Wednesday, 25 August 2010

River's resurgence

Banfield 0-0 Estudiantes
Newell's Old Boys 2-0 Tigre
Quilmes 1-1 Lanús
Vélez Sarsfield 2-0 Argentinos Juniors
Godoy Cruz 1-0 Olimpo
Racing Club 1-2 San Lorenzo
Gimnasia La Plata 0-0 Colón
River Plate 3-2 Independiente
Arsenal 2-0 Huracán
All Boys 2-0 Boca Juniors

We've said from the off that River Plate needed a rocket up their collective backside if they were to avoid the drop in Argentina's convoluted promotion/relegation system. Well they've had it and now sit level on points at the top of the league alongside Vélez Sarsfield, the only two sides left with 100% records. Rogerio Funes turned in the opener from close range, despite appearing to be offside as the initial, wayward shot came in and he restored the lead after Nestor Silvera equalised Independiente after latching onto a long ball forward. Funes was on the limit of offside for his second, sweeping it in from the 12 yards, and it was 3-1 by half time, Paulo Ferrari beating the keeper at the near post as he was distracted by Funes at the far post and available for the cross. A last-minute own goal pulled one back, but too late. Their big rivals, meanwhile, are in all sorts of bother with just one point from three games after defeat to promoted All Boys. Boca keeper Cristian Lucchetti brought down Mauro Matos on the half hour for a penalty which Matos converted himself. Eduardo Dominguez added a thumping header from a corner six minutes before half time and there was no way back for Boca.

Vélez lead the way on goal difference thanks to a 2-0 win over champions Argentinos who, after having lost manager Claudio Borghi to Boca have lost their way. Leandro Somoza smacked in a penalty with twenty minutes to go and Santiago Silva, with his now customary goal, made it two before Santiago Gentiletti managed to get himself sent off in order to ensure no way back for Argentinos. Banfield and Estudiantes both drop two points on the leaders after drawing with one another without troubling the scorers. So did Gimnasia and Colón while Quilmes and Lanús did at least get one each. Juan Morales headed Quilmes ahead in the seventh minute, but the lead lasted just six minutes until Santiago Salcedo latched onto a poor clearance from Quilmes keeper Emanuel Tripodi and chipped him as he came to atone for his mistake. Godoy Cruz just needed one goal to see off Olimpo, Ariel Rojas with it, finally prodding the ball home after a barrage of shots had been turned away. An unfortunate deflection off the keeper took it into Rojas's path and he couldn't miss from four yards.

Two off and two goals as Newell's beat Tigre. The first dismissal came in the 41st minute, Gonzalo Vera leaving Tigre with ten, and was followed by the first goal, a free-kick floated across the box for the head of Rolando Schiavi to meet it perfectly. Tigre were down to nine with five minutes to go, Cristian Trombetta given his marching orders, and the second goal followed quickly as the undermanned defence left an aching gap in the centre for Luis Rodriguez to get onto a well-weighted through ball and finish to seal the points. Arsenal are up to fifth after beating Huracán. Mauro Obolo put them in front on the quarter hour, a bullet header from a free kick, and on the hour the game was safe as Luciano Leguizamon converted a penalty which his own tricky feet had won. They pass Racing who were beaten at home by San Lorenzo who were ahead inside twenty minutes as Guillermo Pereyra was found on the edge of the box from where he placed a lovely shot just beyond the grasp of the keeper. Ten minutes after the break, Pablo Luguercio equalised with a rasping shot from long range which just took enough of the inside portion of the post to divert it into the back of the net. With time running out, Sebastian Balsas looped a header over the keeper and in for the winner.

Next week, Boca fans have a major problem. Would they rather beat Vélez but potentially see River go top by beating struggling Argentinos or take a dive lest their rivals steal a march? The La Plata derby between Estudiantes and Gimnasia was scheduled for this round, but is held back a month as Estudiantes are in Recopa Sudamericana action against LDU Quito, so Banfield can put some daylight on them if they beat Lanús.

Huracán v Newell's Old Boys
Lanús v Banfield
Tigre v Quilmes
Colón v Godoy Cruz
San Lorenzo v All Boys
Independiente v Arsenal
Argentinos Juniors v River Plate
Olimpo v Racing Club
Boca Juniors v Vélez Sarsfield

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