This week the clausura season kicks off in Argentina and we take a look at some of the teams that will feature at the top and at the bottom of the table in 2012.. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support appears at the foot of the report.
Boca Juniors, from the capital Buenos Aires, won the apertura season convincingly and went unbeaten in that campaign. That form makes them favorites. But winning both half seasons is not an easy thing to do, indeed, not since Boca themselves in the 2005/06 season has a team managed back to back titles. Can they do it again? History suggests they won’t and pressure from fans to have a good cup run in the Copa may mean that they take their eye off the title battle. Velez Sarsfield will be a big threat to Boca’s hopes. They won the clausura title last year, showed they can fight on two fronts by going to the semi finals in the Copa Libertadores while managing to finish third in the apertura season. They will be there or there abouts. Racing, have former player and manager Basile back this season and may be able to build on a strong showing in the apertura. They also have the benefit of no Copa Libertadores to distract them. Play maker Giovanni Moreno should help the team from the south of Buenos Aires do well this season, as he’ll suit Basile’s attacking style.
Teams that are in with a shout should be Colon from Santa Fe and Lanús, but both teams lack consistency. And as an outside bet, how about Belgrano from Cordoba? This year the league will probably be named Crucero General Belgrano Primera División, after the battleship that was sunk by the British in the conflict over the Falkland Islands in 1982, 30 years ago. That ship was named after Manuel Belgrano, a general in the Argentine wars of independence, as is the team from Cordoba that managed a very respectable 4th place finish in the apertura season.
Relegation from the top division is complicated and based on performance over the last three years. The two teams with the lowest points average go down and the next two teams, 17th and 18th in the relegation table, take part in play-offs, called Promoción, with the 3rd and 4th placed teams from the second division. In big trouble at the moment are Tigre and Olimpo. While Olimpo look doomed, Tigre may just squeak into the play-offs and get a second chance at survival. Finally, if All Boys have another poor season, they could quite easily drop out of the top division, too.
While most eyes will be on the top division, many football fans in Argentina will be watching the form of River Plate, with Boca their massive rivals the most successful side in Argentina, who are fighting for promotion back to the Primera league after a surprise relegation last year.
form: a club’s form is its recent results: good form means the team has been winning, bad form indicates the team has been losing
take their eye off the title battle: not concentrate on winning the league; lose concentration
(be) there or there abouts: in this context, close to the top of the league; a possible winner of the league
(be) in with a shout: to have a chance
play offs: matches to decide which team will progress: in this case which team will be relegated or promoted
look doomed: will probably be relegated
squeak into: just get into; achieve something narrowly