Rosario Central offers hope to provincial clubs, more South American news

(Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images) /

After just two matchdays, Rosario Central is the only club still perfect in the Superliga Argentina. Here is the soccer news of the week from South America.

As still-young seasons begin to come into focus in some South American countries, other leagues in South America are either approaching or beyond the midpoint of their calendars. Add on top of that the ongoing Copa Libertadores, about to play the second leg of the Round of 16 next week, and it makes for a fascinating hodgepodge of soccer action. Let’s dive in to look closer at a few of the big stories that are coming up this weekend in South America.

Rosario Central alone atop Superliga Argentina

After Boca Juniors collapsed 2-0 against Estudiantes, Vélez Sarsfield stumbled against Racing Club, and Unión drew 1-1 with San Martín Tucumán, that left just one undefeated and untied team left standing in Argentina. After just two matchdays, Rosario Central is the only club that earned the full six points available.

The provincial club sits about three to four hours northwest of Buenos Aires along the Paraná River. Rosario Central last won the Argentine title in 1986-1987, finishing one point ahead of crosstown rival Newell’s Old Boys. Since then they have come close to winning the league, most recently in 2015 when Central finished third.

It would be foolhardy to read too much into a two-point advantage just two matches into a long season. At this point, Edgardo Bauza’s squad is playing with house money. After finishing 20th a year ago, Central will try to stay ahead of the big clubs from the capital city as long as possible.

For the moment, Rosario Central is the best club in Argentina.The Superliga leaders host San Martín Tucumán at El Gigante de Arroyito on Sunday, needing at least a point to stay among the leaders.

Four clubs currently sit two points behind Rosario Central with four points. Racing Club faces Patronato, which currently sits 24th out of 26 clubs in the Superliga, on Friday evening in Avellaneda. San Martín takes on 14th-place Tigre on Saturday. Godoy Cruz gets 25th-place Newell’s Old Boys and Unión hosts 12th-place San Lorenzo on Monday. Only with a Central loss can any of these four overtake the top spot in the table.

Internacional and Palmeiras headline Brazilian Série A action

A clash of top-five clubs is set to take place in Porto Alegre on Sunday as second-place Internacional hosts fifth-place Palmeiras at the Estádio Beira-Rio. Last week, Internacional leapfrogged over Flamengo to climb within a point of São Paulo in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A table.

São Paulo has the advantage of playing 19th-place Ceará, which sits deep in the relegation zone. Even with a win over the league leaders, Ceará would need Sport Recife, Atlético Paranaense, and Vitória all to lose to jump out of the relegation zone. More likely is the fact that São Paulo will continue to lead the league after the 21st matchday.

Thus the duel between Internacional and Palmeiras will help sort out things a bit at the top of the table, though. If Internacional wins, they keep pace with São Paulo. If Grêmio draws or loses against Atlético Paranaense — the club that toppled Flamengo 3-0 last weekend — a Palmeiras win would pull the club up into fourth place and a guaranteed spot in the Copa Liberadores group stage.

Then there is Flamengo. Still seething after that collapse against Atlético Paranaense, the Rio de Janeiro club will try to rebound against 10th-place América at the Maracanã on Sunday.

Nacional tries to stay perfect in Uruguay Primera División

Through the first five matchdays in Uruguay, Nacional was the only club to come out the other side with a perfect 15 points out of 15 possible. The Montevideo side could have its toughest test to date this weekend, though, as they try to make it 18 out of a possible 18.

That is because fifth-place Defensor Sporting comes to the Gran Parque Central on Sunday for a local derby. Defensor Sporting currently sits fifth on eight points, leading Wanderers on goal differential. Only Nacional’s 11 goals top the 10 put up by Defensor Sporting after five matches the season.

This could prove a high-scoring affair at one of the stadiums utilized during the inaugural World Cup in 1930. Nacional has a better defense and will be favored at home, but Defensor Sporting could vault as high as third in the league with an upset over the front-runners.

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All in all, it will be another strong weekend filled with soccer from around the continent. Be sure to tune in on Monday as we wrap up the action from around South America.