Newell’s Old Boys v Boca Juniors
Copa Liga Profesional de Fútbol
8th November 2020
🏟️ Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, Rosario
A disappointing defeat in Córdoba to Talleres left Frank Kudelka’s Newell’s battered and bruised. Not only did La Lepra fall to a 3-1 loss but they were left with only 10-men thanks to the dismissal of centre-back Fabricio Fontanini.
With Fontanini suspended for Sunday night’s (8 November) clash with Boca Juniors, Frank Kudelka confirmed on Friday that Manuel Guanini, a recent acquisition from Gimnasia, would be the man to take Fontanini’s place at the heart of the defence.
This decision is undoubtedly a risk. Guanini looked shaky if not poor in his first pre-season games for Newell’s and there’s a fear among fans of La Lepra that he’s not up to standard.
Nevertheless, he’s a natural in the position and Kudelka explained in his pre-match press conference that other options were not viable. He claimed that Mateo Maccari, who is yet to make his league debut and only joined the senior squad recently, is too young to be thrown in at the deep end against Boca Juniors. He wasn’t asked about the possibility of dropping defensive midfielder Julián Fernández into central defence but it’s obviously another option that’s not on the cards.
Manuel Capasso, a CB signed to provide cover, would have been a candidate for the role but he is out injured, while Kudelka confirmed that although Mauro Formica is back training and feeling well, he’s still not ready for a starting position in the team.
The manager stopped short of naming the team, apart from Guanini’s baptism of fire, but widespread changes are not expected from the team that lost to Talleres. Francisco González may be in contention after providing an assist to Ignacio Scocco from the bench last time out, but that would probably come at the expense of the experienced Sebastián Palacios or captain Maxi Rodríguez which seems like a risk.
Boca, last year’s champions of Argentina, come to Newell’s off the back of a 1-2 hard-fought away win at Lanús last Sunday. They welcome back first choice goalkeeper Esteban Andrada from injury while Sebastián Villa, who was recently accused of domestic assault, will travel to Rosario.
Realistically, Newell’s need a point on Sunday night to have any hope of fighting for a place in the ‘Winners’ stage of the Copa LPF and considering the strength of the current Lanús side, even with a result against Boca, it’s not that straightforward.
Luckily, form has gone out the window when La Lepra have met Boca Juniors in recent times. There has been some famous wins for Newell’s in the fixture over the years and they haven’t lost to them since April 2018. Since then, there has been two 1-1 draws between the sides, with Maxi Rodríguez scoring a screamer on his return match against Boca at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa back in January 2019.
📺 Watch Newell’s v Boca on Sunday 8 November: Live on Fanatiz
⏰ Kick-off: 21.15 ARG | 00.15 UK