Had Racing Club inflicted a fifth home defeat in six matches upon San Lorenzo on 25 September, they would have ended the month just two points behind Apertura leaders Boca Juniors. Instead, the Avellaneda outfit finished up goalless in Boedo, before draws in all four of their October outings allowed Boca to carry a seemingly insurmountable ten-point lead into November and Round 14 of 19.
However, with a warrior like Diego Simeone, whose never-say-die attitude was a symbol of his playing career, at their reins, Racing were not going to throw in the towel. And, after shaving two points off Los Xeneizes’ cushion on the previous matchday, they can cut the gap to five points by beating Boca at the Bombonera on Sunday.
“We will go for it, we will attack,” said Racing defensive midfielder and captain Claudio Yacob. “A draw would leave us almost out of it mathematically, but three points would really open things up.
“This match would be really appealing to any player. It’s a privilege to be playing in it. Boca have been the best side this season. We have to be smart, to impose our own game and to control it in midfield, which is where I think we can take it.”
Simeone concurred with Yacob, who has followed in his footsteps in the Argentina engine room. Asked whether a draw would hand the title to their opponents, the Racing coach responded: “For sure,” before complimenting the work of his Boca counterpart Julio Cesar Falcioni.
“Julio has done a great job. They have grown since last term. You can see that through their results. But this is a very important game for Racing. We are focused on the game and very determined.”
Simone replaced Miguel Angel Russo at the Academia controls in June. The 41-year-old, who guided Estudiantes to the Apertura 2006 crown and River Plate to glory in the Clausura 2008, added: “It’s been a long time since I was involved in the [title] fight.”
Simeone is expected to make to changes to the side that beat Argentinos Juniors 1-0 last time out, given that defender Matias Cahais has recovered from injury and holding midfielder Agustin Pelletieri is back from suspension.