A small victory

At the end of a long, hard, terrible season, Racing Club can finally be sure of one thing that is, at least slightly, positive. A Facundo Sava goal ten minutes before the break gave them a 1-0 victory over Huracán in El Cilindro, and with it the certainty that they won’t be in the direct relegation zone after their one remaining match in two weeks. Their second win of the Clausura came the day after Gimnasia de Jujuy could only draw, 2-2, away to Newell’s, and draws them level on points with Colón, who play Estudiantes on Sunday – and Racing themselves on the last weekend.

Racing fans, then, are hoping for an Estudiantes win on Sunday (a result which would also guarantee the title race going to the final day) which would bring the points-per-game average to exactly the same between the two sides, and turn the final round match in Santa Fé into a winner-takes-all battle: one to achieve complete safety, the other to go into the relegation playoffs.

The win came thanks to Sava’s finish in the 35th minute, the striker pouncing on a defensive error and tucking the ball away like the seasoned finisher Racing’s fans have been wishing he actually was all season long. Of course, there was no little agony in the wait for the final whistle as the minutes of the second half ticked slowly down, with sendings off for Gabriel Mercado for the hosts and Federico Nieto for Huracán, but this score, combined with Friday’s night’s draw in Rosario – Paraguayan forward Santiago Salcedo scoring twice, one a stunner, to twice peg Gimnasia de Jujuy back in Parque de la Independencia – means Racing can’t now finish in the bottom two of the Promedio. Dropped points for Colón tomorrow would mean a Racing win in Santa Fé on the last day would give them an escape from relegation worries altogether. But for now, La Academia are simply celebrating what they’ve achieved thus far.

6 thoughts on “A small victory

  1. Your scenario for the last week of the season is correct but if Olimpo gets 4 of the last 6 points and Racing beat Colón in Santa Fé, then both, Racing and Colón will play the promoción (as Andrew points out in his latest comment).

    Now, if River win tomorrow, then a win will be enough for Racing to pull out a Houdini-like escape!

  2. Yes, Seba I think that the interesting aspect of this relegation fight is that all three teams (Olimpo, Racing and Colon) control their own destinies.

    I find it interesting that the title race could have a big impact on the relegation fight as well. If River beat Colon and Olimpo are able to get some kind of result against Estudiantes, then River are champions and Estudiantes go into their last match with nothing to play for. Of course their opponent for this match is Olimpo. And with the qualifiers in between you would expect there would be no Brujita for that game.

    Its certainly heating up…

  3. A small correction to my above scenario. If River beat OLIMPO, and Colon can get a draw with Estudiantes, then River are champions and the rest of the statement is true.

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that there is a possibility that Olimpo will be able to actually pick up some points from their last two games which means that the Colon/Racing matchup takes on even greater importance. Of course, if Colon bottle it against Estudiantes tomorrow then everyone is basically even going into the last week.

  4. I watched on one of the streams and missed the goal! It froze on 33 minutes, came back on 36 with Gullotta on the ball and the commentator saying Sava’s last goal had been against Rosario Central – I looked up at the score clock to see the wonderful legend: RAC 1 HUR 0!
    I saw the goal at half time, and it was a good finish.
    The second half was a nightmare, at times I felt physically sick! And this is for a team I adopted fifteen years ago cause I liked the colours and their striker looked cool (Turco Garcia)… I can’t imagine what it must have been like for lifelong fans who’ve grown up with the club and gone to every game.
    Why did they suddenly play like they felt they could win? Matias Sanchez was fantastic, it was the best game I’ve ever seen from him. I just wish we had better strikers than Sava and Navia. There’s no denying Navia worked hard and played to the best of his ability… it’s just that his ability is not very great! In the closing stages of the second half, when Racing needed the strikers to take the pressure of the back eight, Navia constantly lost the ball and let Huracan come back with it. And he can’t react quick enough to half chances in the area.
    What was with that sending-off? Nieto seemed to pull Sosa’s hair, then Sosa did the same, then Mercado was sent off. I didn’t really see what Mecado did, it was very confusing seeing on the stream, but the commentator seemed to think it was a mistake? If the ref meant to send off Sosa, would Racing appeal to try and get Mercado back for Colon? Or would they rather leave it as it is and retain Sosa’s potential free-kick power? (though that free kick that Sava seemed to steal from him wasn’t looking too well rehearsed).
    Well, I always felt Racing would win this one and take it to the last game. Here’s hoping the title challengers take theirs to the last game by both winning tomorrow!

  5. I’ve got a lot of faith in both title contenders as they play at home against struggling opposition. It’s not like they play against teams with nothing to play for (hence those teams play more relaxed and can get a result playing without pressures).

    I need Estudiantes to win tomorrow for both reasons (to keep Colón levelled on points with Racing and to get to the last week of the season with all to play for!).

    If Olimpo lose tomorrow, it’ll be great for Racing to get to Santa Fé to play the last round with two results that could keep them up (a win and a draw). The win could make them avoid the promoción and stay up safely. The draw could mean that Racing would get the chance to play a tie-breaker mano a mano with Colón to decide which team go to the promoción and which one will stay up.

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts again, Matthew!

    I don’t think the red card will be changed. I think Mercado will be missed big time against Colón.

    To me, that second half was a complete torture. Racing always manage to complicate their own lives. Llop’s substitution (Menghi in for JL Fernandez) with only 4 minutes gone in the second half sent a clear message to his own players, to Huracán and to every fan. It was like he was stating: “I’m going to sit back very very deep and invite Huracán to attack us until they score”.

    That message really got to me and many of my friends. We were lucky this time, but I think Llop should change that approach that saw us losing so many points this season and suffering 7 comebacks by our rivals (Banfield, Rosario Central, Velez, Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, Boca and Estudiantes).

    I’m gonna sleep like a baby tonight, knowing that we won’t get relegated automatically and that we’ll have more chances to escape.

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