Argentina Apertura Round 11 Preview: Dominant Boca clash against the nemesis of River Plate

The Pirata took down River to send them to the Nacional B, and now face their bitter rivals Boca in a match that could prove vital to the destiny of the Apertura title
Round 11 Game of the Week:
Boca Juniors vs. Belgrano, Sunday 23:30 CET

The showpiece fixture of this 11th round throws up a truly intriguing encounter. The runaway leaders of the Apertura who appear unstoppable so far, and the underdogs who have made a habit of stopping the big-guns in their tracks.

After defeating River Plate in that infamous promocion clash, Cordoba institution Belgrano have been busy collecting the scalps of the Primera's marquee names. San Lorenzo were the next grande to fall to the aptly-named Pirata, followed by Independiente and then struggling Estudiantes. After a tough start, Ricardo Zielinski's pugnacious charges now find themselves in eighth place and another giant-killing in the Bombonera would put them within five points of Boca.

They are in for a tough task, however. The Xeneixe are unbeaten in 10 matches and opened up a five point cushion over closest chasers Rafaela in the last round, with Juan Roman Riquelme playing some of his best football in the past five years. A Belgrano win would not quite provoke the shock their victory over River induced, but it would go a long way to keeping the 2011 Apertura from becoming a foregone conclusion.

Prediction: Boca have to start favourites for this clash, as they continue to look impenetrable at the back while doing enough to keep harvesting points. It would take a brave soul to predict anything other than a Boca Juniors win in their own backyard.

Friday's Action

The weekend begins in earnest after two weeks off with three matches to savour. A relegation six-pointer gets us started; Tigre have been impressive so far this season, but an awful three-year average means that the sixth-placed side need to beat Olimpo to drag themselves out of the direct drop-zone.

Newell's Old Boys will then be seeking their second win of the season at home to Arsenal de Sarandi, before San Lorenzo try and put a week of off-field crisis and acrimony behind them by taking three points against Banfield.

Saturday's Action

A 1-0 win on Wednesday evening was not enough to keep Independiente in the Copa Sudamericana, as the holders crashed out to 2009 champions Liga de Quito. Ramon Diaz's team have just three days respite before facing Godoy Cruz, who face their own Sudamericana test midweek.

There is further action at the bottom of the pile when Union take on All Boys in Santa Fe, before Diego Simeone's Racing Club prepare for a must-win match. Unbeaten but six points off Boca, La Academia have to improve on last round's clasico draw away to San Martin (SJ) to keep up the pressure.

Sunday's Action

Sunday kicks off with what could be the defining fixture of Miguel Angel Russo's latest term at Estudiantes. Another defeat at home would probably spell the end for the coach, and the Pincha will not find it easy in La Plata against second-placed surprise package Rafaela.

Argentinos Juniors then host high-flying Colon, before a rerun of the Clausura's title race sees Velez Sarsfield take the short trip down to southern Buenos Aires and Lanus. Neither team is right in the mix in the current campaign, although Lanus could get their championship ambitions back on track if they can triumph in what will be a tensely-fought fixture.

Full Fixtures and Predictions
Round 11
predicted scores in





Fri 17:10






San Lorenzo








Godoy Cruz

Sat 14:00




All Boys


San Martin (SJ)









Sun 14:00






Boca Jrs.