Guaireña v Guaraní
An important game in the Sudamericana chase as Guaireña can all but secure their place in contintental competition with a victory. Guaraní look to end a run of four straight defeats which has been all the more frustrating in the last three matches as they conceded the winner in the final five minutes.
Guaireña have just one win in eight in all competitions, but similarly have just one defeat in five with three 0-0 draws in recent games. The two constants in recent contests have been a lack of goals, failing to score in seven of their last eight and red cards, having a man sent off in four of their last five. Winger Diego Godoy got his marching orders in the last game and misses out, it could mean Víctor Ayala or José Ariel Núñez find a way into starting lineup with Christian Ocampos out of form. The bright point is that Troadio Duarte’s side have performed well at home, scoring 1.88 goals per game at the Parque del Guairá.
Fernando Jubero’s team continue to suffer from one of the worst defences in the league, while they haven’t conceded more than the teams accompanying them in the bottom half of the table, they struggle with cleansheets recording just 2 this season. The record against top half teams (Guaireña are sixth) is even worse, the aurinegro have leaked an average of 1.7 goals to the top six. Going forward they have found the net more regularly and Luis Fariña is likely to return to starting XI after getting some minutes off the bench following illness. Marcelo González is eyeing a starting place too, having been benched against Libertad, he has two goals in his last three starts from midfield.
The previous meeting between these sides ended in a 2-2 draw as Guaraní, true to form, conceding a last minute equalizer to their own youth product Nildo Viera. Given the home side’s tendency to score over 1.5 goals at home and the visitors likeliness to conceded over 1.5 goals away the BTTS is great value.
Olimpia v 12 de Octubre
Olimpia are flying towards the final game of the season, a showdown with leaders Nacional, in what is likely to be a chance to win the title. Meanwhile 12 de Octubre recorded a rare victory in their disrupted game against Sportivo Ameliano which may still save them from relegation.
Olimpia keep winning and confidence is at the highest it has been this season. The 6-1 victory over Resistencia saw star forward Derlis González at his scintillating best scoring two and assisting two more. It marked the seventh straight victory for El Decano and their home record is impeccable, dropping just four points in nine matches. Richard Ortiz continues his impressive return to full fitness with his third goal in as many matches, all coming as a substitute. But it his central midfield partner Marcos Gómez that has been most impressive, adding good balance to the side that was missing during the Apertura.
Although 12 de Octubre won handsomely in their last match it is still a club in crisis. Just 11 points, 31 goals conceded and rumours that the players haven’t been paid in months due to financial issues with the board. In away games they’ve shipped 1.89 goals on average, and they are without experienced defender Gustavo Velázquez who was sent off. With an ageing side it will be hard to cope with the running and vitality of the opposition, the average age against Ameliano was above 30.
The previous meeting was a 3-1 win for Olimpia and the last match in the Manuel Ferreira was a 4-1 triumph for the home team. It is hard to see this game going any differently.
Tacuary v Nacional
The league leaders visit fifth placed Tacuary who have rebounded recently picking up seven points from their last nine. It will be the fourth meeting this year, Nacional winning the last three and Tacuary came out on top in the first meeting back in March.
Robert Pereira is unbeaten on his return to the side as coach, but it is worth noting his three games so far have been against the three lowest sides in the league. This will be his first real test and he comes up against a Nacional side that is flying, 15 games unbeaten and nine wins in their last ten. Lucas Sanabria has been one of the best performers for the team, and he will be looking to find spaces in behind on the flanks. Tacuary are hoping to welcome back Carlos Servín from injury, his understudy Aldo Bareiro has yet to keep a clean sheet.
Nacional saw off Guaireña without any issues in midweek, brushing them aside 3-0 marking the third time in six games they have scored three goals. The return of Richard Prieto has certainly helped the goal output, but Sarabia has plenty of options at his disposition. The top scorer Facundo Bruera is well supported by Carlo Arrúa, Danilo Santacruz, Ruben Dario Rios and Orlando Gaona Lugo who all offer attacking options. The latter two were both on the bench in midweek, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them start as the rotation policy at the club has functioned well so far.
While Tacuary’s recent run of form is noteworthy, the standard of the opposition has to be taken into question. Against Top six sides they’ve taken just one win (vs Olimpia) in eight meetings, failing to score in seven of them. Nacional are well valued for the win.
Libertad v Cerro Porteño
The two best sides in the Apertura find themselves in third and fourth as we come to the climax of the Clausura but there are 11 points separating Cerro Porteño from Libertad. And it is the Ciclón who are still with something to play for, three points off top they are aiming to get to the final day still in with a chance of the title.
Libertad will be missing Alexandre Barboza after his sending off against Guaraní that almost cost them three points, only for Merlini to score a late winner taking advantage of a mix up in the penalty box. The return of Tito Villalba from injury was a big boost to Daniel Garnero’s side as the winger came off the bench for his first game time since July and needed just eight minutes to make an impact, his cross was converted by Lorenzo Melgarejo. While Nacional ended the unbeaten run at La Huerta, it is still a formidable record at home for Libertad who average 2.33 goals per game there this season.
Cerro Porteño have won three of their last five games and all by the same 2-1 scoreline, a break from the 1-0 wins earlier in the season. Part of the improvement in goalscoring has been the return of right back Alberto Espínola who has two in two. It isn’t just his aerial ability from set pieces, but he offers more projection down the right hand side as Cerro try to overload that side and switch play to Pachi Carrizo. This more adventurous approach has led to some defensive vulnerability as Cerro went three games without a clean sheet for the second time this season. They broke that run last time around with a 1-0 win over Libertad.
Cerro Porteño have drawn first blood in four of the last five meetings, only losing what was ultimately the Apertura decider in a tense game where they were reduced to eight men. Libertad have been out of sorts this year and have nothing left to play for, already qualified for the Copa Libertadores. The additional motivation for the visitors could tip the balance here.
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