Sportivo Luqueno vs Libertad
Competition: Paraguay Apertura
Date: 3 February 2018
Kick-off: 00:20 CET
Sportivo Luqueño finished 5th in the Clausura back in December, and as the 7th best placed team in the championship (Clausura and Apertura combined) in 2017, they earned a ticket to the Copa Sudamericana. They signed nine(!) new players, revamping their roster, after a rather poor 2017 season. Julio dos Santos, their number 10, a 34-year-old midfielder with vast experience after years and years in Germany, Spain and Brazil, is a guy on whom Argentine coach Javier Sanguinetti is counting on a lot. Sportivo Luqueño actually limited their roster, letting many players go. Sanguinetti had said he didn’t want to train 30-32 players, plus, the finances of the club didn’t allow so many contracts. He chose to have less players available, but players like dos Santos and Fredy Bareiro, vastly experienced, not that young anymore, but definitely hugely experienced, to lead the squad, assisted by the reinforcements that arrived at the club.
Libertad did worse than Sportivo Luqueño in the Clausura, they finished just 8th in December, but earlier in the season they had won the Apertura, so not only they qualified for the Copa Libertadores, but they are already in the group stage, not worrying about the tricky qualifiers, like Olimpia and Guaraní. Libertad received some bad news just before the start of the season. Attacking midfielder Jorge Recalde got seriously injured in their last friendly game against General Díaz, and will miss the entire Apertura. It is the second time in 18 months that he is getting injured that seriously, a real pity for any player, let alone a 25-year-old with very interesting potential. Libertad seem to have a lot of offensive power. Their coach is Aldo Bobadilla, who spent the last two months of 2017 at Olimpia.
Previous five matches:
Sportivo Trinidense vs Sportivo Luqueno 2-4
Sportivo Luqueno vs General Diaz 3-0
Cerro Porteno vs Sportivo Luqueno 4-1
Sportivo Luqueno vs Guarani 0-2
Sportivo Luqueno vs Sol de America 0-2
Libertad vs Nacional Asuncion 0-2
Olimpia vs Libertad 1-0
Independiente vs Libertad 3-1
Libertad vs Deportivo Capiata 0-0
Libertad vs Independiente 1-0
Sportivo Luqueno’s next game is at Deportivo Capiata next Friday. A day later, Libertad will be hosting Guarani (both Paraguay Apertura matches).
Sportivo Luqueno vs Libertad: Head to head Stats
Libertad have four wins in a row as Sportivo Luqueno’s visitors, scoring eight goals and conceding just one(!). Before that, the hosts had managed a 1-1 draw.
Sportivo Luqueno vs Libertad: Prediction
I doubt even the most fanatic Sportivo Luqueño fan would claim that his team has a better roster than that of Libertad, there is a rather clear… gap between the two, hence the 1.87 the visitors’ win pays. Even so, I’m backing the hosts to avoid defeat, counting on their enthusiasm for playing at home on the first day of a new season, with many new faces who are eager to show things as early as possible.
Sportivo Luqueno vs Libertad: Betting Tips
At 1.78, I prefer Sportivo Luqueño’s double chance better than Libertad’s win, which pays just marginally better. Given that this is the first day of the season, I prefer to take things as… conservatively as possible, so I’m staying with this 1.78, feeling well about the hosts’ chances of earning at least a draw.
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