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

Apertura 2013 Week 9: Libertad vs Olimpia preview

Libertad vs Olimpia
Defensores del Chaco, Asunción
14/04/2013; 18:00 (23:00 BST)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)

A beautiful autumn Sunday in Asunción, perfect conditions for football although both groups of players may be showing signs of fatigue following Copa Libertadores matches on Thursday night. Arguably it is Olimpia who come into the game in better shape, they were at home while Libertad were in São Paulo, they won 4-1 while Libertad fought hard only to lose by the minimum margin. There will also be that nagging doubt in Ruben Israel’s mind (that may transpire to his team) that they have a crunch game next week against Tigre, needing a result to ensure qualification to the Libertadores last 16.

Libertad will be supporting their team in the Defensores - Photo: Prensa Club Libertad

Libertad will be supporting their team in the Defensores – Photo: Prensa Club Libertad

Olimpia are on a great run following a blip in early March where they went four games without a win, at present they have won the last four in all competitions and while the Libertadores is number one priority they need to earn as many points as possible in the Apertura  if they want to qualify for the continental competition next year. Juan Manuel Salgueiro was the key man in the previous game and in general his individual performances have a direct correlation with the result, the Uruguayan playmaker has great vision and is capable of getting into the box to score. A much-improved player, who I previously criticised, is Jorge Baez at right wing-back who admitted that “in my first few games my performances weren’t up to the expectations of a club as big as Olimpia” but has since excelled in his new role and was unlucky not to score against Newell’s with a rasping long-ranger.

Probable Olimpia team to face Libertad - Photo: @OlimpiaUpdates

Probable Olimpia team to face Libertad – Photo: @OlimpiaUpdates

Libertad started the season so well but since the 2-2 draw with Sporting Cristal at the beginning of last month they have only one once in seven and there seems to be a confidence issue with the team. They scored first only to draw in two occassions and even in the solitary win during this run, against Sol de América, they went 2-1 down having opened the scoring before managing to turn the game around in their favour. In general the Gumarelo have a mix rather than a B team, but a hugely important player Pablo Guiñazú is being rested which could allow Salgueiro sufficient space to work his magic.

Prediction: 2-1

Best Bet: BTTS safer than predicting the winner – Olimpia are the stronger side in my opinion but a cleansheet is probably beyond them with tiredness and the quality Libertad have up front even without Nuñez starting

Last 5 meetings: Olimpia 2 wins, 2 draws, Libertad 1 win

Libertad XI (probable): Rodrigo Muñoz; Aldo Olmedo, Gustavo Gómez, Pedro Benítez, Miguel Samudio; Claudio Vargas, Sebastian Eguren, Sergio Aquino, Jorge Gonzalez; Rodolfo Gamarra, Pablo Velazquez

Olimpia XI (probable): Martin Silva; Salustiano Candia, Julio Manzur, Herminio Miranda; Jorge Báez, Wilson Pittoni, Eduardo Aranda, Richard Ortiz, Sebastián Ariosa; Juan Manuel Salgueiro; Fredy Bareiro

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair


Non-Televised games…

Sol de América vs Deportivo Capiatá
Estadio Luis Alfonso Giagni, Villa Elisa
14/04/2013; 15:30 (20:30 BST)

Capiatiá did well in the last game against Libertad showing plenty of desire, they look better under new manager Mario Jacquet while Sol are still finding their feet since Ricardo Dabrowski was sacked. Score draw in this one.

Prediction: 1-1

Cerro de Franco vs Sportivo Luqueño
Estadio Felipe Gimenez, Presidente Franco
14/04/2013; 15:30 (20:30 BST)

Not been impressed by Luque so far this season who have won just one game, Cerro de Franco are good at home and should have the firepower to win this.

Prediction: 1-0

Sportivo Carapeguá vs General Díaz
Estadio Municipal, Carapeguá
14/04/2013; 15:30 (20:30 BST)

An interesting game this one, General Díaz have just started to lose their way after that perfect start (5 wins from 5) but this game offers  a chance to get back to winning ways against Carapeguá who have just one victory. It will be close but I think the Aguilas can edge it.

Prediction: 1-2

For a list of my ‘Best Bets’ for all games, visit Free Bets Sport for my preview

By Ralph Hannah

Apertura 2013 Week 8: Olimpia vs Cerro de Franco and Guaraní vs Nacional previews

Olimpia vs Cerro de Franco
Para Uno, Asunción
07/04/2013; 16:30 (21:30 BST)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)

For the first time this year Olimpia play a game in their home stadium, Para Uno has re-opened following some refurbishments and pitch improvements so expect a full crowd to ‘welcome back’ the team. Today’s is a tough test, Cerro de Franco are on a four-game unbeaten streak despite off-the-field problems (their manager Nelson Zelaaya resigned to spend more time with his family after being involved in a fatal traffic accident).

Tomas Guzman starts today - Photo:

Tomas Guzman starts today – Photo:

Olimpia have picked up three wins from their last four including the superclásico and two away wins in the Libertadores. Almeida doesn’t want to change tactics but he’s force to change personnel with the fixtures piling up, step forward Tomás Guzman and Juan Carlos Ferreyra who start in place of Salgueiro and Bareiro. Another star performer in recent fixtures, Richard Ortiz, steps down to allow Alejandro Silva a place in the first eleven.

Samudio is the main man for Cerro de Franco - Photo:

Samudio is the main man for Cerro de Franco – Photo:

Cerro de Franco have only failed to score once so far this season and they only have one cleansheet so it is fair to say that in contrast to last year they are relying more on their attack than defence to stay up. 25-year-old striker Sergio Samudio has scored three in his last four and is worth keeping an eye on, the creative force is Cristian Andersen who will play just behind Samudio.

Prediction: 1-1

Best Bet: Hard to back Olimpia considering the changes to the side and the fact these sides drew all four games last year, I like BTTS today

Olimpia XI (probable): Martin Silva; Salustiano Candia, Carlos Humberto Paredes, Herminio Miranda; Jorge Báez, Wilson Pittoni, Eduardo Aranda, Alejandro Silva, Blas Cáceres; Tomás Guzman; Juan Carlos Ferreyra

Cerro de Franco XI (probable): Fabiano Heves; Gustavo Noguera, Marcos Pérez, Christian Ramirez, Gustavo Velázquez, Miguel Godoy, Salvador Portillo, Reinaldo López, Claudio Delgado, Cristian Andersen, Sergio Samudio

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair


Guaraní vs Nacional
Dos Bocas, Asunción
07/04/2013; 18:30 (23:30 BST)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)

A mouth-watering match up in Dos Bocas to round off Week 8 with Guaraní welcoming league leaders Nacional in what promises to be a competitive game. Nacional have won their previous five games, in fact the only fixture they didn’t take three points from was a fateful trip to Ciudad del Este where they were tonked 5-2 by Cerro de Franco. Guaraní have generally been better away from home although they got their first win at this stadium last week against Sol de América.

Photo: Prensa Club Guarani

Photo: Prensa Club Guarani

The form man for Guaraní is Dante López, a well-taken double was enough to sink Sol in the previous match and he is forming a great partnership with Rodrigo Teixeira. Behind those two there is so much creativity with Ivan Gonzalez Ferreira and Dario Ocampo starting on the flanks last week, but there is also Sergio Orteman, Luis de la Cruz and Jorge Mendoza who can pick apart defenses. The anchor in midfield is captain Marcelo Palau, an excellent player.

Nacional celebrate win against Luque last week - Photo: Prensa Club Nacional

Nacional celebrate win against Luque last week – Photo: Prensa Club Nacional

Nacional have been clinical so far, three 1-0 wins in the run of five consecutive victories and have won both home and away. However they are missing topscorer Julian Benítez today who is ineligible to play against his parent club and that could be key, he has scored four of their last seven goals. Raúl Piris is the rock in defence, his experience has been crucial to date as have the performances of Justo Villar in goal – his penalty save against General Díaz earned them two points.

Prediction: 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals – although Nacional have built themselves on a strong defence I think this match will be more open with Guarani able to take the game to their opponents and cause problems with the Lopez/Teixeira combination

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair


Non-Televised games…

Rubio Ñu vs Sol de América
La Arboleda,  Asunción
07/04/2013; 15:30 (20:30 BST)

Prediction: 1-0

Capiatá vs Libertad
Estadio Deportivo Capiatá, Capiatá
07/04/2013; 15:45 (20:45 BST)

Prediction: 0-2

Sportivo Luqueño vs Carapeguá
Estadio Feliciano Cáceres, Luque
07/04/2013; 18:00 (23:00 BST)

Prediction: 1-1

These games round of Week 8, yesterday’s result between Cerro Porteño and General Díaz was 3-2 to the azulgrana with a double from Angel Romero.

By Ralph Hannah

Apertura 2013 Week 4: Cerro Porteño vs Libertad and Luque vs Guarani previews

Cerro Porteño vs Libertad is the headline act on Sunday but before the Copa Libertadores competitors face off there is an intriguing match between Sportivo Luqueño and Guarani with Pablo Caballero under great pressure to get a result against his old club. Following last weekend’s derby defeat the Luque coach offered his resignation which wasn’t accepted by the board.

Sportivo Luqueño vs Guarani
Feliciano Cáceres, Luque
03/03/2013; 17:30 (20:30 GMT)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)

After 270 minutes of football, Luque are yet to register a goal in the Apertura although they have also only conceded once. Guaraní on the other hand are the joint topscorers with seven strikes in three matches and are looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season. Luque’s last win in this fixture was in March 2011, since then they’ve lost five and drawn two.

Teams in the last game at Feliciano Caceres - Photo: Prensa Club Sportivo Luqueño

Teams in the last game at Feliciano Caceres – Photo: Prensa Club Sportivo Luqueño

Pablo Caballero’s side can’t buy a goal – but it isn’t a new problem – in last year’s Apertura when he managed today’s opponents Guaraní he often struggled to break teams down or find the net. With the departure of last year’s captain and topscorer (from right back!) Claudio David Vargas the auriazul are finding it hard to score. The good news for Caballero is that Benfica have loaned back the extremely talented Claudio Correa who is likely to start today.

Guarani have been looking good this year, even in the defeat to Olimpia they created plenty of chances and threatened to equalise. Luis de la Cruz is doing very well and maturing as a player, Rodrigo Teixeira and Dante López are beginning to gel up front with the Brazilian netting in his last two games. The only injury is to goalkeeper Paulo Aurrecochea who is replaced by Alfredo Aguilar.

This could be yet another win for the aurinegro and more problems for Luque.

Prediction: 0-1

Best Bet: The away win looks like good odds at 2.36

Luque XI (probable): Ever Caballero; Victor Dávalos, Gonzalo Maulella, Denis Caniza, Ariel Coronel; William Schuster, Reinaldo Ocampo, Juan Abente, Juan Pablo Raponi; Ariel Bogado, Claudio Correa

Guarani XI (probable): Alfredo Aguilar; Tomas Bartomeus, Julio Cesar Caceres, Luis Cabral, Edgar Aranda; Luis de la Cruz, Marcelo Palau, Miguel Paniagua, Ivan Gonzalez Ferreira; Dante Lopez, Rodrigo Teixeira

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair


Libertad vs Cerro Porteño
Defensores del Chaco, Asunción
03/03/2013; 19:40 (22:40 GMT)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)

Arguably the last thing either side wanted before crucial home Copa Libertadores games next week is what is an ‘unofficial clásico’ between the most successful Paraguayan sides this century, Cerro and Libertad have picked up 14 of the 18 domestic titles on offer since 2000. Both managers are treating this fixture with the respect it deserves so expect full strength sides in what promises to be a full-blooded contest.

Oviedo and Velazquez battle it out in a previous meeting - Photo:

Oviedo and Velazquez battle it out in a previous meeting – Photo:

Libertad have been so good this year, the only belmish a defeat to Nacional last week, but they bounced back immediately with a fabulous victory over Palmeiras. See my previous blogs for what I think of Guiñazu, but also the best partnership in Paraguayan football is undoubtedly José Ariel Nuñez and Pablo Velázquez – the two complement each other so well. To complete the set let’s look at the defence, by far the best backline in the division, they are so strong in all areas.

Cerro are full of plenty of talent themselves, the Oviedo-Dos Santos-Fabbro trinity is so destructive when it clicks and the recent incorporation up front Angel Romero looks like a fantastic talent. He is full of clever runs and can make the space that Fabbro needs to work his magic. The defence is going to be tested today with a lot of pressure on young Teodoro Paredes shoulders who plays at centre-back.

It could well be a draw, but if anybody is going to snatch this I think Libertad have the edge.

Prediction: 2-1

Best Bet: BTTS seems good because although Libertad are strong defensively they’ve only one cleansheet in 8 meetings with Cerro

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

Libertad XI (probable): Rodrigo Muñoz; Jorge Moreira, Pedro Benítez, Ismael Benegas, Gustavo Mencia; Nelson Romero, Pablo Guiñazú, Osmar Molinas, William Mendieta; Pablo Velázquez, José Ariel Nuñez

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair


Non-televised matches

Gral Díaz vs Sol de América
Ricardo Gregor, Asunción
03/03/2013; 17:30 (20:30 GMT)
Prediction: 1-0

The league leaders look unstoppable at the moment, well organised and with the ability to score at least once each game. Sol de América deceived us with a fantastic win on the opening day but haven’t been as impressive since. The momentum is with the aguilas and I really think this could be their fourth straight win.


Capiatá vs Nacional
Estadio de Capiatá, Capiatá
03/03/2013; 17:30 (20:30 GMT)
Prediction: 1-3

Nacional did very well in the previous game against Libertad and have been finding the net in each game which is bad news for the home side who have been leaking goals. Even in the Intermedia they didn’t manage to string together a lot of back-to-back wins which makes me think the points will go to the away side in this one.


Cerro de Franco vs Carapeguá
Estadio Felipe Gimenez, Presidente Franco
03/03/2013; 17:30 (20:30 GMT)
Prediction: 2-1

Last year’s promoted sides face off in the eastern border of the country, the home advantage is likely to be enough in this one with Carapeguá always struggling outside of Paraguarí department. In fact Cerro de Franco have won all four meetings between these two teams in Primera. If anything there should be goals from both sides with neither defence very strong.

By Ralph Hannah

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Apertura 2013 Week 4: Olimpia vs Rubio Ñu preview

Olimpia vs Rubio Ñu
Defensores del Chaco, Asunción
02/03/2013; 19:00 (22:00 GMT)
TV: Unicanal (Paraguay)

Saturday’s only fixture could well be Chiqui Arce’s final match as Rubio Ñu coach (he’s strongly linked to the vacant Cerro Porteño job) he will try and get one over on Olimpia as a parting shot. Ever Almeida’s team come into this match after a shock midweek loss to General Díaz, the new boys that have taken the league by storm winning their opening three games.

The club are promoting the fixture - Photo:

The club are promoting the fixture – Photo:

There is a bit of doubt of El Decano’s team selection, it could be a 4-4-1-1 with Alejandro Silva on the right-side of midfield and Jorge Baez in at full back. However if ex-Guarani defener Manzur starts instead of Baez then it will be the more familiar line of three defenders with Silva and Ariosa the wing backs. It seems Salgueiro will partner Fredy Bareiro up front, obviously he is a playmaker by trade so expect him to be operating in the hole and dropping back when they lose the ball to form an extra man in midfield.

Chiqui Arce could be leaving -  Photo: Prensa APF

Chiqui Arce could be leaving – Photo: Prensa APF

When Arce first took the reins at the albiverde he brought in plenty of experience to gain promotion to Primera, then he gambled on youth to great effect before his stint as national team coach and the club’s subsequent fall in the promedio table. With backs against the wall it is a mixture of old heads and fledgling talent – players like Domingo Salcedo and Hugo Lusardi rubbing shoulders with Bryan Montenegro and Roberto Piris da Motta (although the latter is suspended for today’s game).

Almeida got caught out on Wednesday playing with an alternative eleven – personally I think he’s too smart to make the same mistake, a good game awaits us.

Prediction: 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals would be my bet with Olimpia good enough to win, Rubio Ñu good enough to score

Olimpia XI (possible): Martin Silva; Alejandro Silva, Salustiano Candia, Herminio Miranda, Sebastián Ariosa; Eduardo Aranda, Wilson Pittoni, Richard Ortiz; Juan Manuel Salgueiro, Fredy Bareiro, Arnaldo Castorino

Rubio Ñu XI (possible): Carlos Servín; Gustavo Gimenez, Oscar Ayala, Arnaldo Recalde, Domingo Salcedo, Gustavo Viera, Carlos Martinez Arce, Jorge Benitez, Angel Lucena, Hugo Lusardi, Bryan Montenegro

There is a live market of this game available on Betfair

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By Ralph Hannah