Argentine Primera: Inicial round up week 17
VELEZ ONE STEP CLOSER TO TITLE
The weekend’s action kickstarted with the clasico between River and Independiente at the Monumental. Hernan Fredes put Independiente ahead early on but River centre back Jonathan Bottinelli equalised with a header from Leo Ponzio’s free kick. River took then took the lead as Independiente once again failed to deal with a Ponzio free kick and Carlos Sanchez was waiting to rifle in the half volley from the edge of the area. River’s lead lasted just ten minutes when Leonel Galeano hooked the ball into the net after a goal line scramble with the young defender actually lying on his back as he struck the equaliser. Independiente had a big penalty shout for handball turned down and River will could themselves fortunate to have escaped with a draw – their fifth in the last six.
Newell’s title nosebleed continued with a draw against bottom of the table Union. Union actually took a surprise two nil lead when first Diego Jara and then Andres Franzoia scored to go ahead at half time. But just like last week against Tigre, they surrendered their lead. Martin Tonso immediately reduced deficit at the beginning of half time with a shot that Martin Perafan should have done better with and then Ignacio Scocco (who scored 2 against Brazil midweek) tied the game and took his tally to double figures for the season with another absolute golazo. But Newell’s were unable to find a winner, dealing their ever-decreasing title chances a massive blow.
Belgrano were the latest title chasers to drop crucial points after a 1-1 draw away at San Martin on Saturday. Victor Aquino put the visitors ahead after he converted Guillermo Farre’s lovely lofted through ball but a Jorge Luna golazo cancelled it out just before half time. The draw dents any chance of lifting the title but if they can win their game in hand against Independiente las Piratas will just about remain in the hunt.
San Lorenzo’s hopes of survival were boosted after beating Argentinos Juniors and achieving back-to-back victories for the first time this season. Denis Stracqualursi maintained good recent form with his fifth goal in four games – a deft chip over Luis Ojeda – before Julio Buffarini (below) gave los Cuervos a healthy lead at half time with a powerful effort. Argentinos hit back through a lovely Gustavo Oberman solo effort but San Lorenzo held on for victory with Paolo Migliore making some crucial stops. It appears that they might be starting to click under Pizzi as they begin to edge away from the drop zone.
Lanus were yet another of the title contenders to slip up this weekend as they could only manage a 0-0 against Estudiantes. El Granate had Paolo Goltz for keeping the scores level when he acrobatically cleared a shot off the line. In the second half Lanus knocked on the door but couldn’t find the all-important goal, the first time they had failed to do so in 10 games. The draw leaves them two points off the top and everything still to play for.
After 16 games, Tigre finally got their first win of the season! Silvio Gonzalez grabbed his second goal in as many games with a powerful diving header from Ruben Botta’s cross. Botta himself got on the scoresheet with a brilliant solo effort before half time. The young enganche collected the ball on the half way line, cut in from the left, beat two men and expertly drilled the ball into the roof of the net from a fairly tight angle. The win will give them great confidence going into their Sudamericana semi-final and means Union are the only side left in the Primera who have yet to win a game.
Velez left it late to beat All Boys 2-0 and take advantage of their rivals’ draws. With the game drawing to a close Lucas Pratto fired in Agustin Allione’s pull back to send the Fortin travelling faithful into raptures and cause boss Ricardo Gareca to do a slightly erotic rolling embrace on the floor with a Velez coach. Facundo Ferreyra made the game safe in injury time with a lovely swivel and shot for his ninth of the season. A win in somewhat fortunate circumstances but one that takes them two points of the chasing pack and with two winnable fixtures remaining, Velez will be forgiven for believing they have one hand on the trophy already.
In the second clasico of the weekend Boca emerged victorious against Racing with a 3-1 win in the Bombonera. Matias Caruzzo well placed header put Boca ahead early on and then young starlet Leandro Paredes (above) exchanged neat passes with Nicolas Colazo and unleashed a fearsome snapshot from the edge of the area to make it 2-0 to the hosts. Paredes’ growing reputation was enhanced further when, in the second half, he outfoxed Saja again with a stroked free kick to give Boca an unassailable lead. Gabriel Hauche clawed one back for Racing but it proved too little too late as Boca took a giant step towards qualification for the Libertadores. Racing’s first clasico loss this season effectively ended any chances of mounting a late title challenge and they sit in fifth, a point behind Boca.
Quilmes slumped to the bottom of the promedios after a 2-1 loss to Arsenal on Monday. A 3 minute double salvo from Jorge Ortiz and Diego Braghieri midway through the first half saw Arsenal jump into a two goal lead. Facundo Diz capitalised on some dodgy defending to scoree for Quilmes and reduce the deficit just before half time but they were unable to peg Arsenal back in a rather dull second period. Due to their average being based purely on this season’s performance a couple of a wins would see Quilmes quickly out of trouble but it is becoming a more serious issue nonetheless. Arsenal meanwhile have put together some decent end of season form and move into the top half.
In the final game of the weekend, Rafaela overcame Colon to win 2-0 on Monday night. Federico Gonzalez broke the deadlock with a fine finish to put Rafaela ahead and, as Colon pushed for an equaliser, Oscar Carniello put the result beyond doubt when he leapt highest to head in Juan Eluchans free kick. The win is Rafaela’s first in five and will help ease la Crema’s relegation worries.
River 2-2 Independiente
Union 2-2 Newell’s
San Martin 1–1 Belgrano
Argentinos 1–2 San Lorenzo
Lanus 0–0 Estudiantes
Tigre 2–0 Godoy Cruz
All Boys 0–2 Velez
Boca 3–1 Racing
Quilmes 1–2 Arsenal
Rafaela 2-0 Colon