After the last game, the Sharks are arriving at this 19th match day with the confidence of having dropped the qualification in the pocket, but with serious concerns regarding their past results. With only two weekends of the regular season to go, the playoffs are just around the corner, and the team needs to strengthen their game if they want to be strong candidates for the title.
Despite the fact that the tie against Envigado meant that Junior joined Nacional, Millonarios, and DIM in the group of teams who have qualified for the quarterfinals of the Aguila League, the only subject that has been running through Barranquilla lately is the lack of goals from the home team.
Both Coach Mendoza and the players have stated their worries with the issue, and in reality, the team was always better than their rivals, and had plenty of chances to score, but wasn’t able to do it. This problem, of course, impacted the results since they have only been capable of winning one of the past six games, and with those outcomes, losing positions on the table.
Now with 33 points and the primary objective fulfilled, the goal for Junior is to keep their place on the top four to secure the quarterfinal definition in Barranquilla. To do so, they will need to overcome this goal scoring problem, and get a win this Saturday in Metropolitano Stadium, at 6 P.M. vs. Cortuluá.
Unfortunately, getting the three points against Tuluá won’t be an easy task for the Rojiblancos. Coach Mendoza still doesn’t know when his best striker, Roberto Ovelar, is coming back from his injury. Also, this week, rivals are fighting for a spot in the postseason, so they have to add some units to keep their rank. On top of that, Junior will face the squad with the 7th best defense in the tournament, a true challenge.
At the moment, there are seven teams struggling over four places left to join the party in June. Rionegro Eagles and Santa Fe are on the 5th and 6th position, both with 31 units, and with just one point behind, comes this week’s enemy, Cortuluá, with 30, and in the last qualification spot is Cali with 28. After them comes Patriotas, who with 26 points is the only team outside the top eight that has a real chance to get in the playoffs. And far back, with barely a mathematical chance in the 10th and the 11th position, are Once Caldas and Cordoba Jaguars, with 23 and 22 units respectively.
The good news for Junior is that this Saturday they will be again joined by the previously sanctioned players Andrés Correa, Luis Narvaez, and the injured James Sanchez. After this game, the Sharks will close the regular season with a visit next week against Equidad in Bogotá, hoping that in these two matches they don’t get any more injuries or sanctions, and hopefully, they’ll be able to count on the entire roster for the beginning of the playoffs.