Preview: Union vs. Boca Juniors – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Argentine Primera Division clash between Union and Boca Juniors, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Seeking to climb into the top eight of the Argentine Primera Division, last season’s champions Boca Juniors travel to the Estadio 15 de Abril in Sante Fe to face Union on Thursday.

While the hosts have put together a three-game unbeaten run on home soil, the visitors are hoping to avoid a fifth successive away defeat in the top flight.

Match preview

Boca Juniors coach Jorge Almiron during the match on May 26, 2023© Reuters

Union’s six-game unbeaten league run was brought to an end when they lost 1-0 away against Atletico Tucuman last weekend.

A week after securing a comfortable 3-0 home win over Independiente, Kily Gonzalez‘s side lacked a clinical edge in front of goal against Tucuman and they were narrowly beaten courtesy of an 18th-minute penalty from Mateo Coronel.

Union are still languishing in 24th place in the Primera Division table after winning just five of their 22 matches, while only three teams in the 28-team division have scored fewer goals than the Santa Fe-based side (17) so far this season.

Gonzalez’s men will be hoping to bounce back with a positive result on Thursday and can be confident of success on home soil having accumulated seven points from their last three matches at the Estadio 15 de Abril.

Union are also unbeaten in their last three meetings with a Boca Juniors outfit who have been a shadow of their former selves so far this season less than a year after winning their 35th top-flight title.

Indeed, the Blue and Gold have won nine, drawn four and lost nine of their 22 Primera Division matches in 2023 and currently sit 11th in the table, 19 points behind league leaders River Plate.

The Buenos Aires giants have somewhat turned their fortunes around in recent weeks, though, as they followed up a 4-0 Copa Libertadores group-stage win over Monagas with a 2-0 league victory against Samiento on Monday.

Boca Juniors had to wait until the 71st minute to open the scoring courtesy of a strike from Miguel Merentiel – his third goal in four league matches – before Cristian Medina sealed the victory with a goal six minutes from time.

Jorge Almiron‘s side enter Thursday’s contest after losing four of their last five away matches, including each of their last four in the Primera Division without reply, while they claimed a point in a 1-1 draw with Union in their most recent trip to Santa Fe in July 2021.

Union Argentine Primera Division form:

Boca Juniors Argentine Primera Division form:

Boca Juniors form (all competitions):

Team News

Boca Juniors' Exequiel Zeballos reacts on April 26, 2022© Reuters

Union attacker Daniel Juarez has been ruled out since the end of May with a knee injury and the 21-year-old is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Gonzalez is expected to stick with a 5-3-2 formation, with striker Jeronimo Domina and Imanol Machuca – who both scored in Union’s most recent home win against Independiente – set to lead the line once again.

As for Boca Juniors, Marcos Rojo, Luca Langoni (both muscle), Luis Advincula, Ezequiel Fernandez, Exequiel Zeballos (all knee) and Norberto Briasco (ankle) all remain sidelined due to injury.

Thirty-six-year-old Facundo Roncaglia will be pushing to start at centre-back ahead of either Bruno Valdez or Nicolas Figal after watching on as an unused substitute last time out.

Merentiel is Boca Juniors’ top scorer so far this term with six goals, and the Uruguayan is expected to lead the line once again with support provided in attack by Medina, Guillermo Fernandez and Valentin Barco.

Union possible starting lineup:
Moyano; Vera, Paz, Calderon, Corvalan, Zenon; Roldan, Gordillo, Luna; Domina, Machuca

Boca Juniors possible starting lineup:
Romero; Weigandt, Valdez, Figal, Fabra; Rolon, Valera; G. Fernandez, Medina, Barco; Merentiel

SM words green background

We say: Union 0-1 Boca Juniors

A tight affair could be in store on Thursday between two teams who are desperate to climb the table, but we believe that Boca Juniors will put an end to their poor away form and secure a slender victory.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

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