this Sunday in the Defensores del Chaco hoping to extend their 19-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Nacional on the other hand are wounded following their 5-2 thrashing in Ciudad del Este last weekend at the hands of Cerro de Franco.

Libertad are on a great run under Israel - Photo: ABC Color

Libertad are on a great run under Israel – Photo: ABC Color

Disappointed by his team’s poor showing in Alto Paraná, Gustavo Moringio has prepared several changes to today’s starting line-up most notably the return of Justo Villar to Paraguayan football, 8 years and 8 months since his previous match on guarani soil. David Mendoza and Marcos Melgarejo are expected to figure in a renovated left-hand side while Ricardo Tom Ortiz could start up front. Both Angel Orue and Gustavo Cristaldo are ineligible to play against their parent club.  It will be a 4-4-2.

Ruben Israel understands certain players will need a rest but doesn’t want to lose momentum so expect changes to the Copa Libertadores side from Thursday. Paraguay U20s captain Gustavo Gómez could partner Ismael Benegas in defence while Aldo Olmedo also comes in for Moreira at right back. Whatever the personnel changes the formation and strategy will remain the same as the Gumarelo will play in a 4-4-2 and try and stifle the Nacional midfield duo of Riveros and Torales.

Libertad have won the last four meetings between these two and that could well be extended to five this afternoon.

Prediction: 1-2

Best Bet: Libertad have conceded in both league meetings somewhat surprisingly and Nacional’s two games have included 14 goals – I think Over 2.5 goals makes sense today

Nacional XI (probable): Justo Villar; Ramón Coronel, Leonardo Cáceres, Raúl Piris, David Mendoza; Marcos Riveros, Silvio Torales; Julian Benítez, Marco Melgarejo; Ramón Cardozo, Ricardo Tom Ortiz

Libertad XI (probable): Rodrigo Muñoz; Aldo Olmeda, Gustavo Gomez, Ismael Benegas, Miguel Samudio; Claudio Vargas, Pablo Guiñazú, Sebastian Egueren, Nestor Camacho; Pablo Velázquez, Mauro Guevgeozián

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Cerro Porteño vs Cerro de Franco
La Olla, Asunción
24/02/2013; 19:40 (22:40 GMT)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)

The post-Fossati era begins for Cerro Porteño with youth team coach Roberto Torres taking the reins for tonight’s match. He has already shaken things up leaving out five players from the squad that had been involved in the previous matches including new signings Paul Ambrosi and Williams Martinez. Cerro de Franco visit the capital following an excellent win last weekend and will be desperate for revenge, the previous game between these sides ended 5-0 to the Asunción-based team.

Cerro fans have had to watch on as their opponents celebrate

Cerro fans have had to watch on as their opponents celebrate

El Ciclón are going to play a 4-3-1-2 formation in an attempt to shore up the defence that has conceded 2 goals per game in 2013 while also giving Fabbro the space he needs to make a difference. Youngsters Teodoro Paredes, Angel Romero and the future-Benfica player Jorge Rojas are all in the starting eleven. The old hands of Carlos Bonet, Julio Dos Santos, Jonathan Fabbro and Santiago Salcedo all keep their place.

Cerro de Franco don’t want to rock the boat after such an emphatic victory last week so the only change is in defence as Gustavo Velazquez returns to replace Marcos Perez. Cristian Andersen is the man in midfield who will try and drive the side forward but we can expect them to play defensively and hit Cerro Porteño on the break, especially with the Barrio Obrero outfit exploited on the counter so easily by both Sol de América and Real Garcilaso .

Cerro de Franco lost 3 of the 4 games against their ‘big brother’ last year and I can’t see them winning today although this is probably their best chance against a team in turmoil.

Prediction: 1-0

Best Bet: Don’t touch the result in this game with Cerro Porteño all over the place, I think it could be a low scorer with both teams a bit edgy, Under 2.5 goals for me

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Carlos Bonet, Teodoro Paredes, Luis Cardozo, Sergio Vergara; Jorge Rojas, Fidencio Oviedo, Julio dos Santos; Jonathan Fabbro; Angel Romero, Santiago Salcedo

Cerro de Franco  XI (probable): Fabiano Heves; Gustavo Noguera, Gustavo Velazquez, Cristian Ramirez, José Aguero; Miguel Godoy, Reinaldo López, Cristian Andersen, Leonardo Delvalle; Sergio Samudio, Francisco López

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Non-televised matches

Rubio Ñu vs Capiatá
Estadio La Arboleda, Asunción
24/02/2013; 17:30 (20:30 GMT)
Prediction: 2-0

Rubio Ñu won their opener at home and although they were unable to get close to Libertad they look a much better side that last year. Capiatá will be reeling from a huge defeat to Guaraní last weekend and I think the balance of the albiverde is strong enough to keep a cleansheet and find the goals needed for victory.

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Sol de América vs Carapeguá
Estadio Luis Giagni, Villa Elisa
24/02/2013; 17:30 (20:30 GMT)
Prediction: 2-1

Another home win for me in the other early kick-off, Ricardo Dabrowski’s team look good and are unbeaten in their two opening games. Carapeguá haven’t been able to find a win and have never been good travelers (they’ve lost their last 6 away games stretching back to last year). Could be goals in this one with both teams fairly expansive.

By Ralph Hannah

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Apertura 2013 Week 2: Carapeguá vs Cerro Porteño preview

Carapeguá vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Municipal, Carapeguá
15/02/2013; 17:30 (20:30 GMT)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)

The yearly stats are gloomy for Cerro Porteño as a weakened side travel the 85 km from Asunción to face Sportivo Carapeguá with a record of zero wins and two defeats, two goals scored and six conceded. With Thursday’s home match against Real Garcilaso already of utmost importance (I’ll refrain from calling it a ‘must win’ but it can’t be far off) Jorge Fossati has no other option but to rest his main stars for today’s league match.

Cerro's first game in the Estadio Municipal was in August 2012 - Photo: D10.com.py

Cerro’s first game in the Estadio Municipal was in August 2012 – Photo: D10.com.py

Carapeguá managed by Celso ‘Chito’ Ayala began the campaign with a thrilling 4-3 defeat to Nacional, the team vastly different to that of 2012. Jorge ‘Mono’ Britez is expected to play, despite accidentally killing somebody on his way home from training last week. Definite absentees are former Cerro player Julio Irrazabal (injury) and talented striker Arnulfo Colmán (sent off last week).

Ivan Torres set to make a rare start - Photo: Ultima Hora

Ivan Torres set to make a rare start – Photo: Ultima Hora

Interestingly both sides will line up with a back three, while Fossati has made huge changes to the team the philosophy is the same as always – with Jorge Rojas and Sergio Vergara as the wing backs it looks very offensive. The latter makes his debut having recently recovered from a bout of dengue fever. Up front the evergreen Alejandro Da Silva partners Guillermo Beltrán who made little impact last year.

Cerro Porteño have never lost to El Potro before, recording three wins and a draw in their previous meetings all of which took place in 2012. The draw, 1-1, came in the match at this stadium.

Prediction: 2-2

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals seems a good bet here with both teams looking fairly positive and both having conceded four goals in their league openers, finding a winner could prove tricky as neither of these XIs have played together very often

Carapeguá XI (probable): Roque Cardozo; Robert Aldama, Marcos Arce, Ruben Maldonado; Raúl Cáceres, Michel Romero, Jorge Brítez, Pedro Chávez, Richard Lugo; Isais Ibarra, Nildo Viera

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Luis Cardozo, Victor Mareco, Danilo Ortiz; Jorge Rojas, Edison Torres, Mathias Corujo, Sergio Vergara; Iván Torres; Alejandro da Silva, Guillermo Beltrán

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By Ralph Hannah

Apertura 2013 Week 1: Sol vs Cerro, Guaraní vs Libertad preview

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.

Cerro's new signing Paul Ambrosi

Cerro’s new signing Paul Ambrosi

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.

Prediction: 1-2

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

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Guaraní vs Libertad
Dos Bocas
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 squad for this year - Photo: ClubGuarani.com

Guaraní squad for this year – Photo: ClubGuarani.com

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.

Prediction: 1-2

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

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Non-televised game…

Nacional vs Carapeguá
Defensores del Chaco
09/02/2013; 19:00 (22:00 GMT)
Prediction 2-1

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

Clausura 2012: Nacional vs Cerro Porteño preview

Nacional vs Cerro Porteño
Estadio Arsenio Erico
09/12/2012; 17:15 (20:15 GMT)

The Barrio Obrero derby will be staged at the compact Arsenio Erico with Nacional keen to keep up their excellent home record, eight wins from their previous nine. In general they have been in formidable shape winning seven of the last eight games to keep up with Libertad a the top of the table. Today only a win will do for Gustavo Moringío’s side, the manager was on the pitch in the corresponding fixture in the 2011 Clausura and scored an equaliser that day.

Nacional hope to rise to the top at the Arsenio Erico - Photo: Prensa Club Nacional

Nacional hope to rise to the top at the Arsenio Erico – Photo: Prensa Club Nacional

Nacional line up in their usual 4-4-1-1 with Cáceres Cañete just behind the big Brazilian Teixeira – in defence the key player has been Raúl Piris this season and he will look to win everything in the air, also goalkeeper Ignacio Don has played to his very high standards with Nacional’s defensive record improving greatly in the Clausura. Their biggest opponent going into this match is themselves, they can’t let the pressure get to them and must keep cool heads in the afternoon sunshine in Barrio Obrero today.

Cerro Porteño continue with a mixed team as they look to blood a few youngsters, such as 20-year-old Oscar Romero who scored in the previous game against Luque. Alexis Gonzalez and Iván Torres are also expected to play with Fidencio Oviedo and Jonathan Fabbro taking a rest. The azulgrana are on a three-game winless run with the side demotivated once the chance of more silverware was out of the equation.

Prediction: 2-1

Best Bet: Usually regardless of what side Cerro Porteño put out they score so Both Teams To Score might be better than the home win

Nacional XI (probable): Ignacio Don; Ramón Coronel, Leonardo Cáceres, Raúl Piris, Marcos Miers; Derlis Orué, Marcos Riveros, Silvio Torales, Marcos Melgarejo; César Cáceres Cañete; Rodrigo Teixeira.

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Roberto Fernández; Gonzalo Viera, Mariano Uglessich, Luis Cardozo; Carlos Bonet, Julio Dos Santos, Alexis González, Iván Torres, Walter López; Santiago Salcedo, Óscar Romero

Clausura 2012: Rubio Ñu vs Nacional and Cerro Porteño vs Sportivo Luqueño preview

The football fixtures for Saturday in the Paraguay Clausura involve two teams with nothing to play for and two teams with everything at stake at either ends of the table. Nacional travel to Rubio Ñu hoping to emulate Libertad (who won 5-0 last night away to Independiente) and go joint top of the table while Luque are hoping to take something from their game against bitter rivals Cerro Porteño in La Olla to all but guarantee safety.

Rubio Ñu vs Nacional
La Arboleda
01/12/2012; 17:00 (20:00 GMT)

The tranquil area around La Arboleda will be all noise and colour on Saturday afternoon as Nacional fans descend from the South of the city to cheer on Gustavo Morinigio’s side. The 35-year-0ld has moulded a fine side that used their excellent home form to keep them in the chase and have risen to the challenge in the second half of the season with seven wins from their previous eight. They face Chiqui Arce’s Rubio Ñu side that has been a shadow of their former selves, greatly feeling the loss of players such as Derlis Gonzalez, Eric Ramos and Neri Cardozo who went to Europe with just the latter returning but seriously injured.

Nacional beat Carapeguá in their last game and are on a great run - Photo: Prensa Club Nacional

Nacional beat Carapeguá in their last game and are on a great run – Photo: Prensa Club Nacional

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.

Rubio Ñu have struggled so much in the offensive department, their average of 0.951 goals per game during 2012 is the lowest in the country (Tacuary have edged up to 0.952) and it is a direct result of losing Derlis Gonzalez and Carlos Correa to Benfica while the excellent Neri Cardozo suffered a serious injury while on-loan to Viking in Norway and has been recovering for most of the Clausura. One positive is the return of young goalkeeper Jorge Chena from a cruciate knee ligament injury, I was there in February when he suffered the injury just a routine goal kick and very happy to see him back in the albiverde side.

Nacional slipped up against Sol in their previous away game but they’ve always been strong playing ‘catch-up’ and knowing they need a win to stay in touch with Libertad should spur them on to yet another win.

Prediction: 0-2

Best Bet: Away win

Rubio Ñu XI (probable): Jorge Chena; Arnaldo Rodriguez, Oscar Velazquez, Oscar Ayala, Nelson Ruiz; Angel Lucena, Roberto Piris, Jorge Britez, Diego Chamorro; Lauro Cazal, Juan Maldonado

Nacional XI (probable): Ignacio Don; Ramon Coronel, Raul Piris, Leonardo Caceres, Marcos Miers; Carlos Ruiz Peralta, Marcos Riveros, Silvio Torales, Marcos Melagerjo; Javier Gonzalez, Rodrigo Teixeira

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Cerro Porteño vs Sportivo Luqueño
La Olla
01/12/2012; 19:15 (22:15 GMT)

Cerro Porteño have lost the previous two  gamesas they are left with nothing to play for in their centenary year, already qualified for the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana and without a chance of winning the league they are just going through the motions. The most significant decision will be after the final whistle when Jorge Fossati confirms if he is to extend his contract or not. For Luque this  a bonus opportunity to grab the precious points they need to confirm survival. Thanks to Independiente’s defeat they can’t fall into the relgation zone this weekend anyway and that might just take the pressure off an allow them to play even more freely against their old rival.

Hard game to call, Cerro are the better side, they are strong at home but as we saw against Sol de América when there is nothing to play for they can quite easily take their foot off the pedal and get beaten.

Prediction: 1-2

Best Bet: BTTS

Cerro Porteño XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Diego Viera, Pedro Benítez, Luis Cardozo; Carlos Bonet, Alexis Gonzalez, Julio Dos Santos, José Domingo Salcedo; Jonathan Fabbro; Roberto Nanni, Santiago Salcedo

Luque XI (probable): Tobías Vargas; Luciano Vera, Gonzalo Mauluella, Sergio Vergara, Claudio Vargas; Juan Pablo Raponi, William Schuster, Edgar Robles, Juan Abente; José Burgos, Guido di Vanni

By Ralph Hannah