Saturday
November 1, 2014

Soccer — final tournament

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Three title candidates all play at same time

Gabriel Mercado celebrates after scoring to give River Plate a two-point lead.

Matches scheduled for Sunday at 5.30pm

The three title candidates of the Final Tournament, River Plate and the two La Plata clubs, Estudiantes and Gimnasia y Esgrima, must play at the same time on Sunday, at 5.30pm, meaning the title winners should be known about two hours later.

The winner of the National Championship’s Final Tournament will be decided on Sunday at around 7.30pm. The three candidates — River Plate (34 points), Estudiantes de La Plata (32) and Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata (31) — are all due to start playing at 5.30pm, according to Argentine FA rules that on the final day all title or relegation candidates must play at the same time.

If River Plate wins, it will become champion but if it draws, it will depend on the Estudiantes match result. If two teams tie in points, there will be a playoff to decide the title winner.

Estudiantes visits Tigre and River Plate receives Quilmes, both rivals who have just moved out of relegation danger while Gimnasia receives Boca Juniors who is in a winning streak which took them to 4th place on the fringe of title aspirations.

Likewise, three teams needing points to move out of the drop zone — Atlético Rafaela, Colón and Godoy Cruz — also have to play at the same time, 3pm on Sunday and the team to accompany already relegated Argentinos Juniors and All Boys will be known by around 5pm. Rafaela visits Arsenal (more interested in the Libertadores Cup and may field a lot of reserves), Colón receives Olimpo, who have just escaped relegation problems, and Godoy Cruz, who are actually 5th in the current table and had been a possible title candidate until last week, receives ailing Racing Club.

Rarely have there been doubts about the title winners and relegation, both involving three clubs each, on the last day of the season.

Despite the drizzle and slippery pitch at Argentinos Juniors, River Plate beat Argentinos Juniors 2-0 late last Sunday to take a two-point lead with one match to go. It was only River’s second away win of the year after the superderby victory over Boca Juniors eight weeks ago. Right back Gabriel Mercado pushed home in the 69th minute after a free kick taken by midfielder Manuel Lanzini deflected off the post. Nine minutes later Colombian striker Teófilo Gutiérrez added a cheeky second through goalkeeper Nereo Champagne’s legs to secure the victory for coach Ramón Díaz’s team.

DyN, Reuters

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