Welcome to the second part of the Superliga review. This week will contain the next 7 teams in the Superliga, from Colon all the way up to Sudamericana winners Independiente. Let’s get straight into it!
Colon de Santa Fe
Colon is generally a tough team to break down and this year proves to be no different. Colon didn’t lose any of their first 10 games with German Conti (23) and Guillermo Ortiz (25) in the heart of their defence. The pair is key to Colon’s success with Conti picking up a massive 4 MOTM awards in his 12 appearances this season. Colon did end the first part of the season on a low though as they lost the last two games. They can still be proud of their start though as they sit in 7th place, just two points behind 3rd. There’s no guarantee German Conti will still be here after the break as there will be plenty of interest in the talented defender. His move at the start of the season to Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg broke down and it surely will just be a matter of time before he gets his move. 19-year-old forward Tomás Chancalay has been Colon’s best prospect this season in a relative ageing squad.
Defensa y Justicia
A club with arguably the best name in the league has impressed again this season after losing multiple key players. Finances are tight in Florencio Varela and DyJ usually rely on loan-signings to compete in the league. Alexander Barboza (River) was a key player last year but returned to his parent club, just like many others. Highly rated defensive midfielder Adrian Cubas (20) joined on loan from Boca Juniors and has been key ever since but it was Nicolas Fernandez who has been the revelation of the season. The 21-year old left winger has racked up 7 goals in 8 appearances for the club which sees Defensa y Justicia all the way up in 10th position. It’s an incredible campaign again for Hálcon considering they’ve got work with little to no money. They started the season with Nelson Vivas in charge but the former Estudiantes manager resigned after a disappointing 3-1 loss to Colon. His successor José Lemme has done well and will look to build on a solid start to the season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Defensa would end up in the Sudamericana next year.
Estudiantes won the Libertadores back in 2009 but the supporters haven’t really had a reason to celebrate in the last couple of years. Estudiantes find themselves in mid-table this season as well with their games being mostly rather unexciting, to say the least. Their Copa Sudamericana run wasn’t as successful as hoped as they got knocked out in the quarterfinals by Paraguayan outfit Nacional Asuncion, losing both legs 1-0. Their supporters don’t really expect entertaining games though, they just want the job to be done. Estudiantes are a hard-working team but they’ve produced little spectacle in the past months. Their games average under 1.7 goals per game while 5 of their last 6 Superliga matches ended in a 1-0 scoreline. Estudiantes will undoubtedly be up there in the race for a continental spot come to the end of the season and I doubt any of their supporters will care about these 1-0’s.
Gimnasia La Plata
Onto Estudiantes’ fierce rivals from La Plata, Gimnasia. Mariano Soso handed in his resignation on the last day of 2017 and Gimansia have announced Facundo Sava as his successor. Sava will have a tough job in his hands as Gimansia currently in 20th place picking up 13 points in their first 12 games. Their main issue lies in their defence as they conceded the most goals (22) out of any team in the league. They do however find the net on a regular occasion themselves, scoring 16 goals in the process. Midfielders Brahian Aleman and Nicolas Colazo both contributed to 5 goals each this season and have been key for the La Plata side. Gimnasia should enjoy a better spell under Soso but that’ll only possible if they can tighten it up at the back.
Godoy Cruz started the season of brightly picking up 10 points in their first 4 games. Two losses were then followed up by two wins and a draw before they lost the last game before the break. It was a relatively solid start to the Superliga for the Mendoza-based side. Uruguayan striker Santiago Garcia has been key for El Expreso but has drawn interest from both foreign and domestic clubs. Godoy Cruz sit just outside the Sudamericana spots in 12th but keeping Garcia will be key if they want to push for Continental football. They will have to do it under a new manager though, as Mauricio Larriera resigned in December. Diego Dabove has made the step up from their reserves and will be in charge of Godoy Cruz for the remainder of the season. Can they make the push for a spot in the Sudamericana?
Huracan was in massive relegation trouble come the start of the season but their excellent start has given some space to breathe. Huracan sits 5th in the league and have now climbed out of the relegation zone. A big loss for Huracan is the departure of Wanchope Abila, who’s loan ended at the end of 2017. Talented winger Alejandro Gamarra was on his way to the MLS but his 7M move broke down, luckily for Huracan. Ignacio Pussetto has arguably been Huracan’s best player this season. The 22-year old winger scored 4 goals and assisted another 3 and he could be the next Argentine in line to leave his native country if he keeps his performances up. The next part of the season will be key for El Globo as they will look to retain their spot in outside of the relegation zone.
Independiente won the Copa Sudamericana under the guidance of Ariel Holan and the performances in the league have been just as impressive. Independiente won 6, drew 3 and lost two of their opening 11 games. Their future looks bright under Ariel Holan who has brought glory, pride and excitement back to El Rojo. However, the downside to their success is the inevitable future that lays ahead of any successful Argentine club: Their best players get sold to foreign clubs. Atlanta United are still heavily interested in Ezequiel Barco while captain Nicolas Tagliafico has completed his move to Dutch giants Ajax. Ariel almost resigned at the end of their Copa Sudamericana campaign and even wrote a resignation letter which he publicly shared on his social media. It was a result of a terrible occurrence as some of Independiente’s Barra Brava assaulted his house and threatened both him and his family. It’s disgraceful that such a thing even happened in the first place. These barra brava’s aren’t fans, they are criminals and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a stadium. The sad fact is that they do and often have a lot of influence on a club’s policy. All of this because they simply threaten with sheer violence if the club refuses to acknowledge their needs.
Of course, not all barra brava’s are bad guys and Argentine football has a lot of passionate fans who truly care about their clubs. However, just like everywhere else there are some absolute morons between them. Now we got the upsetting stuff out of the way, Ariel Holan announced that he’ll stay on as Independiente manager. It’s great news for everyone involved and Independiente could eventually push for the title. That is if they manage to replace their outgoing players properly. Fullback Emanuel Britez joined from Union de Santa Fe while talented forward Braian Romero joined from Argentinos Juniors. Fernando Belluschi is also one of Holan’s targets and would be an excellent addition. The creative playmaker is a guarantee for assists and knows how to take a set-piece. One thing is sure: it’s an interesting period for Independiente who are looking to build on their Copa Sudamericana win.