Can River Plate Steal The Primera Division Title From Racing Club?


For American sports fans, the idea of the European football season makes no sense. First off, games regularly end in ties, standings are based on a point system and strangest of all, there is no playoff. Not to mention the different competitions that are taking place simultaneously.

As we all learned last year, former American football coach Ted Lasso had a very difficult time getting all this figured out.

But once you get figured out, it really is not very complicated at all and actually makes perfect sense.

Which brings me to the Primera Division de Argentina. Now that you have European football figured out, try and get your mind wrapped around how they do it in this South American country.

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  • At the base you have 20 teams in the top division and the tier system similar to the rest of the world. There is a top flight and lower levels where relegation and promotion occurs between the divisions. Also similar to Europe, every team plays every other team in a round robin style.

    But this is where the similarities end.

    Instead of having a 38 match season, they have broken it down into two separate seasons. The Torneo Inicial is played from August – December, while the Torneo Final is played from February to June. The winner of the two competitions then face off against each other in what is now called the Copa Campeonato (formerly known as Superfinal) to determine the overall champion.

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    Ok, so does that make sense? Now throw all that out the window because it’s all changing.

    The second division, known as Primera B Nacional has been separated into two 11 team divisions. Each team will play one another twice and at the end of the season, the top 5 teams from each zone will be promoted to the Primera Division creating a 30 team league. This new super league will have only one champion crowned each season.

    But we can worry about this 30 team league next year. Let’s focus on what is happening right now.

    The majority of clubs have played all 19 of their matches for the Torneo Inicial, but the two teams which will determine the champion both have one final match remaining.

    Photo Courtesy of Twitter @RacingClub

    River Plate, who looked like the clear champion through the first 13 matches of the campaign, has hit a rough patch with only one win in their last five. This slide has given way for Racing Club to take over the top spot. Racing has not lost in their previous eight matches and has won five in a row.

    The two clubs, both from Bueno Aires, sit atop the table with Racing on 38 points and Los Millionarios (River) with 36 points.

    Both teams are in action this Sunday to determine the winner of the Torneo Inicial. River travels to take on the bottom dwellers of the league, Quilmes, while Racing remain at home to face a club from Mendoza, Godoy Cruz, who sit in 15th in the table.

    If River hopes to overtake Racing and win their 37th Primera Division title, they will need to defeat Quilmes and hope Racing either losses or draws. The latter scenario would put the two team’s level on points but River Plate would jump ahead into first based on goal difference.

    All Racing must do is win to secure their 17h league title. This would be an incredible accomplishment considering they finished in 19th in the last Torneo Inicial and 18th during the Torneo Final.

    Will Racing trip up in the final match answering the prayers of River Plate fans, or will they continue their incredible form and secure the first title for La Academia since 2001?

    It should be a day filled with plenty of drama and great futbol. What more could a sport’s fan ask for going into the final matches of the season?