This afternoon, Junior needs a win to stay in Copa Sudamericana

Jarlan Barrera, Roberto Ovelar and Vladimir Hernanez, the key players that Junior is missing at this non winning streak. Photo Credit: JUNIOR DE BARRANQUILLA Facebook Page: @juniordebarranquillaa

There remains an air of profound joylessness about Giovanni Hernández’ new designation and an air of fumbling desperation about the Sharks recent results. After a short but promising fresh start under the orders of the new coach where the team managed to get some wins and improved their offensive game, the reality of having an inexperienced manager stroked Junior harder than a bolt of lightning.

Seven matches have passed since the Rojiblancos last victory, (1-0 on August 28th against the Jaguars). During September, the team faced five league games and two Sudamericana Cup games, and signed three defeats and four ties, receiving a total of nine goals and scoring only five.

But not only did the performance in the game drop, but also the small sparks of decent teamwork showed at the beginnings of the matches completely disappeared, and key players like Vladimir Hernández or Roberto Ovelar are having a terrible moment in their individual level. On top of that, during this cursed month, the Sharks suffered several injuries. First, at the start of September both the first (Sebastian Viera) and second (Jose Chunga) goalkeepers were out for the same period. And later in the middle of the month, the doctors confirmed that the youth star, Jarlan Barrera, will miss the rest of the season due to the recovery of an emergency knee procedure he needed to have.

Here’s the Club’s official statement about the injury.

This terrible panorama left the team in the intensive care unit in the two most prestigious competitions that they are fighting for in this year. In the Aguila League, with just fifteen points out of thirty-six possible, Junior is now languishing in the non-classification zone on the fifteenth position of the table, sitting six points and six teams behind Santa Fe, which is the team occupying the last play-off place. The only bright side is that they still have two games played less than the rest of their contenders, so two hypothetical wins will put them back on track. Nevertheless, none of these two matches are going to be played at home, and additionally, they are against Patriotas and Nacional, being the last one the one that took away the league title in Junior´s past three finals, easy ha.

In Sudamericana, even though the situation is not that bad, to pass to the quarterfinals the team still must get a win today against the Uruguayans Montevideo Wanderers.

On the first leg down south the score was 0-0, so with no away goals on their side, the Sharks can’t afford to tie in Barranquilla. If they wish to pass they must either win or have a scoreless result to try to beat them in an eventual penalty shootout, any other outcome will put an end to the international dream.

The complaints voiced by the fans that started with the lack of quality signings at the transfer window are now louder than ever. The squad that the coach puts to start the games is not finding the answers, the ones sitting on the bench aren’t wise enough to give any help, and the pile of sanctioned and injured players only give the people more reason to be upset. Legends like Ivan Valenciano or Carlos Valderrama, joined the group of critics, the “Bombardero” blamed the situation on the inexperienced coach, and “el Pibe” pointed his finger at the players. But both agreed that if they can’t even make it to the playoffs, they’ll all leave the club in December.

Here is the full interview with Carlos “el Pibe” Valderrama from the Club’s official Youtube Chanel: Atletico Junior Oficial

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Fran graduated from Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina in Journalism and Sports Journalism. Before returning to his native Barranquilla, he traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America. When he’s not busy writing or reporting on a game, he’s probably watching whatever sports news is on TV. He also enjoys dancing, learning new languages and cultures.