Paraguayan side Deportivo Capiatá host Peruvians Universitario on Thursday night in the preliminary qualification rounds of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier continental competition.
Remarkably Capiatá were only founded in 2008 but they will be looking to take the next step on their amazing journey when they take to the field. In 2014 they contested the Copa Sudamericana, the South American equivalent of the Europe League, following qualification from their first ever Primera División season in 2013. They eliminated Uruguayan side Danubio and another Venezuelan side, Caracas, before they were controversially eliminated by Argentine giants Boca Juniors on penalties. Capiatá qualified for the competition on the back of a decent league showing in the 2016 Clausura in which they finished in 4th place with a record of 10-7-5.
What Capiatá lack in history, Universitario do not. They have participated in the Libertadores a mammoth 27 times. However recent times have not been so successful with their last participation coming in 2014, in which the finished bottom in the group stages with a measly single point. They have qualified via finishing on the aggregate table, which takes into account the Torneo Apertura, Torneo Clausura, and Liguilla phases, with a record of 20-11-13.
Capiata have shown decent performance in the build up to the game, notching wins over Athletic FBC and Sol de America but losing to Club Olimpia in friendlies.They have also had to contest a round in the Libertadores, unlike their opponents, edging out Venezuelans Tachira 1-0 over two legs. New manager Pampero Gavilán has suffered the sales of two key players but is able to count on several new players transferred in. We expect them to take to the pitch in a 4-4-2 formation, with the following possible starters:
Medina; Bonet, Paredes, Ortigoza, Martínez; Irrazábal, Ledesma, Irala, Lusardi; Gamarra, López.
La U were not impressive in last weeks home friendly against Once Caldas, falling 2-1 in their own stadium. A week earlier they put in as slightly better performance, drawing 0-0 at home to Chilean side Universidad Catolica. Arquímedes Figuera is suspended but other than that the visitors have a full squad to choose from and we believe they could line up as follows:
Corzo; Rodríguez, Galliquio, Aguirre, Vargas; Mendoza, Estrada, Manicero, Gómez; Rengifo
Universitario boss Roberto Chales has somehwat ignited a war of words in the lead up to the match, claiming that the Paraguayans are “afraid”. The Capiata response has been that they “are not afraid of a team purely because they play in front of 80,000 people”. This is a hard one to call, the visitors are poor travellers on the continental stage and have lost on 5 of their 8 previous visits to Paraguay. That being said, Capiata made heavy work against an inferior side in Tachira and do lack the experience the visitors possess. We think that Universitario will look to keep things tight but will eventually be broken down the longer the game goes on for. Our tips for this game is an optimistic shout but could well come in:
Tip: Half Time/Full Time: Draw/Deportivo Capiata at odds of 4.33 with bet365.