Newell’s (8th) v Godoy Cruz (24th)
8th March 2020
🏟️ Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, Rosario
The last Superliga fixture of the current campaign for Newell’s Old Boys seems a prospect that should be easily overcome. While La Lepra sit in 8th position in the table, they could finish as high as 4th with a win on Sunday night, although that will depend on other results. One thing is sure, three points here would mean we finish ahead of rivals Rosario Central who lost to third-placed Argentinos Juniors on Friday night.
Unbeaten in eight games, Frank Kudelka will be hoping to extend that record considering he can count on two important players returning from injury for this particular game. Angelo Gabrielli, who picked up a hamstring injury in last month’s match against Estudiantes, is fit again and has recovered well from a problem which looked more serious than it now suggests. More significant than Gabrielli’s return though, is the potential return of Jerónimo Cacciabue. The talented 22-year-old last played a senior game for Newell’s in September 2019 and is now available again after a long period of recovery which has included many games for the Newell’s Reserves Team over the last few weeks. Cacciabue’s return is a huge boost to Frank Kudelka due to the injury sustained by the influential Pablo Pérez in last week’s draw with Racing. Pérez, so effective since his return to Newell’s, is looking at three weeks on the sidelines at least. This leaves Cacciabue with the perfect chance to show La Lepra fans what they have been missing, if Kudelka decides to pick him over Denis Rodríguez, another option in centre midfield.
Although this is the last game of the regular Superliga season, Frank Kudelka will have one eye on the Copa Superliga which starts for Newell’s with a trip to Santiago del Estero next weekend to face Central Córdoba. That tournament, which runs between March and the end of May, will be the ultimate decider for relegation from this year’s Superliga and it will also confirm what teams have qualified for the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. Yellow cards will carry into the Copa Superliga and with both Julián Fernández and Luis Leal one caution away from receiving a ban, Kudelka will be calling for discipline to be maintained against Godoy Cruz.
There’s no dressing up the performance of our opponents this season and only a strong Promedios score has made them unlikely to be relegated come June. Although they have won five games, they have lost every other game with no draws whatsoever. Newell’s must be aware though that two of those wins have come in the last month. In fact, they come to Rosario straight from an unlikely away victory at Vélez Sarsfield, who have had a strong campaign under former Newell’s man Gabriel Heinze. It’s the amount of goals that Godoy Cruz have conceded that really makes them stand out. They’ve picked the ball out of the net 46 times. That’s nine more goals conceded than the team with the second worst record in the league Colón, who Newell’s thrashed by four goals just two weeks ago. Players like the in-form Sebastián Palacios and our top scorer Maxi Rodríguez will be licking their lips at the idea of coming up against this Godoy Cruz defence, but as Gimnasia highlighted when they came to Rosario back in October and won 0-4, you can’t always write off the whipping boys.
With the eyes of Argentina on Saturday night’s title-deciding matches involving Boca Juniors and River Plate, the dust may have settled enough by Sunday night for fans to enjoy a few goals at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa in Rosario. Let’s hope those goals are scored by the boys in red and black and our 2020 unbeaten record remains intact.
📺 Watch Newell’s v Godoy Cruz: Live on Fanatiz
⏰ Kick-off: 21.45 ARG | 00.45 UK