Torneo Final 2013 Best XI
With the Torneo Final done and dusted, Mala Leche picks it’s dream team of the season. The formation is directly inspired by the deserved success of champions Newell’s and so Mala Leche FC line up in a fluid 4-5-1 /4-3-3
GK: Agustin Marchesin (Lanus)
As with the Torneo Inicial, Lanus boasted one of the best defensive records all season, conceding just 14 in 19 games. Agustin Marchesin was once again in excellent form and didn’t even concede a goal for club record 541 minutes at the beginning of the campaign. At 25 and with well over 100 games under a belt, Marchesin is already one of the top keepers in what is a strong group of domestic based stoppers.
DL: Leonel Vangioni (River)
Left back has long been a problem position for River and they pretty much didn’t have a recognised specialist there all last season after inexplicably letting Lucas Orban go to Tigre. However, they solved that by bringing in Vangioni from Newell’s and he has responded with a fine first season, helping River to a second place finish. Often playing as an attacking wing back, Vangioni gives great width down the left and is not afraid to get forward, scoring an impressive 4 goals – a couple of which were absolute screamers!
DR: Milton Casco (Newell’s)
After Vangioni’s departure, Casco has stepped up to fill his place in the title winners side with ease. Although used primarily on the left, there was no way I could leave him out and so he comes in at right back. Another attacking, forward-thinking full back, Casco was able to stretch the opponents without shirking his defensive responsibilities.
DC: Luciano Lollo (Belgrano)
Belgrano were by far one of the dullest teams in the Primera. The league’s draw specialists with 11 and scoring a paltry 14, it was fundamental they had a rock solid defence. Fortunately, their defence was only breached 13 times – the best in the league – to give them a soporific +1 goal difference and Luciano Lollo was a big part of that. By no means the best defender in the league, it would be remiss however not to include him after the heroics he performed this season and so makes the starting XI.
DC: Paolo Goltz (Lanus)
During the inicial it was Goltz’s centre back partner Oswaldo Vizcarrondo who caught the eye but this season Goltz has been the more impressive. Part of the Lanus defence that went 5 games without conceding at the start of the season and conceded just 14, Goltz was a central and underrated pillar of strength. El Grana’s form may have tailed off but they remained watertight all season.
MC: Juan Mercier (San Lorenzo)
After a disappointing first season following his repatriation from Al-Wasl, Mercier has finally shown the form that persuaded Los Cuervos to bring the midfield man back. The beating heart of the midfield, Mercier has brought calm and poise to the centre of the park as San Lorenzo went on a fantastic end-of-season run to finish 4th and claim a Copa Sudamericana place.
MC: Lucas Bernardi (Newell’s)
At the base of the midfield, veteran midfielder Bernardi steered his side to the title with composure and class. After the injury to Villalba (who made the ‘Team of the Inicial’), Bernardi softened what could have been a fatal blow, taking up a more withdrawn role, dictating tempo from deep and using the ball economically. A deserved title for the 35-year-old who began his career at the club.
MC: Guido Pizarro (Lanus)
After his move to Fiorentina collapsed last summer, Lanus could be thankful that they’ve managed to hang on to the energetic performances of Pizarro. He really recaptured the form that made him such a sought after midfielder with all action, box to box displays throughout the season. The real engine of the team and surely will finally complete a move to Europe this window.
AML: Jorge Luna (San Martin)
Behind Newell’s, San Martin were second highest scorers in the league with 31. Not bad for a side fighting against relegation. At the centre of much of their attacking intent was the invention of Jorge Luna, who chipped in with 8 assists (the most in the league) and four goals. Luna’s craft and guile were integral as San Martin mounted an ultimately unsuccessful late charge that almost saved them from relegation. It wouldn’t be surprising if he remained in the top flight next season
AMR: Maxi Rodriguez (Newell’s)
One of the biggest and most recognisable names in the Primera, Maxi has stepped up after a slightly quiet first season to really drive his team towards a richly deserved title. As well as assists M-Rod has added goals – 4 compared to just 1 in the Inicial – and some were absolutely crucial, such as a last minute winner v Racing and the only goal of the game v San Lorenzo. A big contribution.
SC: Ignacio Scocco (Newell’s)
With only one choice for the lone striker role, there was only one ever one choice. Joint top scorer in the Inicial with 13 and another 11 in the Final – as well as five in the Libertadores and two on his Argentina debut – Ignacio Scocco confirmed his place as the best player in domestic football over the last 12 months. Often a scorer of a variety of beautiful goals, he is destined for a move to a top European side. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted..
The slightly bloated subs bench:
Jeronimo Rulli (Estudiantes) – The young Estudiantes keeper kept 8 clean sheets from 12 starts in his debut season.
Lisandro Lopez (Arsenal) – Yet another fine season for the centre back who is Benfica bound.
Eder Alvarez Balanta (River) – Breakthrough player of the season, the talented Colombian defender emerged out of nowhere with a string of fine performances and two goals.
Federico Lertora (Godoy Cruz) – A key component of a good season for Martin Palermo’s Tomba
Manuel Lanzini (River) – Showed his class on a more consistent basis, scoring 5 and making 2, as he begins to justify the hype
Luciano Vietto (Racing) – Underlined his potential as one of the hottest prospects in Argentinian football with 8 goals. Still 19.
Emanuel Gigliotti (Colon) – Extremely unfortunate not to make the starting XI after bagging 11 goals in a struggling side.
Silvio Romero (Lanus) – Another player just missing out. Electric form at start petered out somewhat but, with 9 goals and 3 assists, constitutes a very good season nonetheless
Martin Cauteruccio (Quilmes) – A solid season for the Uruguayan with seven goals that helped keep los Cerveceros in the Primera division