Resitencia v Cerro Porteño
Cerro Porteño travel across town having received a huge boost last weekend as they defeated defending champions Libertad to stay in the title race. Meanwhile Resistencia are unbeaten in the league in four but only have one win during that run – in fact they’ve drawn five of their nine league games this season.
Roberto Torres’ outfit did suffer a defeat in the Copa Paraguay game midweek to lowly Atlético Tembetary. It was a surprise loss considering that the team did contain some first team starters and fringe players. Resistencia’s main struggles have been defensively with the only two clean sheets during the Clausura appearing in 0-0 draws. It means BTTS has landed in 6 of their 9 matches but they’ve only scored more than 1 goal in two games, against Sol de América and Sportivo Ameliano.
The azulgrana have received a shot in the arm this week with the return of Mateus Gonçalves after a one year doping ban. The Brazilian looked in good shape on his return to Paraguay and is available for selection. Fernando Romero was handed a starting role against Libertad, it was the forward’s first start since June as he has slowly returned from injury.
Cerro won to nil the last two meetings between these sides, the most recent meeting at La Nueva Olla was a turgid affair coming on a very cold night as they etched out a 1-0 victory. Having not had the midweek distraction of the Copa Paraguay they are in a good position to keep up that winning run against Friday’s rival.
Guaireña v Libertad
The Albiceleste welcome the Gumarelo to Guiará with both sides looking to revive their league campaigns having gone three and two games without a win respectively.
Libertad suffered a rare shutout in their last league match against Cerro Porteño, in fact it was only the 2nd time in 21 championship games that they hadn’t found the net. Garnero’s side put that all behind them in the heated Copa Paraguay match against Olimpia on Wednesday night, racking up a 4-0 lead by halftime. The game was suspended for crowd trouble, but Lorenzo Melgarejo’s hattrick and Roque’s first goal since turning 41 years old will have done much to boost confidence.
Guaireña are the fourth highest scorers so far this year, but they are in seventh position because they have conceded more goals than everybody except the two bottom sides General Caballero and 12 de Octubre. They have gone eight games without a clean sheet in the league and have conceded more than one goal in five of those matches. The return of Rosalino Toledo in midfield should bring some more stability in the long term, but he was on the pitch for the full ninety minutes against Guaraní as they conceded twice in a 2-2 draw.
The positive for the home side is that they have performed well traditionally in this fixture, winning 3 out of 5 against Libertad in the Parque de Guairá. The most recent games was a 3-2 thriller only falling to a late Julio Enciso winner.
Tacuary v Guaraní
Fifth place plays eighth in this one and you would expect the positions to be reversed, but it is Tacuary that are in the top half of the table and Guaraní who continue to struggle. In fact the aurinegro have still only won one game this season, against General Caballero at home.
Iván Almeida’s bubble was finally burst by Nacional who edged to a single-goal victory, it was Tacuary’s first defeat in five league games. They’ve immediately bounced back with a 4-2 triumph in midweek against Intermedia (2nd tier) side Sportivo Iteño in the cup. In that game the midfielder Valdeci returned to the side having gone off early with a knock in the loss to Nacional. Another key man to watch out for is Lucas Sanabria, on loan from Libertad, who has provided the creativity for the side.
Guaraní are finally finding their feet again, currently on a six-game unbeaten streak in all competitions. That said they are winless in seven in the league having drawn their last four matches. Defensive issues persist, and they’ve conceded first in five of their last six Clausura contests. But down the other end of the pitch be wary of Fernando Fernandez, once he breaks a drought he traditionally scores a few on the bounce. The 30 year old got a brace in the draw against Guaireña and followed that up with a goal in the Cup victory over General Caballero.
Sportivo Ameliano v Nacional
Nacional remain in the hunt following two consecutive Clausura wins and the rediscovered goalscoring of Facundo Bruera, coming off the bench in the past two matches to find the net. Sportivo Ameliano have been strong when they are the home team, despite not playing in their own stadium – winning four of the last five “local” matches.
The main improvement for Sportivo Ameliano has been defensively as coach Humberto Garcia finally shows some of the organization and stability that brought him so much success at General Díaz previously. The V Azulada have kept five cleansheets in their last ten league games, in the ten prior to that they had only kept their opponent from scoring on one occasion.
The tricolor seemed to have stumbled when they picked up two points from three games, but in retrospect those were tough games against Guaraní, Libertad and Cerro Porteño. Since then they’ve picked up three straight wins in all competitions and crucially Bruera has scored four goals in that span of games. The Argentinian is sure to start at the weekend along with the creative sparks behind him, usually Carlos Arrúa and Gustavo Caballero. Richard Prieto is still missing through injury, but that hasn’t slowed the side down recently.
The previous two games between these sides have been dramatic affairs, Bruera scored a late winner in April while his brace in June wasn’t enough to win the game as Ameliano bagged two in stoppage time.
Olimpia v Sol de América
Olimpia were league leaders heading into this round of games but found themselves 4-0 down at halftime to Libertad in the Copa Paraguay in a fractious affair that ended up being suspended for crowd trouble. While that non-performance could dampen spirits, Julio César Cáceres is good enough to channel that energy into something positive ahead of the Sol de América game. There are no new injury worries and both Saúl Salcedo and Mateo Gamarra are back from suspension to bolster the defence.
Sol de América continue to struggle, especially away from Villa Elisa where they have lost their last five matches and are now ten away games without a win. Pablo Guiñazú is still in charge and finding some solace in the performances of Jaime Moreno, his strong showing producing a goal and assist in last three games. Defensively they have been blowing hot and cold, three clean sheets in four home games but twelve conceded in five away fixtures. Coming into this trip with one day less rest than their opponent, makes it a difficult task for the danzarín.
El Decano have been finding multiple goals consistently, scoring two or more in nine of their last 11 Primera games. Sol meanwhile have lost big against the other title challengers so far this season going down 2-0, 3-0 and 4-1 to Cerro Porteño, Nacional and Libertad respectively.
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