Argentina Apertura Preview: One point will clinch the title for Boca against Falcioni's old boys

Banfield clinched the 2009 Apertura with the current Xeneixe man at the helm, and now will try to ruin the party for their old coach in the Bombonera

Argentina Apertura Preview:

Round 17



Saturday DECEEMBER 3
Estudiantes - All Boys 1700 Lanus - Olimpo 1700
Argentinos Jrs. - Arsenal de Sarandi 2115
 Colon - Racing Club 1910
Rafaela - Velez Sarsfield 2110
San Martin (SJ) - Union 2115
 Sunday NOVEMBER 4

Independiente - Newell's Old Boys
1700 San Lorenzo - Tigre TBC
Belgrano - Godoy Cruz 1810  

Boca Juniors - Banfield 1910
 All kick-offs in CET -4



Julio Cesar Falcioni has already done one lap of honour at the Bombonera, and as the Boca coach prepares to meet his old team, there would be few to bet against another one on Sunday evening.

JC was in charge of Banfield when they won an historic first championship in the 2009 Apertura (right), a defeat against the Xeneixe away from home ultimately not hurting their chances. Now at the helm of that day's opponents, just one point will be enough for a second title in the coach's cabinet.

The game takes place in a frenzied atmosphere in La Boca, with fiercely contested presidential elections scheduled for the very same day and security authorities wary of clashes influenced by the club's labyrinthine politics. On the field, however, and nine points ahead with just three games to go, the team will be united to deliver the club's first title since 2008.


Buoyed by an excellent comeback victory against Arsenal last week, Estudiantes will look to start climbing the table starting with a home win against All Boys on Friday night. The game will also be Juan Sebastian Veron's penultimate clash in front of his own fans, and the retiring Pincha idol will be key if his club are to give him a glowing send-off. Argentinos Juniors host Arsenal de Sarandi in the night's late kick-off.


The biggest news on Saturday is who may not be playing. San Lorenzo and Tigre still do not have a date set for their weekend fixture in Bajo Flores, due to security concerns over the Boca elections/ celebrations and the potential for violence. The pair should find out on Friday when they play, particularly pertinent for Tigre as anything other than a win would guarantee the title going to the Xeneixe.

Out of the games that actually will take place, relegation candidates Olimpo face a tough visit to Lanus as they wallow in a run of six winless games. Colon host a Racing Club side that has been hit by off-field turmoil and on-field mediocrity in recent weeks, while Rafaela welcome Velez Sarsfield to Santa Fe and Primera newcomers San Martin de San Juan and Union lock horns. Both sides are involved in the fight to remain in the top division, making this an early six-pointer.


Ramon Diaz believed that Independiente are on the comeback trail after a 3-0 demolition of Olimpo, and their goal-less draw with Union leaves the Rojo just five points off the Libertadores places. Three more against troubled Newell's Old Boys would be another big step for the 2010 Copa Sudamericana champions.

Godoy Cruz currently occupy that last Copa spot, but the Mendocinos have seen a big lead erode thanks to inconsistent form in the Apertura. Godoy travel to Cordoba to meet Belgrano, who are flying high after their 3-2 victory over Racing claimed the club's fourth grande scalp, after River, San Lorenzo and Independiente, of 2011.