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SPORTS | 05-05-2018 02:14

Off-form Boca have chance to take a giant step toward securing Superliga title

Most sides have two matches left, but the suspension of Boca’s clash against Gimnasia last weekend due to torrential rain leaves the blue and yellows with an extra game to make up.

Boca Juniors, shaken by recent poor form, could nonetheless take a giant step toward finally securing the Superliga title this weekend.

The league leaders host Unión de Santa Fe at the Bombanera this Sunday in a 5.45pm kick-off, with just three of their season’s matches left to play.

Most sides have two matches left, but the suspension of Boca’s clash against Gimnasia last weekend due to torrential rain leaves the blue and yellows with an extra game to make up.

Currently, Boca sit pretty at the top of the table on 53 points, with Godoy Cruz – the season’s surprise performers – in second on 50 points. San Lorenzo lie third but their hopes of clinching the title are practically over, with Pope Francis’ favourites trailing on 47 points. A win for the Xeneize would ensure the team retain a margin of at least three points going into the next weekend’s fixtures. However, Boca’s vastly superior goal difference (+26 to Godoy Cruz’s +18) all but gives them an extra point.

Indeed, the pressure will weigh most heavily on Godoy Cruz, who play Argentinos Juniors on Saturday in a 1.15pm kick off. Win and the Mendozan side will put Boca under considerable strain, needing to find a positive result. Lose or draw and the Tomba will hand Boca the chance to win the title with a win over Unión, a fact that is by no means certain if recent performances are to be taken into account.

Boca, who started their league campaign in sensational form and have held the top spot for most of the season, have seen a drop-off in performances of late. In the team’s last seven league matches, the Xeneize have recorded three wins, one draw and three defeats. Injuries to some of the side’s key players have not helped, neither has poor form from some of its big names. Wilmar Barrios and Edwin Cardona have been sorely missed, while Carlos Tevez, Pablo Pérez and Agustín Rossi have been strongly criticised for some of their performances.

This state of affairs means Boca faces a crucial next two weeks, with two aims for the club: first, secure the league title, and second, progress to the knock-outs of the Libertadores.

In midweek they faced a crucial clash in the Copa Libertadores against Colombian side Atlético Junior. Luis Carlos Ruiz struck at both ends of the pitch, with Boca striker Carlos Tevez missing a sitter.

However, the 1-1 final result casts a shadow over Boca’s hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals, with the team’s fate no longer in their own hands.

After Wednesday’s round of games Brazilian team Palmeiras – who have already qualified for the quarter-finals – lead Group H with 10 points. They are followed by Junior with seven points, Boca with six and Alianza Lima with one. In the final round of Libertadores matches, to be played on May 16, Boca will take on the Peruvian side, while Palmeiras face Junior.

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