The Prima Nazionale is back with a new format: 37 teams, 670 matches and several well-known faces, after the dream of two promotions

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Thirty-seven teams, two zones, 10 months of competitions, 670 matches, away games of over 2,000 kilometres, two tickets for the Lega Professionisti up for grabs and three descents that everyone will try to avoid. With novelty in its format, you reinforce with the past of Selection and a representative who will simultaneously contest the Libertadores Cupthis Friday the tournament will start National premierethe main promotion competition and the most competitive of Argentine football.

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The clashes between Deportivo Morón AND slimy in Nuevo Francisco Urbano (at 9:10pm on DirecTV Sports) and between Rio Cuarto students AND San Martin de Tucumán at the Antonio Candini (at 21:30 on TyC Sports) will open a day that will have the classic between all boys AND new chicago Saturday at 17:00 in Floresta and in which only half of the teams in the category will compete.

If this happens, it will be as a result of one of the main changes in the structure of the tournament: unlike what happened in 2022, when the 37 participants faced each other in a single round, this time the teams will be divided into two zones and will only play their group rivals at home and away. The number of matches will therefore not be the same for everyone: the 19 teams in zone A (the one that will start this Friday) will play 36 matches, while the 18 in zone B (which will start next week) will play 34.

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In a tournament so long and with such a diversified geographical representation (teams from the city of Buenos Aires and 11 provinces will participate), the non-sporting need will be enormous. Here too the weight will not be the same for everyone. Deportivo Madryn will have to cover 2,286 kilometers one way and as many back when they visit Gimnasia in San Salvador de Jujuy and will accumulate around 51,000 kilometers in the season, as much as his neighbor Guillermo Brown. For teams in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, the campaign will, in any case, require less than 20,000 kilometers of travel.

This journey on wheels (because the vast majority of transfers are by bus) will allow for two promotions. The first will be resolved between the winners of both zones in a match that will be played on a neutral venue. The second will match the winner of a Reduced which also changed its format. In the first round, the 14 teams ranked between second and eighth in each area will meet. The seven winners of that instance will be joined by the loser of the final for the first promotion in order to set up the quarter-final table.

The first phase of the reduced price will be liquidated single party in the stadium of the best-placed team during the season (in the event of crossing between the fifth of both zones, the one that has achieved the best average points in the tournament will be local). The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be resolved in two-way duels. The better placed team will define the home team and advance in case of equal points and goal difference in the two matches. The final will be a single match on a neutral venue with no advantage (in the event of a tie there will be extra time and, if necessary, penalty kicks).

The descent is reloaded

The war of nerves at the bottom of the leaderboard will be renewed again this year: there will be three descents and not two as in 2022. The bottom teams in each zone will progress to Primera B or Federal A (depending on whether they are directly or indirectly affiliated with the Argentine Football Federation), while the penultimate will meet in a match on a neutral venue to decide which will go down third.

The novelties for this season are not limited to the structure, but also to the participants. After seven years, he will return to the Board of Trustees category. But the Paraná team will return with a double peculiarity: they will do so as champions of the Argentina Cup and with a ticket in their pocket to play in the Libertadores Cup starting in April. A similar situation experienced in the 2019/20 season of the Tigre, after winning the Super League Cup and being relegated. Aldosivi will also return to the division after four and a half years.

If it comes to laps, that of Cordoba race had to wait 17 years: after beating Villa Miter on penalties in the Federal A final, the Nueva Italia team will be the only representative of the provincial capital after the promotions of Belgrano and Instituto. Nor will the descendants Sacachispas and Ramón Santamarina be present. And from Primera B will be joined by the only club of the 37 who have never participated in a domestic competition: Defensores Unidos de Zárate.

The 11 weeks since the end of last season have been prolific with roster changes. not just why 21 of the 37 teams have a new managerbut also because the majority have reconfigured their player base with more than a dozen incorporations. Some, like Independiente Rivadavia, Nueva Chicago, Chaco For Ever or Almagro, were close to two dozen.

It wasn’t just a question of quantity. Several players with proven experience have chosen to join teams in the category. Among them, two with a past in the national team. At 38 and after two decades, Gonzalo Bergessio will play again in the Argentine second division (he did so with Platense): the former striker of San Lorenzo, Racing, Sampdoria, Catania and Saint-Etienne, among others, will wear the shirt of Tristán Suárez, one of the clubs who moved a lot and good in this pass market.

Mauro AntAnother man with a past in the national team (he played a friendly against Poland in 2011, during the Sergio Batista cycle) and a long career in the national team and abroad, will play for Defensores de Belgrano. The midfielder trained at Newell’s and who also played for Blackburn Rovers, Cruz Azul, Pumas de la UNAM, Palermo and Colón, will be team-mates with his brother Lautaro.

Another veteran with a long trip abroad will also spend his last cartridges in the First National: Rubens Sambueza. The 39-year-old from Neuquén concluded his 13-season spell in Mexico to play for Deportivo Maipú de Mendoza. Trained in the river like Sambueza, Sunday Nicholas, the last step for Banfield, will try to bring Lega Professionisti back to the Board of Trustees. Ferro added the former Boca midfielder Christian Herbsto the former defender of San Lorenzo and Racing Paul Alvarado and the former forward of Ciclón and Independiente Jonathan Herrera. Milton Alvarezstarter in the red during a good part of last season, he will preside over the Quilmes goal.

Precisely with the arrival of these experienced players, several players left this market who, catapulted by their good performances in 2022, were recruited by First Class or foreign institutions. The best known case was that of the minor Luke Roman, just 18, who has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Barcelona which includes a €400m release clause. Ferro, the club where Pocho has played since he was seven, will ask for 1.2 million euros (he could add another 3.5 million in the variables) and will keep 15% of the left-footed player’s record, which this week was trained with the Barça squad.

Furthermore, there were some who moved on to the Lega Professionisti teams: in the first round of that tournament, which was played last weekend, they gave the gift 15 players who stood out in the first national team last yearincluding Matías Giménez (from San Martín de San Juan to Independiente), Octavio Bianchi (from All Boys to Rosario Central), Maximiliano Centurión (from Defensores de Belgrano to Arsenal), Facundo Castelli (from Estudiantes to Central Córdoba) and Nicolás Servetto ( from Almagro to Platense).

Source: Clarin

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