Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Arsenal aiming high

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

Arsenal de Sarandi have emerged as front-runners after previous leaders River Plate went down to their first loss of the season. They beat champions - already looking like outgoing champions - Argentinos Juniors this week by a single goal from Mauro Obolo. It was route one, a long free-kick which Obolo flicked on and got the return pass for a tap-in. Vélez are dead level with Arsenal after beating River despite ending with ten men. It's to be remembered that the relegation system is a three-year average and River are going to have to finish top three at least to avoid the drop. Any loss is going to hurt and the fans are acutely aware of the predicament. Juan Martinez had Vélez in front just after half an hour as the River defence failed to step up in union and left him through on goal, but Diego Buonanotte equalised just before half time with a thunderous low drive. Santiago Silva was tripped when clear in on goal which gave Vélez a penalty 13 minutes after the break and he dusted himself to score the spot kick. That's his fourth of the season and he leads the way in the goal scoring stakes. A second booking twenty from time for Leandro Somosa blotted the copybook, but Vélez held out in relative comfort.

Back from Recopa duties, Estudiantes picked up where they left off with a win over Godoy Cruz who led early on through Diego Villar who converted a corner at the back stick. It was all square on twenty minutes, a Juan Veron free-kick prodded through his own net by Francisco Duarti. And that's how it looked like staying, but five minutes from time, Godoy were down a man when Carlos Sanchez picked up a second booking. With a minute of stoppage time remaining, Estudiantes broke and Leandro Gonzalez diverted a cross into the net for a late winner. San Lorenzo are in third after beating Boca who are in trouble. And they were on the back foot from late in the first half. The score was still 0-0 when Gary Medel was sent off for a second caution. On resumption, San Lorenzo went on the offensive and a deep free kick was turned back into the box and Sebastian Balsas rose highest to thump a header into the net. Balsas turned provider for the second which came a couple of minutes from the end, his square ball curled past the keeper by Juan Menseguez. Martin Palermo did pull one back deep into stoppage time, a walk-in after the keeper fumbled, but it was too little and far, far too late.

Of the promoted clubs, Quilmes are by far the worst. They're bottom after slumping to another loss, this time despite being ahead inside a minute against Huracán, Santiago Hursig getting a faint header on a long range free-kick to divert it home. The lead lasted until the last minute of the first half when a free-kick from down by the corner flag was headed in by Carlos Quintana. Luciano Nieto sealed the win midway through the second half, a rocket from fully 25 yards. The other two went head-to-head and it was All Boys who emerged with the points against Olimpo. Just the one goal in it and that was pretty route one. A long clearance was flicked on into the path of Matias Perez-Garcia who showed great presence of mind to chip the keeper. Great finish.

Ten-man Banfield scraped a draw with Tigre. Goalless after an hour, Ruben Ramirez picked up a second booking and was dismissed. With seven minutes left, Ramiro Leone profited from a goalkeeping howler to put Tigre ahead, but Banfield got a late equaliser when Sebastian Romero headed in from point blank range following a corner. Gimnasia are struggling after defeat to Lanús who remain on the heels of the leaders. Two second half goals did it, the first from Mario Regueiro finishing off a lovely counter-attacking move and the second from Silvio Romero from six yards out after some real nice inter-passing and movement which had Gimnasia chasing shadows. Racing went down to Colón after an action-packed first 45. Esteban Fuertes had Colón in front after five minutes, played in by a Racing defender, but it was level on the half hour as Claudio Bieler latched on to a parried save to tap in. The winner came five minutes from the break, Joaquin Larrivey in oceans of space wide on the right and finding the finish to send Colón's fans back to Santa Fe happy. A draw helps neither Newell's or Independiente, but that's what they got. Independiente led midway through the first half, Nestor Silvera on the end of a fast break from midfield to finish from an angle. Mauro Fórmica equalised quarter of an hour from time, finishing a move of some quality down the right hand side.

Next week, Arsenal go to the Monumentál to face River in a top-of-the-table clash. Estudiantes are at home to Racing and it's second v third when Vélez go to San Lorenzo.

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

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