Argentina Primera División round-up week 30: Banfield’s miracle and San Lorenzo & Independiente’s missed opportunity

Argentina Primera Division

Saturday, June 24

Defensa y Justicia 1-0 Gimnasia La Plata

Defensa y Justicia secured themselves continental football as they beat Gimnasia 1-0. DyJ were dominant throughout the game but were unable to break the deadlock. However, River Plate loanee Alexander Barboza scored an 81th-minute penalty to keep all three points in Florencio Varela. The defender has been in excellent form this season and could well be on his way to Europe. One to keep an eye on.

San Martin 1-1 Rosario Central

It was a meaningless game for both sides as Central couldn’t get themselves into one of the Sudamericana spots anymore. There was some transfer news from the Rosario side though. Colombian forward and international Teofilo Gutierrez has joined Colombian side Junior FC for 4M.

Sunday, June 25

Boca Juniors 2-1 vs Union de Santa Fe

Boca were already crowned champions in midweek after Banfield’s loss at San Lorenzo but still ended their season with a positive result. Again, it was Dario Benedetto who opened the scoring. The Mexican/Argentinian striker has been in excellent form this season and proved to be a superb replacement for Tevez. He also scored Boca’s second goal of the game, bringing his tally up to 21 goals. Boca Juniors want to renew his contract and include a 21M clause as their already is some interest from Europe.

Banfield 1-3 Racing Club

Banfield looked almost certain of Libertadores qualification but two consecutive losses mean it’s no longer in their hands. El Taladro equalised just after HT via Dario Cvitanich who has done a superb job to replace Santiago Silva. A piledriver from Pillud gave Racing the lead again and Diego Gonzalez finished off a counter-attack to make it 1-3. Racing need either Estudiantes, Independiente or San Lorenzo to drop points later this week to qualify for the Copa Libertadores.

Colon 0-0 River Plate

River Plate were held by Colon to a 0-0 draw but still managed to secure qualification for the Libertadores. Chilean forward Larrondo was back in the starting XI after Driussi completed his 15M move to Russian outfit Zenit. Colon were also happy with the draw as they finished in 11th place, meaning they qualified for the Copa Sudamericana.

Atl. Rafaela 2-3 Sarmiento Jrs

Both sides were already relegated coming into this game but left the Primera División with a goal fest. Rafaela levelled the game up twice but a goal from Patricio Vidal meant that Sarmiento were crowned winners. At least they have ended the season on a high. Atl. Rafaela weren’t that bad this season actually as they finished in 17th position with 37 points, however, it wasn’t enough to keep them up.

Monday, June 26

Relegation day

Monday was relegation day with three games kicking off simultaneously. Either Olimpo, Aldosivi, Temperley or even Huracan could go down to the Primera B.

A 0-0 draw between Huracan and Belgrano meant Huracan were save for this year and will still play in the Primera División next year. Aldosivi conceded early against Olimpo. It then went from bad to worse for the side from Mar Del Plata, as Olimpo extended their lead to 0-2. At that point, Temperley were still drawing 0-0 away to Velez. A goal from Velez would mean that Temperley would go into a straight relegation play-off against Aldosivi. Aldosivi conceded a 3rd and neither Temperley or Velez were able to find the net. Meaning that Aldosivi were eventually relegated to the Primera B. Temperley, Huracan and Olimpo will still play at the highest level next year.

Patronato drew 1-1 with Atletico Tucuman and Arsenal got a 2-1 win over Tigre.

Tuesday, June 27

Newell’s 0-2 Godoy Cruz

Newell’s had very little to play for after their disappointing end to the season. Los Lepros can’t qualify for the Copa Libertadores anymore and will have to settle for the Copa Sudamericana next year. It was goalless at half time, but Godoy Cruz brought all three points back to Mendoza. Goals coming from Garcia and Correa. Newell’s may have to prepare for a life without Ignacio Scocco though as the veteran striker is being linked with River Plate to replace Sebastian Driussi.

Estudiantes 1-0 Quilmes

Estudiantes were looking for Libertadores qualification in a must-win game against Quilmes. The game was being played in Sarandi and the nerves were definitely kicking in from the Estudiantes player. A nervy start and Estudiantes only managed to create some half chances close to HT. Lucas Viatri eventually broke the deadlock in the 79th minute, as he was able to score a simple rebound. This goal qualified Los Pinchas for the Copa Libertadores next season, this time without Veron!

Independiente 1-1 Lanus

La Roja knew a win would be enough for Libertadores qualification and Rigoni put the hosts in front in the 37th minute with a beautiful effort. However, Nicolas Aguirre equalised for Lanus and suddenly things were looking less positive for Independiente. Aguirre got himself sent off later on and gave Independiente the chance to win it from the spot. However, youngster Ezequiel Barco missed his penalty. An expensive miss, as it cost La Roja their Libertadores qualification. They will most likely play in the Copa Sudamericana next year.

Talleres 1-1 San Lorenzo

This game in Cordoba kicked off at the same time as the Independiente game and San Lorenzo had only one task. A win would qualify them for the Copa Libertadores. However, San Lorenzo were nervous and Talleres had the better chances in the first half. Talleres took the lead in the 70th minute and San Lorenzo were only able to get one goal back via a 95th-minute penalty from Nicolas Blandi. A big blow for El Ciclon, as they will most likely miss out on the Libertadores next year. There is a slight chance that they won’t but I will discuss those scenarios later on.

  1. Boca – Lib
  2. River Plate – Lib
  3. Estudiantes – Lib
  4. Racing – Lib
  5. Banfield – Lib(Q)
  6. Independiente – Sud
  7. San Lorenzo – Sud
  8. Lanus – Sud
  9. Newell’s – Sud
  10. DyJ – Sud
  11. Colon – Sud
  12. Rosario Central
  13. Gimnasia L.P
  14. Godoy Cruz
  15. Talleres de Cordoba
  16. Olimpo
  17. Rafaela – R
  18. Temperley
  19. Velez
  20. Patronato
  21. Tucuman
  22. San Martin
  23. Union
  24. Tigre
  25. Huracan
  26. Sarmiento Jrs – R
  27. Arsenal
  28. Belgrano
  29. Quilmes – R
  30. Aldosivi – R

6 possible scenarios

This is where it all gets interesting and way too complicated. I’ll try to explain every possible scenario as clear as possible. As I wrote, there are still some possibilities for some teams to qualify for either the Copa Libertadores or the Copa Sudamericana. Bear with me.

  • If River Plate win the Copa Libertadores Independiente will go the Copa Libertadores qualifying rounds, with Banfield going straight to the group stages.
  • If either Lanus or San Lorenzo win the Copa Libertadores, that side goes to the Copa Libertadores group stage. Also, that would mean that one extra Sudamericana spot is left. In this instance, #12 Rosario Central would go to the Copa Sudamericana
  • If Godoy Cruz manages to win the Libertadores they will also qualify for the Copa Libertadores, with no extra spot opening up as they currently aren’t in a spot for continental football. Unlikely, but you never know in South America.
  • If either Independiente, Defensa y Justicia or Estudiantes win the Copa Sudamericana, that team will go straight into the Copa Libertadores group stage and #12 Rosario Central will qualify for the Sudamericana as one spot frees up. If this happens and River also win the Libertadores, 13th placed team Gimnasia will also qualify for the Copa Sudamericana.
  • If either Huracan or Arsenal win the Copa Sudamericana they will go straight into the Copa Libertadores group stage. No additional spot as these teams again aren’t in a spot for continental football.
  • If the winner of the Copa Argentina has already qualified for the Copa Libertadores (Either via the league or winning either continental cup) the second best not-already-qualified team will go to the Copa Libertadores. So that’s probably the loser of the final.

So, that’s it then. The season is over. Banfield needed a miracle and that’s exactly what they got on the last day! The Primera División will only consist of 28 teams next season, with only two teams going up from the Primera B. You can look forward to a seasonal round-up here at BFTGT later on this week, make sure you don’t miss it!

About the Author

Vincent van Raam
South American football enthusiast covering Argentina for @ByFarBlog.