Nine days, seven teams and a common dream: to get a place in the next Professional Football League. The Primera Nacional, which has already established Sarmiento de Junín as champion, enters the final segment of its season: on Sunday the three crosses corresponding to the third round of the Reduced will be played, which will define the other team that will ascend to the highest category.
The string of matches, the wear and tear, aggravated by the oppressive temperature during a month in which football is usually on hiatus, and the characteristics of this Reduced, which faces teams in playoffs to a single match, on a neutral field and without advantage for the best positioned during the season, they form a combo that prevents us from thinking about clear favorites.
The main surprise of this mini-tournament is Quilmes, who arrived from the Revalidation Zone and eliminated Agropecuario de Carlos Casares and Defensores de Belgrano in just 72 hours thanks to a couple of goals from Mariano Pavone. Facundo Sava’s team will open the day on Sunday: they will face Atlético de Rafaela at Coloso Marcelo Bielsa de Rosario at 18.20 (directed by Darío Herrera). A detail that can be influential at this point: of all the teams participating in this instance, the Brewer It will be the one that will have a shorter break since its last presentation (only 67 hours) and will also have to travel.
Unlike its rival, the Santa Fe team will arrive at this stage without activity in the last two weeks, an advantage that it obtained by having finished second in its group in the Championship Zone, just one point behind Sarmiento. Those led by Walter Otta seemed set to stay with the first place in the area, but they failed in their last two games and now they must play their last chance in this Reduced.
Two teams with very similar routes will be measured in the second shift on Sunday: Atlanta and Estudiantes de Caseros will collide from 20.25 at the José Dellagiovanna stadium in Tigre (the referee will be Andrés Merlos).
He Bohemian it took an agonizing goal from Julián Marcioni and the hands of his goalkeeper Francisco Rago in the penalty shootout to put San Martín de Tucumán on the road in the first round. On Thursday, with much less suffering, he beat Ferro 2-1. Those led by Mauricio Giganti also had to reach penalties to eliminate Barracas Central and then dispatched San Martín de San Juan 3 to 1.
These two teams, which until last season played in the Primera B Metropolitana and today are so close to Primera, met a little more than a month ago for the fourth date of the Championship Zone: they equaled 3 to 3 in a great game played in Homemade.
Precisely the Ciudad de Caseros stadium will be the headquarters of the crossing that will close this third round: in the incomprehensible time of 22.25, Platense will face another of the surprises of the Reduced, Deportivo Riestra (directed by Fernando Echenique).
Like Atlético de Rafaela, those led by Juan Manuel Llop come from a two-week break and great frustration, since they stayed at the gates of qualifying for the final for the first promotion: they tied for first place in their group with Estudiantes de Río Cuarto, but the Cordobans advanced on goal difference thanks to a striking win in the last minutes of their match against Agropecuario.
He Squid, which seeks to return to the First Division after almost 22 years, will face the youngest club still in the race (it was founded in 1931) and the only one that has never played in the top flight. Riestra comes from eliminating Temperley and Deportivo Morón, in both cases with victories 1 to 0.
In the event of a tie in the 90 minutes, the matches will be defined with shots from the penalty spot. The winners of these three crosses will advance to the semifinals, an instance for which Estudiantes de Río Cuarto has already qualified and which will take place on Wednesday. The winners will meet in the final on Sunday, January 31.