River Plate vs Defensa y Justicia
Competition: Argentina Superliga
Date: 20 January 2019
Kick-off: 00:00 CET
River Plate finished 2018 sitting no higher than 11th in the Superliga table, but unlike almost all other teams that have played 14 or 15 matches, they have played just 11. They are 17 whole points behind leaders Racing Club, in other words, even if they win all four games “missing” they’ll still be trailing by five points (and, I repeat, that’s the best case scenario, that they win all four games they have in hand). Finishing in a Copa Libertadores position is a much more realistic target than winning the championship in April. After their last Superliga match, on December 2, they won the Copa Libertadores beating Boca Juniors 3-1 in Madrid. Soon after that, they failed in the Club World Cup, losing to Al Ain on penalties, in the semifinal. They signed 22-year-old Paraguayan center-back Robert Rojas from Guaraní. On the other hand, winger Gonzalo Martínez was transferred to Atlanta United, striker Rodrigo Mora quit football (tired of his injuries), and defender Joni Maidana moved to Toluca, Mexico. Attacking midfielder Tomás Andrade returned from Atlético Mineiro, where he spent some time on loan, but got loaned out again, right away, to Athletico Paranaense (we have to get used to calling them like that, after changing their name – from “Atlético”). Also, goalkeeper Augusto Batalla returned from Tigre, where he played on loan, but he already signed at Unión La Calera, Chile.
As written here several times the last few months of 2018, Defensa y Justicia played some of the best football in Argentina in the first – sort of – half of the season. They are second in the table, six points behind leaders Racing Club, with a game in hand, this one at Monumental. They are the only team left undefeated in the Superliga, having won eight games, and drawn in six. Central midfielder Alexis Castro joined from San Lorenzo, Uruguayan midfielder Ignacio González Brazeiro was signed from Danubio, another midfielder José Luis Fernández was signed as a free agent (he last played at Rosario Central), center-forward Fernando Márquez returned to Varela after six months in Malaysia, and right-back Maximiliano Caire joined from Tigre. On the other hand, right-back Nahuel Molina returned to Boca (he was playing at Defensa on loan), Eugenio Isnaldo and Marcelo Larrondo moved to Unión La Calera, Chile, Christian Almeida signed at Belgrano, and winger Fabián Bordagaray moved to Dorados de Sinaloa, Mexico.
Previous five matches:
Kashima Antlers vs River Plate 0-4
River Plate vs Al Ain 2-2
River Plate vs Boca Juniors 3-1
River Plate vs Gimnasia La Plata 3-1
River Plate vs Gimnasia La Plata 2-2
Defensa y Justicia vs Colon 3-0
Huracan vs Defensa y Justicia 1-1
Defensa y Justicia vs Tigre 2-1
Defensa y Justicia vs Estudiantes 1-1
Newell’s Old Boys vs Defensa y Justicia 0-0
River’s next game is on Wednesday, again at home, versus Unión Santa Fe. Defensa will be hosting San Lorenzo on Friday (both Superliga matches).
River Plate vs Defensa y Justicia: Head to head Stats
River haven’t hosted Defensa since 2014; that game ended in a 3-0 River win. Three years earlier, in a second division match, these two had drawn 1-1 at Monumental.
River Plate vs Defensa y Justicia: Prediction
River are considered clear favorites to win the game, but I have serious doubts.
River Plate vs Defensa y Justicia: Betting Tips
Defensa’s double chance is at 1.97. My main tip, is “under 2.5 goals”, at 1.70 (these are two of the three best teams in the league, defensively). For more than both, Defensa’s double chance combined with “under 2.5 goals” is at 2.88. Even combined with “under 3.5 goals” it pays a decent 2.40.