Almagro take on the visitors Boca Juniors in the 1/8-finals of Copa Argentina. The match will be played on Sunday, September 10th at Estadio Carlos Augusto Mercado Luna (La Rioja).
Almagro competes in the Primera Nacional, and the team is struggling near the bottom of the table. They are only 5 points clear of the relegation zone (Play-Off) and 7 points away from the last place that guarantees relegation. With 6 games remaining, it's unlikely that the team places much importance on this cup competition. It would be more logical for them to focus on the league to avoid relegation. In the previous round, Almagro narrowly advanced against Union Santa Fe after extra time, winning 2-1 on neutral ground. They then faced Excursionistas, a team from a lower division (Primera C), and comfortably won 4-1 on neutral ground, highlighting their class advantage. Almagro are not a renowned club and is fighting for survival.
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Boca Juniors are the clear favorite in this game, which is logical considering their powerful squad. Many of their players have experience in Europe or are well-established in South American football, including Benedetto, Cavani, Saracchi, Rojo, and more. They have reached the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores, where their next opponent is Palmeiras, so they need to focus on that competition as well. It's worth noting that Boca Juniors primarily rotates their squad in the Maradona Cup because it's not of significant interest to them, while they prioritize the National Cup and the Copa Libertadores since the league season has concluded. There is some rotation, but it is minimal. Players like Benedetto, Frank Fabra, Luis Andwinkler, Sergio Romero (V), Miguel Merentiel, and others regularly feature in the National Cup.
There can be a lot of talk about rotation and strategies, but as we can see, the rotation primarily occurs in the Maradona Cup. The first game of the Copa Libertadores is still some distance away, scheduled for the 29th of this month. Therefore, in this game, I do not expect significant rotation from the team, and I believe the starting lineup will be fielded. The difference in class between the two teams is colossal, making the clear favorite evident in this match. It's also worth noting that Almagro will be hosting one of the strongest clubs in the country on neutral ground, meaning their fans won't be able to provide support, which further favors the stronger team where class will play a more significant role. Additionally, Almagro's battle for survival will also impact their performance.”
Prediction for the match: Boca Juniors to win.