Sportivo Luqueno vs Deportivo Cuenca
Competition: Copa Sudamericana
Date: 13 February 2018
Kick-off: 23:15 CET
A week after looking great against Libertad, despite drawing 2-2 in a game they should have won, Sportivo Luqueño visited Deportivo Capiatá and… sort of threw to the dustbin all the good impressions they had left on their Paraguay Apertura debut seven days earlier. They were 2-0 down by halftime, narrowed the gap on Capiatá in the 55th minute, kept pushing for the equaliser, until their goalkeeper, Bernardo Medina, made some insulting gestures to the referee, who didn’t turn a blind eye, and showed him a second yellow card. That was it for Luqueño, game over. It actually got much worse, as they lost 4-1, conceding two more goals in the dying minutes of the match. Medina apologised after the game, half-blaming the referee though, saying that after the first yellow card he showed him, the referee told him some really nasty things(!). One thing is for sure, Medina’s red card cost Sportivo Luqueño whatever chances they had of salvaging at least a point in Capiatá. Last season, Sportivo Luqueño faced Deportivo Cali in the Copa Sudamericana in February, lost 1-0 in Cali, Colombia, beat them 2-1 in May, in the return leg, but still got eliminated, because of the away goal rule.
Unlike Sportivo Luqueño who played two official matches the last 10 days, Deportivo Cuenca haven’t played a competitive game since December 9, when the last championship in Ecuador ended. They qualified for the Copa Sudamericana as the 7th-placed in Ecuador, combining both halves of the season in 2017. Last year, their first opponent in the Copa Sudamericana was Oriente Petrolero from Bolivia. They earned a 1-1 draw in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, but drew 1-1 at home as well, and lost on penalties. Their coach, Aníbal Biggeri, just before flying to Asunción (via Guayaquil and Panama City), admitted that his team are not at 100% due to lack of official matches, but seemed confident that they have what it takes to get a positive result in Paraguay. They arrived in Asunción four days before the match, and trained several times in Luque, at CONMEBOL’s training centre, getting used to the weather conditions in Paraguay’s capital city (Luque is practically… attached to Asunción).
Previous five matches:
Deportivo Capiata vs Sportivo Luqueno 4-1
Sportivo Luqueno vs Libertad 2-2
Sportivo Trinidense vs Sportivo Luqueno 2-4
Sportivo Luqueno vs General Diaz 3-0
Cerro Porteno vs Sportivo Luqueno 4-1
Guayaquil City vs Deportivo Cuenca 0-1
Deportivo Cuenca vs LDU Quito 1-3
Barcelona vs Deportivo Cuenca 3-0
Deportivo Cuenca vs El Nacional 1-2
Delfin vs Deportivo Cuenca 0-0
Sportivo Luqueño’s next game is again at home, versus Olimpia, the coming weekend (Paraguay Apertura). Deportivo Cuenca are hosting LDU Quito on Sunday (Ecuador championship).
Sportivo Luqueno vs Deportivo Cuenca: Head to head Stats
Sportivo Luqueño have never faced a team from Ecuador before.
Sportivo Luqueno vs Deportivo Cuenca: Prediction
Despite disappointing last weekend, I expect Sportivo Luqueño to… shape up, show their best side, and beat a team that haven’t played an official match in months.
Sportivo Luqueno vs Deportivo Cuenca: Betting Tips
Sportivo Luqueño’s win is at 1.61 betting odds. In their two Apertura matches in Paraguay the last ten days they scored a lot, they conceded even more, generally there were countless chances for goals in both matches, so I’m tempted to suggest “over 2.5” seeing it pay 2.35, but even 1.61 is good enough I reckon, given that this is not a championship match, but the first of two legs in an international competition.
More Copa Sudamericana betting tips and match previews: