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In this preview, we delve into the upcoming Argentine Primera Division clash between Belgrano and Boca Juniors. Heading into the game on the back of a win against Palmeiras in the semi-final of the Copa Libertadores, Boca Juniors are looking to solidify their chances of returning to the competition next season when they face Belgrano at Estadio Julio Cesar Villagra on Tuesday. Let’s break down the key aspects of this encounter, including predictions, team news, and possible lineups.
Belgrano, known as El Celeste, currently sits two points behind Group B leaders Central Cordoba after seven matches in this round. They showcased a strong defensive record, with a goalless draw at Talleres in their recent outing. This remarkable defensive performance has been a defining characteristic of their current campaign, with no goals conceded in their last four matches.
On the other hand, Boca Juniors finds themselves in 11th place in the same group, with seven points from seven games. They are four points away from securing a place in the second stage of the Libertadores next year. However, their recent domestic form has been less than stellar, as they suffered a 2-0 defeat to their arch-rivals, River Plate.
Belgrano, under the management of Guillermo Farre, have undergone a remarkable transformation in this round. After struggling to find the net in their final six fixtures of the previous phase, they have now gone unbeaten in seven successive matches. Their defensive solidity is evident, with no goals conceded in their last four games.
Throughout the 2023 season, Belgrano have demonstrated that they belong in the top tier of the Primera Division. They are currently just a point away from securing a place in the Copa Sudamericana next year, marking their successful return to the Argentine top-flight since 2018-19. While they may not be the most aggressive side, their well-organized defence has been a standout feature, as they are currently tied for the second-fewest goals conceded in this phase of the competition (three).
Belgrano have been particularly impressive when playing in front of their home fans, scoring the second-most goals in Group B so far, including six at Estadio Julio Cesar Villagra. Notably, they have not conceded a single goal at home in the first 45 minutes of this competition since matchday 25 in the opening stage. They have only trailed once in this round, albeit for less than 10 minutes during a 2-2 draw at San Lorenzo.
Despite their strong form in this phase, Belgrano have missed opportunities to climb up the table. They squandered a pair of second-half advantages against San Lorenzo and Newell’s Old Boys, costing them four valuable points.
For Boca Juniors, this match carries immense significance. Fresh off their triumph over Palmeiras, they have the chance to end Brazilian dominance in the Copa Libertadores and become the first side outside of Brasileiro Serie A to lift the trophy since 2018. However, they must first address their domestic struggles, as they currently sit fourth from the bottom in Group B.
Boca Juniors’ league form this season has been less than desirable, having already suffered 13 defeats in 34 fixtures between phase one and two. All of these defeats occurred when they conceded the opening goal, underscoring their vulnerability in such situations. They struggled to find the back of the net in nearly half of their road contests in the opening phase and have not significantly improved in that department this term.
However, history favors Boca Juniors in matches against Belgrano. They have suffered just one defeat in their previous nine encounters in all competitions against the club from Cordoba and have only lost twice on the road in 10 previous meetings.
Belgrano: Losada; Barinaga, Rebola, Godoy, Ibacache; Sanchez, Longo, Rolon, Marin; Pastran, Passerini
Boca Juniors: Romero; Roncaglia, Valdez, Valentini, Barco; Campuzano; E. Fernandez, Bullaude, Medina, Janson; Benedetto
Coming off a highly emotional victory in the Copa Libertadores, Boca Juniors could be susceptible to a letdown against a disciplined Belgrano side known for its defensive prowess. We predict a narrow victory for Belgrano, with a final score of 1-0 in their favour.
In conclusion, this Argentine Primera Division clash promises to be a fascinating encounter, with both teams aiming to secure valuable points for their respective campaigns. Belgrano’s defensive strength and Boca Juniors’ quest to recover from a challenging season add intrigue to this matchup. Football fans can anticipate an intense battle on the pitch at Estadio Julio Cesar Villagra.
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