Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Clausura goalfest on penultimate weekend

Vélez Sarsfield 4-1 Chacarita Juniors
Newell's Old Boys 6-0 Gimnasia La Plata
Racing Club 0-3 River Plate
Argentinos Juniors 4-3 Independiente
Estudiantes 0-0 Rosario Central
Tigre 1-2 Banfield
Boca Juniors 1-2 Huracán
Atlético Tucumán 1-1 Arsenal
Lanús 3-2 San Lorenzo
Godoy Cruz 3-0 Colón

On a weekend where 37 goals went in across the ten games in the Clausura, leaders Estudiantes could only muster a goalless draw in their game against Rosario Central. Indeed, they may feel it was a decent result as Juan Sebastian Veron was sent off on the half-hour. He is a hugely important player for the club and they do sometimes struggle for a plan B when he's not there. That slip allowed Argentinos Juniors to go top as they came from 3-1 down to beat Independiente in a thriller. Nicolas Pavlovich had put Argentinos ahead on 26 minutes, but Los Diablos Rojos were level inside 90 seconds, Leonel Nunez on target. Dario Gandín put Independiente ahead three minutes after the restart and Nunez's second made it 3-1 with twenty minutes to go. Pavlovich pulled one back, but heading into the last minute, it was still Independiente's game, but Juan Sabia levelled in the last minute and Matias Caruzzo won it with a dramatic late strike, in the fourth minute of stoppages. The title is between Argentinos and Estudiantes, separated by a point at the top of the table.

There was a hat-trick for Rogerio Funes as River Plate beat Racing 3-0. All three came before the game was half an hour old, the first inside two minutes, and that was that except for the late dismissal of Matias Almeyda which Racing couldn't make anything of. Rodrigo Lopez went one better, getting all four of Vélez Sarsfield's goals against Chacarita. He had two inside the first quarter hour before Facundo Parra pulled one back, but Lopez added a third before half-time and wrapped up with his fourth nine minutes from time. Newell's put six away past Gimnasia who finished the game with nine men. Joaquin Boghossian began the rout with a 13th minute penalty and Mauro Fórmica added a second within a minute. Lucas Bernardi made it three on the half hour and Gimnasia would end the first half with ten men, Alvaro Ormeno sent off with a minute to go. Juan Insaurralde and a second from Fórmica made it five before Ruben Maldonado picked up his second yellow leaving Gimnasia with nine players and Rolando Schiavi slammed home the penalty.

Tucumán still bring up the rear after their ninth draw of the season, but are only a point behind Chacarita. Juan Pereyra grabbed an equaliser after Luciano Leguizamo had put Arsenal in front in the first half. San Lorenzo's miserable season continues after defeat to Lanús. They were ahead in the first half through Bernardo Romero, but three in twenty second half minutes turned the game towards Lanús. Gonzalo Castillejos, Santiago Salcedo and Maxi Velazquez were all on target and Alejandro Gomez's late strike was scant consolation for The Saints. Boca Juniors are still struggling after another defeat. Adrian Peralta put Huracán ahead on the stroke of half-time, but Gabriel Paletta equalised five minutes into the second half. Boca were undone by the dismissal of Juan Krupoviesa on the hour and Gaston Machin made the ten men pay. The long running feud between Martín Palermo and Juan Riquelme looks to have been resolved with the latter leaving the club at the end of the season. Whether that will remove dressing room conflict or see many of the Riquelme faction follow him out of the club remains to be seen. Turbulent times at the Bombonera.

Elsewhere, Banfield beat Tigre, Ruben Ramirez and Roberto Battion on target before a late, late consolation from Bryan Rodriguez and Godoy Cruz consoldiated in third place with a comfortable win over Colón with Federico Higuain, Jairo Castillo and Sebastian Rodriguez all on target after a goalless first half.

The final round of fixtures stack up like this:
Chacarita Juniors v Racing Club
River Plate v Tigre
Banfield v Boca Juniors
Huracán v Argentinos Juniors
Independiente v Lanús
San Lorenzo v Newell's Old Boys
Gimnasia La Plata v Atlético Tucumán
Arsenal v Godoy Cruz
Colón v Estudiantes
Rosario Central v Vélez Sarsfield

If Argentinos win, they're champions. Estudiantes need at least a draw. That will be good enough if Argentinos lose, such is Estudiantes' superiority on goal difference, but really, they need to better Argentinos's result to prevail. It would be the first title in 25 years should Argentinos do it while Estudiantes were Apertura champions as recently as 2006, but they may struggle if Veron gets a ban. Tucumán could avoid the wooden spoon with a draw if Chacarita lose by three clear goals.

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