Copa de la Liga: River on to the playoffs. What does Boca need?

Argentinos, Barracas and Vélez Sarsfield join the MIllonario in the final stage, with Group B still up for grabs

The Copa de la Liga quarterfinals are shaping up as Group A completed its set of fixtures on Monday. River Plate, Argentinos Juniors, Barracas Central, and Vélez Sarsfield are in the playoffs and now await rivals with Group B standing on a knife-edge.

River came from behind to beat Instituto at Córdoba 3-1 and take the top spot in Group B. Martin Demichelis’ side has been on patchy form for most of the competition, and even risked its playoff spot. With all games kicking off at 8 p.m. River was out of contention temporarily when it went 1-0 down in the first half after Instituto scored through a penalty. 

However, striker Facundo Colidio made amends for his first half misses and got a hattrick in the second. The Millonario ended up on top of Group A with 27 points.

Second placed Argentinos faced off against third placed Barracas in a 3-3 thriller. Tied at 26 points each, only goal difference ended up deciding their final spots.

The final place was up for grabs between Independiente, Talleres — who faced each other — and Vélez Sarsfield. The Fortín needed to win its game and hope for a tie between the other two. But even leading 1-0 at the half-time, things looked dire as Independiente led 2-0 against a 10-men Talleres. 

However, La T turned it into a nail-biter after scoring two goals within the first 15 minutes of the second half to tie the game 2-2 and put Vélez through. Results held to the end — with a third Talleres goal disallowed for offside —, leading to the Fortín finishing fourth with 25 points

Another suspenseful matchday

Group B is set for another day of result mathematics and nerves on edge. With the top spot sealed for Godoy Cruz with 29 points, six teams are in the running for three places.

Despite their 1-0 loss last Friday in a game against Estudiantes that had been suspended and postponed, Boca Juniors — fifth with 22 points — still controls its own fate. It hosts Godoy Cruz and a win will see them through to the quarterfinals. 

The reason is that four of the teams bidding for a spot are facing a direct rival in the struggle to qualify. Defensa y Justicia, fourth with 23 points, hosts Newell’s Old Boys, who’s seventh with 21 points. For the home team, a win will be enough regardless of other results, while the away side also needs two of Lanús, Boca, and Racing Club to drop points.

The other key game will be Estudiantes de La Plata (second with 24 points) visiting Lanús (third with 23). A win is enough for each side to get through, while a tie helps Estudiantes and leaves Lanús needing the rest of the teams to drop points.

Racing, sixth with 21 points, visits Belgrano and needs to win to stand a chance, in the hopes that two of Boca, Defensa y Justicia, and Lanús drop points.

The last matchday will also have the added excitement of potentially setting up Superclasico if Boca finishes fourth.

All games kick off on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Argentina time. A cable subscription and the additional “Pack Fútbol” are required to watch all games.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald