Defensa y Justicia v Patronato
A day after the decider in group A, the other group will also be decided and group B seems to have a more exciting ending awaiting. Five teams are still in the running for two spots in the top 4 and Defensa y Justicia seem to be a favourite for one of them. That’s because they are currently in one of those spots and face one of the weakest teams in the league with Patronato.
Patronato sacked their manager halfway the season and the new manager did manage to improve the side a bit by winning three games out of the eight games he’s been in charge. But last week, they conceded a shocking 6-0 defeat in their own stadium. They can do with the points towards the relegation table, where they are close to bottom, but that won’t be decided until the end of the year. So, even though I don’t think they will just give up on this game, they do seem done with this season.
Defensa were one of the best teams in the league, but dropped their level for most of April. They are also pretty much the only team playing an international tournament who haven’t rotated players in the league, so have had some lacklustre first half performances lately, where concentration is lacking. They have mostly been able to pull it back though, so it doesn’t seem to have been a lack of quality. Given this is a key game with a clear goal, I think they are favourites to win this. I suspect them to be much better than Patronato and claim the much-needed victory.
Argentinos Juniors v Unión de Santa Fe
For most of the season, Unión de Santa Fe looked great to qualify for the play-offs, but with four defeats from the last four games, they are suddenly completely out and that must hit them hard. Especially since they are facing an opponent who were behind them for most of the season, but Argentinos are now looking good to make the play-offs.
It looks like Unión won’t have the same motivation as before, but that won’t be the case for Argentinos Juniors, who could qualify with a victory. It won’t be easy as they are somewhat dependent on the Newell’s Old Boys and Defensa y Justicia results. They basically need to make up a 3-goal difference to overtake Defensa with the same amount of points or collect a point more than Newell’s. That means that even though Argentinos’s first job is to win the game, they could do with goals as well.
Argentina is not really a country for matches with big results, but there have been a few games with six or seven goals difference in the past weeks and that is what Argentinos will be hoping for. I think Unión is far too good a team for that, but I do suspect that Argentinos will come out attacking, to try to take control in their own hands. They’ll be without the suspended centre back Kevin MacAllister and possibly also left back Mariano Bittolo, which could leave their defence a bit weaker for this game and that’s why I expect goals here.
Banfield v Atlético Tucumán
For Tucumán this will be the last game of the season that has improved significantly since manager Lucas Pusineri took over. They are still close to the bottom of the league, but with five points from four games, including against three top five teams, they look a lot more competitive than before. In this last game they face Banfield, who are also out for the play-offs. However, Banfield isn’t completely done yet, as they still have a few Copa Sudamericana games coming up.
For Banfield, captain Nicolás Domingo is suspended. That is a big loss for Banfield as he is the leader in this team and has been key in pretty much all of Banfield’s victories this season. Tucumán are without Ramiro Carrera and his natural replacement Renzo Tesuri as both are out suspended, but neither of them hold the same importance to the team as Domingo does for Banfield and with Martin Garay they have another option there, so I think Tucumán shouldn’t be much weaker.
It looks like the bookmakers still undervalue Tucumán from before the change of manager and the away side should be considered for getting a result here, so I put my money on at least a draw for Atlético Tucumán.
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