Argentine Primera: Inicial round up week 12
HONOURS EVEN IN THE SUPERCLASICO
This week’s Argentinian footballing action was dominated by the Superclasico between River and Boca as the bitter rivals clashed for the first time (officially) in over a year in the world famous battle for Buenos Aires bragging rights. River have been in the ascendency lately and they got the dream start to the match when they took the lead after 2 minutes through Leonardo Ponzio and thanks in no small part to a huge goalkeeping error by Boca keeper Agustin Orion who failed to deal with the midfielder’s speculative free kick. The rest of the first half lacked any real ebb and flow and River went in ahead at the break.
The second half was delayed first by Boca’s late arrival – which saw boss Julio Falcioni sent to the stands – and a giant inflatable pig in Boca colours released by the River fans. If there had been an element of fortune for River’s first, there was nothing lucky about los Millonarios second. David Trezeguet collected the ball, spun past his marker and sent the ball across the field to Carlos Sanchez who drove into the empty space in front of him before slipping a delightful ball into the path of Rodrigo Mora’s well timed run in behind the defence. Mora, the best player of the park, rounded Orion before firing the ball into the net from an acute angle. The Monumental exploded and at two nil Boca looked dead and buried.
But Boca were handed a lifeline when Leandro Gonzalez Pirez clumsily brought down Lautaro Acosta in the box. Santiago Silva needed no second invitation and coolly dispatched the penalty past Marcelo Barovero to reduce the deficit and give Boca a ray of hope.
As the game reached its finale, it looked as if River would see out the victory. That was, however, until the first minute of injury time. The ball broke to Leandro Paredes who collected the ball, brought the ball forward, and sized up his options before shipping the ball out wide to Acosta. Acosta put the ball into the mixer finding Silva whose magisterial chest control played in Walter Erviti who, seizing on Barovero’s slight hesitation, stole in to jab home the equaliser. The Monumental fell silent as Boca, displaying their trademark guts, celebrated their most undeserved of equalisers as if it were a winner. River fans will wonder how they threw away what looked a sure victory and missed chance to go ahead of Boca in the table. So, though not the best game of football, it was a fascinating derby as Buenos Aires’ shared the spoils.
Elsewhere, there was actually some other football matches being played too. In the first game of the weekend, a late Quilmes equaliser snatched away a first win for Juan Antonio Pizzi’s San Lorenzo. Martin Cauteruccio continued his fine form with his fourth in fourth games to head Quilmes in front. A quick brace from San Lorenzo turned the game on its head as Luis Aguiar and Alan Ruiz combined twice to give los Cuervos the lead as first Ruiz scored after Aguiar’s clever flick, and then repaid the favour by slipping in Aguiar to make it 2-1. Cauteruccio had a chance to add to his tally but his penalty on the stroke of half time was well saved by Paolo Miglione. San Lorenzo looked as if they were heading for their first win in six until a thrilling and controversial finale. Julio Buffarini and Cristian Lema were both sent off after some handbags following a full bloodied challenge from the former. And then in the third minute of injury time German Mandarino salvaged a point for Quilmes, heading in Cristian Insaurralde’s corner. A harsh blow for San Lorenzo who had enough chances to win the game comfortably and yet another dramatic finish to a game this weekend.
Rafaela came from behind to end San Martin’s impressive recent home record on Saturday evening, winning 2-1 in San Juan. Emanuel Mas put the hosts ahead when the left wing back was put through by Gaston Caprari’s precise pass but with ten minutes remaining Rafaela controversially struck twice to go back to Santa Fe with all three points. Rafaela’s equaliser, a Lucas Landa own goal, was initially ruled out for an offside before being overturned by referee Nestor Pittana and then, five minutes later, Jonathan Lopez scored the winner at the second attempt from what appeared to be an offside position.
All Boys claimed another impressive scalp with a 1-0 victory away to Estudiantes on Saturday. Hernan Grana grabbed the decisive goal of the contest when Juan Cruz Careaga’s cross was headed back by Matos into Grana’s path. Guido Carrillo had a great chance but could only hit the crossbar and the loss sees Estudiantes adrift of the title race and destined for a mid-table finish.
Newells tightened their grip on the league title with a win against Arsenal, extending their lead to three points ahead of their nearest rivals. As he has been for much of the season, Ignacio Scocco (above) was the man of the match with a well taken brace, taking his tally up to eight for the season. Scocco opened the scoring as he rose between two defenders to power in a header after just five minutes and clearly had his shooting boots on when he went one better with an incredible bicycle kick to put Newell’s 2-0 up. Gabriel Heinze was sent off for the hosts and Carlos Carbonero scored a well taken goal for Arsenal but Newell’s were able to negotiate the rest of the game without any further hiccups. With the finish line in sight Newell’s stand a great chance of winning their first title in eight years.
Racing’s title ambitions took a blow as Velez leapfrogged them into second place with a 1-0 win in Saturday night’s top of the table bout. Lucas Pratto struck early for Velez when Sebastian Saja was unable to push Ivan Bella’s shot to safety, allowing the striker to take advantage of some static Racing defending. Velez looked solid throughout and controlled a game of few chances while Racing were somewhat underwhelming. Both sides look best equipped to challenge Newell’s and this was an important victory for el Fortin.
Cesar ‘Picante’ Pereyra scored the only goal of the game against lowly Union to lift Belgrano up to third in the table. Pereyra broke the deadlock midway through the second half when he thumped in Victor Aquino’s devilish cross. Las Piratas have quietly gone about their business and could be dark horses for the title. Meanwhile, a fourth consecutive loss for Union sees them rock bottom of the table and unlikely to escape the drop.
Lanus continued their impressive recent form with a 1-0 victory over Argentinos on Sunday night. Mario Regueiro put Lanus ahead with a well taken finish and gave el Granate the three points in a tight encounter. The win sees them move up to fifth and only 6 points off the top while Argentinos have hit a sticky patch and are now winless in five.
Colon and Godoy Cruz had to make do with a point each after the two sides drew 1-1 on Monday. Mauro Obolo slid in to put the visitors ahead early on but Colon struck back through Emmanuel Gigliotti’s lovely glanced header from Ricky Gomez’s dangerous cross. The draw sees both sides winless from their last three as their early season form has petered out.
In what was supposed to be the last game of the round, Independiente and Tigre’s match was postponed due to a heavy downpour in Avellaneda on Monday evening. The AFA have yet to announce when the game will be rescheduled and new Tigre boss Nestor Gorosito will have to wait another week before his first league game in charge.
River 2–2 Boca
San Lorenzo 2-2 Quilmes
San Martin 1–2 Rafaela
Estudiantes 0–1 All Boys
Newell’s 2–1 Arsenal
Velez 1–0 Racing
Belgrano 1–0 Union
Lanus 1–0 Argentinos
Colon 1–1 Godoy Cruz
Independiente – Tigre – POSTPONED