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Kudelka on familiar territory as Argentine football returns

Kudelka on familiar territory as Argentine football returns

Talleres v Newell’s Old Boys
Copa Liga Profesional de Fútbol
30th October 2020
🏟️ Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes, Córdoba

The Argentine top flight is set to resume on Friday night (30th October) seven and a half months after the previous season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league has a new name, the Copa Liga Profesional de Fútbol, but the tournament that has been put in place by the Argentine Football Association (AFA) is not the regular league season of previous years.

Instead, a new cup competition which offers lucrative places in next season’s Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, will commence with matches taking place in empty stadiums, like the majority of professional leagues around the world.

The competition structure involves a first stage group format which eventually breaks into two separate groups of winners and losers, culminating in a semi-final and final round to decide the champions and which teams get the continental cup places.

Newell’s Old Boys have been drawn in Group 4 of 6, alongside current league title holders Boca Juniors.

The other teams in the group are Lanús and Talleres.

La Lepra have been pitched against manager Frank Kudelka’s old club Talleres in the opening match, which will take place at the Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes in Córdoba.

Kudelka, who spent four years at Talleres and brought them from the third division to the top division of Argentine football, should be generally happy with Newell’s’ pre-season programme. The rojinegros played a number of friendly matches throughout September and October and remained unbeaten, clocking up wins against the likes of Unión and River Plate.

The returning Ignacio Scocco impressed in those matches but a slight knock ruled him out of the most recent friendly against Colón. However, Kudelka named his team to face Talleres in a press conference on Wednesday and Scocco has recovered enough to lead the line on Friday night as he looks to add to his tally of 77 competitive goals for his hometown club.

Scocco is the only player that will start for Newell’s who wasn’t involved in the 2019/2020 campaign but new signing Manuel Guanini, who has taken Cristian Lema’s number 2 shirt, will start on the bench alongside a number of young players who impressed during the pre-season.

Mauro Formica is ruled out due to a long-term injury, new signing Manuel Capasso is also on the treatment table while Alexis Rodríguez is unavailable due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Talleres have lost a number of key players since they last faced Newell’s in November 2019. Their bright young star Nahuel Bustos has departed for Manchester City (who sent him immediately on loan to Girona) while defender Facundo Medina has signed for RC Lens in France.

While it’s frustrating for Newell’s fans not to be able to travel to see their team play due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, that didn’t stop a group of dedicated lepers from seeing the team off on Thursday as they hit the road.

Let’s hope that show of colour inspires the team to victory. Vamos Newell’s Carajo!

📺 Watch Talleres v Newell’s: Live on Fanatiz
⏰ Kick-off: 21.10 ARG | 00.10 UK

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