Resistencia v Nacional
Resistencia finally tasted victory in their last fixture, after three straight defeats, as Alan Pereira tapped in the only goal of the game deep into stoppage time to overcome Sol de América. Nacional meanwhile are six games unbeaten in all competitions and have won four of their last five in the league, only dropping points to Olimpia.
New coach Mario Jara will be pleased to have got his first win under his belt, but there is still much to improve in this Resistencia side that have managed just nine goals to date. The aforementioned Pereira winner ended a team drought that was closing in on 500 minutes. Resistencia have another challenge from here until the end of the season, the new U19s rule means they will have to be playing a teenager for at least 55 minutes per game. Erwin Quintana looks like he will be the chosen player, the central midfielder got his first start in over 2 months in the previous game.
Nacional head to the game as the only side still unbeaten away from home and along with Olimpia are the highest scorers on the road, with 10 goals in their six games to date. Teenager Francisco Morel is showing signs of tiring, but Sarabia has replacements in David Fleitas and can also bring on midfielder Danilo Santacruz who has been making differences late on.
In previous meetings Resistencia have got the better of their opponents, but it is worth pointing out that both sides have seen a change between the Apertura and Clausura. Resistencia’s average points per game (PPG) is down 0.1 while Nacional’s PPG is up 0.9.
Cerro Porteño v Tacuary
Cerro Porteño were criticized for their unconvincing 1-0 victory over 12 de Octubre who played with just 10 men from the fifth minute. But the azulgrana are joint top despite not playing very well. Tacuary meanwhile have hit a speed bump on their journey up the table, two consecutive defeats without scoring have exposed old issues.
Chiqui Arce continued with Federico Carrizo and Fernando Romero ahead of both Claudio Aquino and Marcelo Martins as he tries to find the best way to support Braian Samudio who has provided important goals recently. Interestingly though Samudio is yet to score in La Nueva Olla where this game will take place, it is also the place where Cerro remain unbeaten in the league for 13 matches.
Iván Almeida will be disappointed with the previous game, a 1-0 defeat to Guaireña as they missed out on taking points from a direct rival in the fight for the Sudamericana. It also means they have failed to score in three of their last four games as sides are showing them more respect in the 2nd half of the season. They have certainly found it harder in away games too, winning just twice out of six and only scoring in those two wins.
Form and previous head-to-head certainly lean towards Cerro Porteño who won the last two meetings 1-0. But with the higher value on Under 2.5 goals that seems to be the wiser choice considering all three meetings have gone under. It is worth noting that both wins came with a stroke of fortune, an own goal in one and a stoppage time penalty in the other.
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