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Torneo Final Big Match preview: Racing Club v Lanús

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Lanús are the early pacesetters of this campaign, and despite being in the championship mix last season, Racing now find themselves struggling and last week's derby defeat has heaped a whole load more pressure on the manager and players. What reception awaits them on their return home? Ed Malyon takes a look...

"Given Racing's performances this season, with two defeats to nil and only a win against rock-bottom Argentinos, it is hard to see how they can beat a side that is so in-form, and the away win seems to be the value pick."


Racing's horrendous display in last week's clásico de Avellaneda has made it an awkward old week for Luis Zubeldía, with his lack of apology for the side's performance becoming a sticking point with fans.

The lack of desire, quality or indeed anything above the ordinary from Racing was hugely disappointing to see and Independiente showed both desire and the slightest drop of ability to win with ease in the end. 

Considering how exciting and young Racing's side was in the Torneo Inicial this was most disappointing, but of the three or four starlets that started games towards the end of last season, only one started at Independiente and the immobile veterans around him simply weren't on Luciano Vietto's wavelength. 

With Ricardo Centurión initially leaving the club for Anzhi, and then suffering a long-term injury, Racing have been deprived of both their key attacking threat from out wide and the money to replace him. Without the twin threat of Vietto and Centurión running on ammo from Luis Fariña - now unsettled after the club refused to sell him to CSKA Moscow - and Bruno Zuculini, Vietto is left on his own and easily stifled by the opposition that acknowledge his prodigious talent.

Instead of the gaggle of exciting whippersnappers that played with him before, he was partnered with the lumbering José Sand, whose confidence has been shot since missing two penalties on his debut six months ago. Providing the width was the ponderous and violent World Cup winner Mauro Camoranesi, who this week complained about being played on the wing - when he is lucky to even be on the pitch half the time.

All in all, things aren't rosy with Racing and their young manager will be tested in the next few weeks, but an inexperienced coach that is rather enjoying himself at the moment will be in the other dugout this weekend as Guillermo Barros Schelotto continues to relish his first ever managerial role.

Lanús were good in the Torneo Inicial - Schelotto's first campaign - but lacked a goalscorer, with nobody grabbing more than four goals being the dividing line between a genuine chance of winning the title and them being impressive but never threatening also-rans. They brought in Israel Blanco to strengthen their frontline but the hotshot striker has come from within, with Silvio Romero firing three already to haul himself to within a goal of last season's mark. With these extra goals on board, they have smashed their way to the top of the table winning 4-0, 3-0 and 1-0, and beating two potential title rivals on the way.

It's been a great start, and they'll be looking to prey on any uneasiness shown towards Racing by their large and vocal support, with an early Lanús goal likely to make things get pretty ugly at el cilindro.


Match odds

Lanús' brilliant start to the season has made them deservedly favourites at [2.58] with the home crowd likely to be as much of a negative as anything if the Granate can take the game to the hosts early on. 

Given Racing's performances this season, with two defeats to nil and only a win against rock-bottom Argentinos, it is hard to see how they can beat a side that is so in-form, and the away win seems to be the value pick here, with Lanus 0 on the Asian Handicap worth consideration at [1.8] if you want to take the draw out of the equation.


Goals

Racing's three games have seen eight goals this season, the same amount as Lanús', but this doesn't factor in that Barros Schelotto's man are yet to concede this campaign and that if Racing are as pedestrian as last weekend then that stat won't be troubled on Sunday. 

There aren't any real bets that tempt in the goal markets.


Other bets

With rumours that Zubeldía could change his lineup to play just one striker this weekend, it may not be as easy for Lanús to carve teams apart as it has been in recent weeks. Nonetheless, if you think that the visitors will still prevail then the Draw/Lanús bet on the Half Time/Full Time market is an interesting proposition at [6.0]. Going the other way slightly, if you think that Lanús will fly out the blocks - they've led at half-time in every game this season - before being pegged back by a reactionary and probably desperate Racing, then [16.5] seems on the large side.


Recommended Bets

Best bet: Back Lanús 0 on Asian Handicap @ [1.8]
Back Draw HT/Lanús FT @ [6.0]


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