General Caballero v Olimpia
Gustavo Florentín crashed to defeat in his opening league game with General Caballero, and he will need his side to dig deep at the Estadio Ka’arendy where they have won just twice since April. Olimpia travel on the back of their superclásico victory which has put them right in the title race.
General Caballero have been a model of consistent inconsistency in recent weeks, winning two, losing two, winning two and losing two in their last eight league games. The worrying sign from the most recent pair of defeats is that they have failed to score – this drought comes after finding the net in nine consecutive games in the local championship. It might finally be time for Venezuelan forward Yeiber Murillo to get a start in the side, his previous five appearances have all been off the bench.
Olimpia reported a clean bill of health after the derby win against Cerro Porteño with Alejandro Silva the only player missing the trip following his red card. El Decano have been perfect at home this season, winning four from four at the Manuel Ferreira but it is a different story on their travels. Their last game out in Mallorquín ended up being an epic battle, going 2-0 down before earning the win with three second half goals.
The previous 3-2 had been preceded by a 2-2 between these sides with goals likely to flow, but the key difference is that the away side are much stronger that last time. Both Derlis González and Junior Marabel scored in each of the previous meetings for either side, while Derlis is returning to some of his best football with Olimpia, Marabel has moved away to Argentina.
Nacional v Libertad
With Cerro’s defeat last weekend, Nacional are now the only unbeaten side in the league having won three and drawn three to date. They face a Libertad side that seems to have rediscovered their title-winning form of earlier in the year. The Gumarelo have won their last three games scoring 11 goals in the process.
Pedro Sarabia was left disappointed in the previous match as his side conceded a late equalizer to Guaraní, Camacho’s goal ended 334 minutes without being beaten in the league. A good defence has been vital with leading scorer Facundo Bruera not netting from open play in five league matches. That said the Academia have provided ample support from midfield with Fretes, Prieto and Caballero all impressing – the latter so much that he has received a call up to the national side to play Mexico later in the month.
Daniel Garnero’s team seem to have ironed out the defensive errors that saw them slip to two defeats in their first three games of the new season. Their offensive prowess has never been in doubt, they still average over 2 goals a game. Roque Santa Cruz celebrated his 41st birthday this week but the former Manchester City and Blackburn striker is showing no signs of slowing down. He scored in both the previous meetings against Nacional in 2022 and has 13 goals in his 27 starts this calendar year.
While Nacional have the potential to score, they were unable to do so against Libertad in the Apertura (0-1 and 0-3) so the away win, priced the same as BTTS, is a more tempting offer.
Cerro Porteño v Guaraní
On paper the league leaders, with the strongest defence of 2022 and one of their highest average points totals ever across a calendar year, are doing incredibly. But something hasn’t been right in the azulgrana camp for the past weeks before things spilled over after the clásico defeat. Former captain Juan Patiño spoke out against his GK Jean, before having a verbal altercation with a fan that led him to issue a social media apology on Thursday. Earlier in the week Chiqui Arce was summoned to a board meeting, with the owners clearly concerned the championship chance could slip away.
In terms of team selection the key absentee will be Federico “Pachi” Carrizo who received a two-game suspension for instigating the brawl in last weekend’s derby. It could serve as a blessing in disguise, with the idea of playing Carrizo and Aquino behind a lone striker clearly not working in recent games. In fact five of Cerro’s seven goals in the Clausura have come when Carrizo wasn’t on the pitch.
Guaraní have muddled along for much of the year, threatening to spark into life but so far their periods of good form have fizzled out quickly. The aurinegro head into this contest with just one league win in seven and haven’t scored over 1.5 goals in their last nine matches. Fernando Jubero has only tinkered slightly with his team in the past three games, rotating youngsters Matías Segovia and Romeo Benítez while insisting with Fernando Fernández and Néstor Camacho. The latter finally came good with his first goal since his return, after over 300 goalless minutes.
Despite Cerro’s recent troubles it seems imprudent to write off a side that is still sitting top of the league and only finished second last season because of a record-breaking Libertad performance. Their record of 15 wins in 18 home games also shouldn’t be sniffed at.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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