Copa Argentina, coveted title for teams aspiring to Libertadores tourney
Buenos Aires : After the latest Argentine football season, when five teams qualified for the Copa Libertadores, several important clubs are aspiring to win the Copa Argentina so that they won't remain on the sidelines for the biggest tourney in South America in 2019.
Boca Juniors (the champions in the Superliga (2017/18), Godoy Cruz (runner-up), San Lorenzo (which came third), Huracan (fourth) and Talleres de Cordoba (fifth) are the only teams with a guaranteed berth in the Libertadores contest, reports Efe.
To this select group, Argentina may add the champion of the Copa Argentina, and they may also include the champions of the current Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana.
En route to the Copa Argentina, the following first division teams were eliminated: Racing Club, Velez Sarsfield, Belgrano de Cordoba, Banfield, San Martin de San Juan, Aldosivi, Huracan, Godoy Cruz, Tigre and Patronato de Parana.
In fact, for River Plate (two-time Libertadores champions), Independiente and San Lorenzo this is the most direct route to participating in the next Libertadores, which next year will provide considerably enhanced purses.
The "millionaire" squad headed by Marcelo Gallardo has already advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to wins over Central Norte de Salta (7-0) and Villa Dalmine (3-1), and they are waiting to find out who they will play for the outcome next Thursday of the Platense-General Lamadrid match.
The other teams who have made it to the quarterfinals are Gimnasia and Esgrima La Plata (who beat Olimpo 1-0), Atletico Tucuman (after its 2-0 win over Huracan) and Central Cordoba de Santiago del Estero (who surprised Tigres in their match, prevailing by 2-0).
There are five teams that still have another shot to make it into the quarterfinals, and one of them will need to win the current contest to guarantee themselves a place in the 2019 tourney.
River Plate and Racing Club will go up against one another, Estudiantes will face off against Gremio de Porto Alegre, Independiente will battle Santos and Atletico Tucuman will play Atletico Nacional de Medellin.
Meanwhile, there are four others who could secure a Libertadores berth by winning the Copa Sudamericana: Colon, San Lorenzo, Banfield and Defense y Justicia.