December 12, 2017

Final tournament preview

Sunday, May 18, 2014

River Plate on verge of title

River Plate players train ahead of today’s key match against Quilmes.
River Plate players train ahead of today’s key match against Quilmes.
River Plate players train ahead of today’s key match against Quilmes.
Looks for 35th championship with a home win against Quilmes

River Plate will be looking for its 35th league title today when it hosts Quilmes at the Monumental stadium at 5.30pm. Estudiantes and Gimnasia also have chances of clinching the trophy.

Final Tournament leader River Plate is going for an eighth successive home win over Quilmes today at 5.30pm that could secure the title and end six years of failure including its traumatic first relegation.

River, looking for a record 35th league championship, leads the championship with 34 points, two more than Estudiantes de La Plata and three ahead of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata.

Coach Ramón Díaz’s team, with few survivors of the side relegated in 2011, is in the best position to pick up its first title since 2008 when Diego Simeone was in charge.

A draw with Quilmes will be enough if Estudiantes do not win at Tigre. But if Estudiantes wins in Juan Sebastián Verón’s last match before retiring, they would go into a playoff with River since goal difference is not taken into account.

Only a River defeat and a draw for Estudiantes would give Gimnasia a chance of going into a playoff. But Pedro Troglio’s side must beat Boca Juniors, which is closing its championship with a flourish looking for a fifth win in a row, at La Bombonera stadium.

River v Quilmes, Tigre v Estudiantes and Gimnasia v Boca will be all played at 5.30pm today.

Verón could add a second league title to his Estudiantes tally after helping them to victory in 2006 under Simeone in a playoff with Boca on his return from a decade in Europe.

The 39-year-old believes the pressure is all on River, saying: “We’ll try to do our job and hope they drop points on the way. In this finish, they have 85 percent of the burden (of succeeding).”

Quilmes, meanwhile, avoided relegation last weekend with its 2-0 home win over Gimnasia.

Three teams, Atlético Rafaela, Colón and Godoy Cruz, are fighting to avoid joining relegated Argentinos Juniors and All Boys in the second tier National B next season.

Given the bizarre nature of relegation in Argentina, determined by teams’ average points over three seasons, the three clubs were vying for the championship lead at different stages in the campaign.

Outgoing champion San Lorenzo, which won the Initial Tournament title in the first half of the season and on Wednesday booked its place in the South American Libertadores Cup semifinals to be played after the World Cup, closes its campaign at home to Vélez Sarsfield tomorrow.

Herald with Reuters

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