Godoy Cruz v Newell’s Old Boys
Copa Diego Armando Maradona
19th December 2020
🏟️ Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza
Newell’s Old Boys travel to Mendoza on Saturday evening looking for a third win in a row in the Copa Diego Maradona against struggling Godoy Cruz.
The last time ‘El Tomba’ tasted victory was against Newell’s Old Boys way back in March 2020 before football came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since action resumed in Argentina, it’s been a miserable run of form for Diego Martínez’s side with 5 losses and 2 draws from 7 games.
Newell’s Old Boys will be expected to follow up last Saturday’s 1-0 win against Estudiantes with another 3 points but manager Frank Kudelka knows that the team’s performance has to improve.
In truth, Newell’s were lucky to beat Estudiantes and it was the away side that dominated most of the game. Their lack of firepower (no goals since March) went in La Lepra‘s favour and while Godoy Cruz are not fond of the net either (3 goals in 7 games), they have scored in their last two outings (v River Plate and Central Córdoba).
In his regular Thursday press conference, Kudelka acknowledged that all focus is now on next year’s Copa Sudamericana campaign and that Newell’s were still going through the motions in a domestic tournament that offers little glory to the participant teams. The Newell’s head coach said that the current campaign is helping to diagnose the problems that they need to fix before next year.
There is no problem greater at the moment than the potential departure of Sebastián Palacios whose loan deal ends on 31 December. The forward has been our main source of goals in the Copa Diego Maradona, scoring 3 times in 7 games.
If the deal can’t be extended and ‘El Tucu’ returns to Independiente, Newell’s are down to the barebones in attack with injuries currently ruling out Ignacio Scocco and Francisco González, not to mention the recent departures of forwards Luis Leal and Lucas Albertengo.
Independiente reportedly want $2.5 million (USD) for a permanent transfer but Newell’s are ready to look at replacements if they stick to their guns with an asking price that does not fit within the realistic transfer budget at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa.
Godoy Cruz v Newell’s Team News
Newell’s were hit with a major blow mid-week when it was announced that 19-year-old Francisco González, who had recently broke into the Newell’s first-team, had torn knee ligaments while training with the Argentina U20 squad. He needs surgery and will be out for months.
His absence paves the way for the inclusion of 19-year-old Luciano Cingolani who has been scouted by Manchester United in the past. Cingolani is so well-rated by Newell’s that he has been handed the number 7 shirt before making his full debut.
Frank Kudelka confirmed that Fabricio Fontanini will replace the suspended Manuel Guanini at the back while Ignacio Scocco (collarbone) and Alan Aguerre (elbow) returned to training this week but are still weeks away from returning to first team action.
Nicolás Castro continues to be sidelined with complications from COVID-19.
For Godoy Cruz, former Newell’s midfielder Jalil Elías is expected to start. Elías has recently been linked with Serie A’s Parma and Newell’s would be due a sell-on fee if that deal comes to pass.
Diego Martínez is tipped to make one change from the team that drew with Central Córdoba and that’s Hugo Silva replacing Agustín Álvarez .
📺 Watch Godoy Cruz v Newell’s Old Boys on Saturday 19 December: Live on Fanatiz
⏰ Kick-off: 19.10 ARG | 22.10 UK