Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Primera División de Argentina - week 16

Rosario Central 1-1 Atlético Tucumán
Independiente 2-0 Huracán
Chacarita Juniors 2-1 Godoy Cruz
River Plate 1-1 Estudiantes
San Lorenzo 3-0 Boca Juniors
Tigre 0-3 Vélez Sársfield
Banfield 1-2 Racing
Arsenal 2-5 Lanús
Colón 0-1 Newell's Old Boys
Gimnasia La Plata 1-2 Argentinos Juniors

Banfield lost their first game of this Apertura season and, with it, the leadership of the league as they were surprisingly beaten at home by strugglers Racing Club. Matias Martinez put Racing ahead early on, converting a free-kick at the back post, but leading goalscorer Santiago Silva struck his 13th of the season, also from a free-kick. Surely then it was matter of Banfield kicking on, but Racing dug in and weathered the storm before, midway through the second half, they hit Banfield on the counter and Gabriel Mercado was teed up for a simple finish. That gave Newell's the chance to take over at the top and they did on Monday with a 1-0 win over Colón, Joaquin Boghossian with it, as both sides finished with ten players.

If Estudiantes hoped to get a few points in the bank before their trip to the FIFA World Club Jamboree, then it's blown up spectacularly as they dropped yet more points away to River Plate, blowing a lead in the process. Leandro Desábato put them in front on the half hour with an excellent header from a corner. That looked like being enough until Maxi Nuñez was shown a second yellow and, eventually, River levelled it, Ariel Ortega with a tap-in at the back post after Estudiantes keeper Damián Albil could only parry a long-range shot to Ortega's feet four minutes into stoppage time. Vélez move up after a routine win over rock-bottom Tigre, the wonderfully monikered Waldo Ponce with a brace and San Lorenzo also put three away against Boca who look likely to lose Juan Roman Riquelme to Brazilian outfit Corinthians in the near future. Gaston Aguirre put the Saints two up at the break and Fabian Bordagaray wrapped it up in the second half.

The tale of Huracán's demise is a sad one, the club simply unable to replace the vibrant talent that served them so well before the bigger clubs swooped in and swiped them all. They went down again to leave them entrenched near the foot of the table, Leonel Galeano and Dario Gandin in target for Independiente who strengthen their position just behind the front-runners. Gimnasia join them down there after another defeat, this time after blowing a lead against Argentinos Juniors. Jose Luis Vizcarra put Gimnasia ahead on the hour, but the lead lasted barely five minutes before Gabriel Hauche levelled. Ten minutes from time, Gonzalo Prosperi snatched all three points. Chacarita pulled level with Godoy Cruz by beating them at home, Gustavo Alustiza putting them in front in the first half and Diego Morales with a stoppage-time winner after Ariel Rojas had equalised but, crucially, Leonardo Sigali had been sent off in the last minute.

Rosario Central and Atlético Tucumán shared the spoils, Guillermo Burdisso with an early opener for Rosario and Fabio Escobar with a second half equaliser. Game of the day was in Sarandi where Arsenal led twice before succumbing to an onslaught. Diego Galvan put the home side in front five minutes in, but it was back level at the break thanks to Sebastien Blanco. Javier Yacuzzi restored the lead on the hour, but only for two minutes before Cristian Menéndez equalised again. That seemed to break Arsenal as Lanús went on the rampage with three goals in the last ten minutes, Santiago Biglieri, Santiago Salcedo's penalty and Agustin Pellegrini sealing a big win.

There's a full programme this weekend before a couple of rounds without Estudiantes while they're on their holidays. Indeed, Estudiantes kick us off on Thursday night so they can go and get their plane in good time.

Estudiantes v Chacarita Juniors
Godoy Cruz v Rosario Central
Huracán v Banfield
Racing v Tigre
Argentinos Juniors v San Lorenzo
Atlético Tucumán v Colón
Boca Juniors v Independiente
Vélez Sársfield v River Plate
Newell's Old Boys v Arsenal
Lanús v Gimnasia La Plata

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