Paraguay square off against Venezuela on Wednesday evening looking to keep the pressure on the top five in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table.
While the visitors head into this contest sitting at the bottom of the standings, victory in Asuncion will move them to within one point of their sixth-placed hosts.
Away from the drama involving Brazil and Argentina, a multitude of nations went into the weekend’s fixtures simply looking to stay in contention.
Paraguay and Venezuela were among those sides, the former registering a 1-1 draw with Colombia after initially taking the lead late in the first half.
Despite failing to claim all three points, Eduardo Berizzo would have been relatively content with avoiding a defeat which would have left Paraguay four points adrift of a playoff spot.
However, Berizzo cannot ignore that his side remain with just one win from their opening eight fixtures, that sole success coming away at their next opponents.
With the visit of Argentina to come next and a trip to Brazil scheduled for early next year, Los Guaranies will feel that they must take advantage of fixtures like the one on Wednesday night.
Venezuela’s winless streak stretches all the way back to November when a late Salomon Rondon goal secured a 2-1 victory over Chile.
That is their solitary win in 12 attempts in all competitions, while a three-match losing streak has lasted since the end of their Copa America campaign.
Recently-appointed head coach Leonardo Gonzalez is currently working on an interim basis, aware that a job could open up for him if he can end the nation’s barren spell.
Venezuela lost out by a 1-0 scoreline to Peru at the weekend, their efforts not helped by the first-half dismissal of Tomas Rincon.
We say: Paraguay 2-1 Venezuela
If the reverse fixture is anything to go by, this game could be decided by the smallest of margins.
While we fancy Venezuela to remain competitive throughout, we cannot back against Paraguay as they look to respond to dropping points at the weekend.