Gianluca Simeone, son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, made his debut in the Argentina Primera División for Gimnasia against Atletico Tucuman in 2019. His career, though, hasn’t blossomed, so far.
But his opponent on debut in the Argentinian top flight, Atletico Tucuman, is now the central protagonist in one of the craziest title fights in the history of the league, deploying football tactics that would make Simeone senior proud.
Since its inception in 1891, 28 different teams have won the Argentina Primera Division. This list is dominated by the ‘big five’ from Buenos Aires — Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing, River Plate and San Lorenzo. These five clubs have won 120 out of 171 championships. (Argentinian League has often had two titles every year)
But now, for the first time, a team from Tucuman, a central province more famous for its lemons and rugby, is in contention for the title. The team is 120 years old and this is just its 20th appearance in the Argentinian top division.
It achieved its latest promotion to the highest tier in 2009, after which it made a handful of firsts. Its first appearance in Copa Libertadores came in 2017 and a maiden entry into the Copa Argentina final, which ended in defeat, came the same year.
Despite a marked improvement and consistency, nobody gave the Tucuman side much chance this season. The side had finished 25th, second from bottom, in the previous (2021) season.