Boca still smoking hot
For the Herald
The race to the top remains open as Estudiantes de La Plata, Newell’s Old Boys, River and San Lorenzo don’t fall
In the week where Edgardo Bauza finally saw the pyre lit beneath him, two Boca Juniors players narrowly avoided their own witch-hunt by the simple expedient of triumphing on the pitch. Jonathan Silva and Cristian Pavón sparked a mini-scandal by filming themselves smoking just hours before the league leaders took on Vélez Sarsfield on Sunday, and were likely to be publically vilified had the Xeneize dropped points. Luckily for the pair Vélez showed all the fight and energy of an office worker with their own 60-a-day habit, folding as Boca ran out 2-0 winners to maintain its five-point lead at the top.
With Estudiantes, Newell’s Old Boys and San Lorenzo all winning, however, the race at the top remains open. Boca now returns to the Bombonera in the hope of extending a three-game winning streak at the expense of Patronato, the Paraná team bruised after a humiliating 5-0 reverse at the hands of Independiente who gained its first triumph under Ariel Holan in a convincing display last weekend.
challengers face off
Guillermo Barros Schelotto will also be pleased to see two of those challengers face off tomorrow, with at least one of Newell’s or Estudiantes guaranteed to drop points and lose ground in the race. San Lorenzo, meanwhile, visits Atlético Tucumán in what is certain to be a tough clash against the Copa Libertadores hopefuls. Is there still time for River Plate, eight points off their arch-rivals, to make a late run for the Primera División? The Millonario is in fine form, having gone unbeaten so far in 2017 with four straight wins, and another victory against Tigre would cement its place in the upper reaches of the table as the league enters its final 10 games.
Racing Club’s hopes of making the Copa Libertadores next season were affected by a deluge of biblical proportions that left last Saturday’s encounter against Tigre looking more like a game of water polo. After seeing the match abandoned at 1-1 after 20 minutes of chaotic soccer the team will have to make up that fixture later. In the meantime a trip to Junín to face Sarmiento looms on Saturday, with the host in desperate need of points to move out of the relegation zone. La Academia’s Avellaneda rivals Independiente also has the chance to sink its opponents in further trouble as it welcomes Rafaela, rock-bottom in the average points table and almost resigned to playing the Nacional B next season , to the Libertadores de América.