Monagas vs Cerro Porteno
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 27 February 2018
Kick-off: 23:15 CET
Monagas Sport Club won the championship in Venezuela last season first time ever, earning, obviously, a direct ticket to the Copa Libertadores group stage. Something less than a month ago, when the new championship started in Venezuela, they thrashed Estudiantes Caracas 4-0 at home, as if picking up from where they had left off last season. What came next, were three defeats in a row, a loud slap on the face for the reigning Venezuela champions. Interestingly, they took the lead in two of those three matches, but they lost nonetheless, 2-1. Last weekend, playing at home against Deportivo Táchira, they took the lead not just once, but twice. Even so, the best they could get was a 2-2 draw. Rubén Rojas has scored three goals in their last three games, being the exception to the rule, as most of his teammates have started the season pitifully. Alain Baroja, their regular goalkeeper, said that this squad has players who know how to deliver under difficult circumstances, and that’s something they need to prove against Cerro Porteño.
Club Cerro Porteño won the Clausura in Paraguay in the second half on 2017, were the team with the most points won combining both halves of the season, and deservedly earned a direct ticket to the Copa Libertadores group stage. The… fun for them has already began in South America’s biggest football competition (at club level), as bitter city rivals Olimpia got eliminated in the second qualifying round by Junior. Days before the start of the season, Luis Zubeldía took charge, after Leonel Álvarez, the coach who led Cerro to the title last season, quit his job. Cerro have won just one of the four matches in the Apertura tournament thus far, in their only home game. In three “away” games all they managed was two draws, no matter if in all three cases it felt like they were playing at home, with their fans far outnumbering those of the “home” teams, even against 3 de Febrero in Ciudad del Este. Last weekend they struggled to earn at least a draw against Libertad at Defensores del Chaco, getting saved by a Diego Churín header in the 79th minute (they were 1-0 down since the 6th minute). It’s obvious that Zubeldía needs time to get the team where he wants it, there is time in Paraguay’s Apertura, but the Copa Libertadores group stage is just six games, and they are desperate to start with a positive result, sort of earning them time to continue working on improving. Silvio Torales, a 26-year-old central midfielder, one of the players who got re-incorporated into Cerro’s squad after Zubeldía substituted Álvarez, traveled with the team to Venezuela.
Previous five matches:
Monagas vs Deportivo Táchira 2-2
Zulia vs Monagas 2-1
Monagas vs Zamora 1-2
Atlético Venezuela vs Monagas 1-0
Monagas vs Estudiantes Caracas 4-0
Libertad vs Cerro Porteno 1-1
Cerro Porteno vs Sol de America 2-0
3 de Febrero vs Cerro Porteno 1-1
Nacional Asuncion vs Cerro Porteno 2-1
Cerro Porteno vs Sol de America 3-2
Monagas are supposed to visit Deportivo La Guaira on Thursday (Venezuela championship), but this match should get rescheduled. Cerro Porteño are hosting Deportivo Capiatá next weekend (Paraguay Apertura).
Monagas vs Cerro Porteno: Head to head Stats
Monagas have hardly any international history. They have never faced Cerro Porteño before.
Monagas vs Cerro Porteno: Prediction
Cerro Porteño are considered relatively clear favourites to win the game, but having seen all their four Paraguay Apertura games these last weeks, I really distrust them, especially away from home.
Monagas vs Cerro Porteno: Betting Tips
Monagas’ double chance pays 1.66. Draw alone is at 3.10 betting odds, but to make the extra risk really worth it, I would only bet on draw combined with under 2.5 goals. This way it pays 3.60, and suits my 1-1 hunch.
More Copa Libertadores betting tips and match previews:
- Defensor Sporting vs Gremio
- Racing Club vs Cruzeiro
- Colo Colo vs Atletico Nacional
- Nacional Montevideo vs Estudiantes
- Alianza Lima vs Boca Juniors
- Junior vs Palmeiras
- Delfin vs Bolivar
- Millonarios vs Corinthians
- Flamengo vs River Plate
- Real Garcilaso vs Santos
- Deportivo Lara vs Independiente
- Santa Fe vs Emelec