Lanús (3rd) v Newell’s Old Boys (7th)
16th February 2020
🏟️ La Fortaleza, Buenos Aires
Pablo Pérez’s return to Newell’s was timely. The long-term injury of Jéronimo Cacciabue means there’s already a hole in the middle of the park which hotly tipped Aníbal Moreno has exploited, albeit in a deeper position than he’s used to playing for Argentina u20s. He’ll now get the chance to play in a more advanced number 10 role against Lanús, a role usually filled by the dependable Mauro Formica. Formica limped off after 23 minutes against Estudiantes last weekend and will miss this weekend’s trip to Buenos Aires, with his friend Pérez set to be the beneficiary of his injury.
On that occasion, Formica was replaced by Braian Rivero but on Friday, Kudelka made it pretty clear who would be preferred in the Newell’s midfield on Sunday:
“Pablo will play on Sunday. We’re talking about an experienced player here.”Frank Kudelka
Another player about to be restored to the Newell’s line-up is young wing-back Facundo Nadalín. Nadalín has been kept out of the side since November by the Uruguayan Angelo Gabrielli who has provided 2 goals and 3 assists in his first full season with La Lepra. Nadalín is an academy product who has shown sparks of promise since debuting in the rojinegro and was rewarded for his strong early season performances with a call-up to Fernando Batista’s Argentina u23 squad. Since then, he’s hardly featured for Newell’s due to the impressive form of Gabrielli but with Gabrielli suffering a torn hamstring against Estudiantes (and having to see out the match carrying the injury due to Frank Kudelka already having made three substitutions), Nadalín will get a run of games that could see him reclaiming the right full-back position.
New signing Sebastian Palacios might be granted his first start in a Newell’s shirt following a number of substandard performances by Lucas Albertengo, who also picked up a knock in the last game. Palacios has been restricted to cameos off the bench so far but it seems like Kudelka will give him room to roam from the start in a side that is likely to feature three changes from the team that faced Estudiantes.
Our opponents on Sunday have injury problems of their own. From the three players who started in midfield for Lanús in the Copa Sudamericana meeting with Chile’s Universidad de Católica in midweek, just one is still in contention for Sunday’s visit of Newell’s. Central midfielder Facundo Quignon, who has played in every Superliga game this season, went off injured towards the end of the 3-0 victory while creative playmaker Marcelino Moreno is also facing weeks on the sideline. Both are said to have muscle tears.
The injuries to Quignon and Moreno triggers an interesting subplot. Just six weeks ago, Lanús swooped to sign veteran midfielder Fernando Belluschi from San Lorenzo, himself a former Newell’s star and winner of the 2004 Apertura title with La Lepra. Belluschi made his debut off the bench in midweek, but he’ll be looking to impress against his former employers in his full Superliga debut for El Granate. In attack, 39-year-old José ‘Pepe’ Sand is into his fourth decade of scoring goals and already has 7 of them this season. He’s supported by Lautaro Acosta, brilliant during the week against Universidad de Chile. He’ll be keen to show Newell’s that there is no hangover from the Copa Sudamericana.
Both teams have identical home records but Lanús will be looking to improve on that against a Newell’s side who have often struggled while on the road.
📺 Watch Lanús v Newell’s Old Boys: Live on Fanatiz
⏰ Kick-off: 17.40 ARG | 22.40 UK