How can Boca and River reach the next stage in continental competitions?

Halfway through the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, Argentine clubs are starting to do math to secure a spot in the knockout rounds

The Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana are reaching the halfway point of their group stages. With Boca Juniors, River Plate and other Argentine football clubs taking part, what do they need from the remaining three games to advance to the knockout phase?

Copa Libertadores

River Plate leads the way for Argentine clubs in South America’s premiere club competition. Despite a Superclásico loss that brought criticism of head coach Martin Demichelis to the surface once again, the Millonario won all three games and leads Group H with nine points. Another win in their next game — away at Uruguay’s Nacional on May 7 — or even a draw depending on other results would be enough to see them through.

Also undefeated, Talleres leads Group B, albeit with seven points due to a 2-2 draw with Ecuador’s Barcelona SC. A win when they host the Ecuadorian team on May 8 could prove enough to see them through, provided Chilean side Cobresal doesn’t beat Brazil’s Sao Paulo.

Estudiantes is third in Group C with four points. The Pincha have its work cut out for the second set of games, but could kick start its campaign by beating Bolivian side The Strongest away on May 9.

Rosario Central in Group G is in the same situation, albeit currently second due to other results. A win at home versus group leaders Atlético Mineiro on May 7 would go a long way, but positive results against Venezuela’s Caracas FC and Uruguay’s Peñarol should be enough to secure qualification.

Currently the only Argentine team outside qualification spots, San Lorenzo are yet to win in the LIbertadores. They will need all nine available points to secure qualification, or depend on other results. A win at home against Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle on May 9 will be a step in the right direction.

Copa Sudamericana

Boca Juniors paid the cost of its Superclásico win and threw a spanner in the works of its qualification on Thursday, losing 4-2 to Brazilian side Fortaleza. The Xeneize sits second on four points and will need a win against Paraguay’s Sportivo Trinidense on May 8 to boost its chances. 

The key game will come a week later, as Diego Martinez’s side hosts Fortaleza on May 15. Teams qualified on second place in the Sudamericana go up against third-placed teams in the Libertadores group stage, meaning it’s often a much tougher matchup in the knockout stage.

Defensa y Justicia also has four points in Group A, albeit it’s only enough to see it third. A tricky game at the altitude of Bolivia when it visits Always Ready on May 7 could be the turning point for Julio Vaccari’s side.

Belgrano leads a very tight Group C with five points. A win against third placed Delfín when it hosts the Venezuelan side on May 9 could make them favorites to make the cut.

Argentinos Juniors and Lanús have put themselves in the best possible position. The Bicho — leading Group F with six points — beat Brazilian giants Corinthians and a win when they visit Uruguay’s Racing de Montevideo on May 7 will leave them with the job nearly done. The Granate — undefeated leader of Group G — will get the job done if they beat Perú’s Deportivo Garcilaso on May 9.

Racing Club, the other of the Argentine Big Five clubs in the competition, won all three of its Group H commitments. They will secure a spot if they beat Bragantino on May 9.


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