Coach Caruso Lombardi of Racing has an awful lot on his mind at present. With his team still not mathematically safe from a second relegation playoff in two years against a Primera B side many of his players have been struck down by the flu, reports speak of around twelve players in the sick-bay including Marcos Cáceres, Lucas Castromán and José Shaffer all of whom failed to train yesterday. Hope is high that many of these will recover sufficiently to make the trip upto the North West for Saturday's clash against already relegated Gimnasia Jujuy. It really wasn't supposed to be this way, Argentina's Promedio relegation system where average points per game are worked out using results from the preceding three seasons (both Apertura and Clasura) is supposed to protect the 'Big Five'. Surely none of these grand institutions could have 6 bad campaigns in a row? Perhaps the AFA didn't factor in the farce that has beset Racing Club over the last few years [see earlier posts]. A win against Gimnasia will be enough to steer them clear of the playoff this time round. As for the other teams in the mix San Martín de Tucumán are relegated bar divine intervention whilst any 2 from 4 could sink into the playoffs (Gimnasia de LA PLATA, Godoy Cruz, Rosario Central, Racing). I think this is correct but I don't have a degree in Statistics and the permutations are endless, so if this is blatantly wrong please feel free to put me right.
Lombardi is also not very happy with the schedule of this Saturday's games, with la Academia's kicking off 6.20pm whilst relegation playoff rivals Rosario Central's game at Tigre kicks off at 9.10pm. His thinking behind this is logical enough, Central will know what they have to do against Tigre. As we all know logic and formula go out of the window and TV executives are responsible for dictating the times of many games.
The final monkey on his back is ex-President and husband of current incumbent, Néstor Kirchner who being a Racing fan has been turning up at training in recent weeks for photo shoots with the players. He visited in the week preceding their victory against Boca Juniors (3-0), perhaps it was the promise of LCD TV's which inspired the team's win? Not wanting to miss a photo op Sr. Kirchner turned up earlier this week to deliver the aforementioned televisions.......but only four of them???? Surely he could have stretched to one each???
At the other end of the table things are getting almost as exciting as last December only with different teams. Huracán who are looking for their first title since 1973 take on Arsenal who were unlikely 4-1 winners last weekend against other title contenders Lanús. This Sunday top of the table Veléz are away at Lanús where a defeat for the home side will see the end to their championship hopes.