Apr 17, 2013

Cerro Porteno - Deportes Tolima

Copa Libertadores 2013, Group Stage

Very similar pick to the one from last week, as once again we will go against Cerro Porteno. They have 0 points after the first 5 rounds, so they obviously have zero chances of advancing. Everybody is aware of that, so for the second straight week, they will be fielding a reserve team in Libertadores. Last week they have rested all of their regulars, and were trashed 1-5 by Real Garcilaso. Of course, the high altitude from Cuzco also played a big role, especially in the second half when Cerro's players colapsed, but the overall impression of the team was bad. And for this match, the coach will pretty much repeat the same team, using just reserve players and youngsters (only Nanni can be considered a former regular). Meanwhile, Tolima comes to Paraguay guns blazing, as they have the qualification on the line. They need to win, and they also need to hope that Santa Fe will beat Garcilaso as well, making it a Colombian 1-2. But before they can think of the other game, they will need to secure the 3 points here. They will have a couple of important players unavailable, so their job won't be easy without the likes of Leichtweis (9 app/4 goals in the local league + 4 more goals in Libertadores) and Roberto Merino (6/2). But they've proved they can play even without them, so I trust they will be able to deliver now as well. They are in a must-win situation, against an unexperienced team, so I expect them to prevail. GL!
Tolima (-0.25 AH) @ 2.00, 4/10
Result: 0-0, HALF-LOST

Santa Fe - Real Garcilaso

Copa Libertadores 2013, Group Stage

Interesting match in Colombia tonight, as Santa Fe are looking to clinch the first place in the table against qualification hopefuls Real Garcilaso. The Colombians only have to avoid a defeat in order to win the group, therefore a draw would suit them well. On the other hand, Garcilaso also needs only a draw to assure their qualification, regardless of what Tolima does in their match against Cerro Porteno (it should be a Colombian win, as Cerro will be using a team full of youngsters and reserves). Despite their efforts and their incredible campaign in this competition, I still don't see Garcilaso as a team to be reckoned with. But if they are good at one thing, that would be defending and scoring on the counter at the perfect moment. They have lost just one game so far, 0-3 at home against Tolima, when they tried to control the game. But their best results came when playing as visitors, as they've beaten both Tolima and Cerro Porteno by 1-0,. in the closing minutes of the game, after some heroic defending. They will probably employ the same tactics today as well, because as I've mentioned earlier, a draw would be perfect for both teams, and even if they lose, I doubt they'll do so by more than one goal. GL!
Garcilaso (+0.75 AH) @ 1.99, 4/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Apr 14, 2013

Nacional -Rubio Nu

Paraguay Primera Division, Apertura

Quite a low line set-up for Nacional here, as if we look at their current form, we could have expected something like -1.25. And the odds are pretty decent too. Nacional haven't lost for 6 games, and had 5 consecutive wins before last week's 0-0 draw, away at 4th plac Guarani. During this run, some clear victories against Olimpia and Libertad propelled Nacional towards the top of the table, as they currently hold a 3-point advantage over second placed General Diaz. Rubio Nu is struggling at the moment, as after their first-round victory they weren't able to add another 3 points. No win since the beginning of February, home defeats against Capiata and Luqueno, and awful morale took it's toll on the team, despite some hard fought draws with Olimpia and Guarani. Regarding team news, Nacional will welcome back forward Julian Benitez (6 goals in 5 matches), who was absent against Guarani. Offensive midfielder Gustavo Cristaldo (2/1) could also make a return, but his fitness is still a doubt at this moment. So, great form for Nacional (who will be trying to extend their advantage at the top), awful performances from Rubio Nu, along with the return of Nacional's top scorer... we should have a clear home win here. GL!

Nacional (-1 AH) @ 1.84, 3/10
Result: 1-0, VOID