Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Games in hand or points on the board?

Gimnasia La Plata 3-0 Huracán
Racing Club 4-0 Lanús
San Lorenzo 3-1 Olimpo
Godoy Cruz 1-2 Tigre
Quilmes 2-2 Argentinos Juniors
Arsenal 0-0 Vélez Sarsfield
All Boys 2-1 Estudiantes
Newell's Old Boys 1-0 River Plate
Banfield 4-0 Independiente
Boca Juniors 3-1 Colón

It's the perennial question: is it better to have points on the board or games in hand? It's also a particularly pertinent one for Estudiantes and their fans. It all looked to be falling into their hands with results elsewhere. Last weekend, however, they were undone by All Boys who have got to grips with top-flight football quickly. Eduardo Dominguez turned in a headed cross under little pressure to put All Boys ahead midway through the first half, but normal service appeared to have been restored on the stroke of half time with Rodrigo Brana's header. Not so, as Sebastian Grazzini broke the offside trap and chipped delightfully over the keeper four minutes after the break. Estudiantes couldn't find another way through and they slip to fourth, two points off the league lead. They still have that game in hand though.

San Lorenzo are the new leaders by one point after coming from behind to see off Olimpo. Quarter of an hour had gone when Los Santos' keeper Damian Albil couldn't hold a long-range free-kick and David Vega was on hand to poke it in. Cristian Tula equalised on the half hour in similar circumstances and it was another free-kick which helped San Lorenzo go ahead, Jonathan Bottinello with the header. Olimpo had Marcelo Mosset sent off shortly after that which all but ended the game and it was wrapped up ten minutes from time as San Lorenzo broke from deep and Diego Rivero was on hand to finish a sweeping move. They overtake Vélez who were held to a goalless draw by Arsenal while Banfield are up to fourth after thumping an increasingly rubbish Independiente. The last Apertura champions were in front in the third minute through Ruben Ramirez, profiting from some awful marking at a free-kick. Sebastian Romero doubled the lead on twenty minutes, reacting quickest to a shot which came back to him off the bar and Ramirez got his second five minutes after the break, this time the ball falling to him via the post. Gabriel Valles was sent off two minutes later, scuppering any chance of an Independiente comeback and the win was duly completed late in the game by Emilio Zelaya who, frankly, took the mick out of the defence. Independiente are bottom.

Argentinos Juniors sit above them on goal difference after getting just their third point of the campaign in a 2-2 draw with Quilmes. After a goalless first half, Juan Sabia put Argentinos ahead three minutes into the second as a corner trickled along the six-yard line and he despatched it comfortably. Charles Aranguiz was sent off for Quilmes shortly before they got level, Diego Torres with a free header as he found himself all on his own in the penalty area. Another sending off preluded the second goal, Santiago Hirsig getting his second caution moments before a pinpoint cross found the diving Juan Morales who headed home. The nine men looked to be holding on for the win, but deep into stoppage time, Nicolas Berardo found the back of the net as the numbers game worked in Argentinos's favour from a corner. Lanús also finished with nine players, but didn't fare quite so well. They were already behind to a Matias Martinez header before Agustin Pelletieri was the first to be dismissed in first half stoppages. Giovanni Moreno had put Racing two up from the penalty spot before Maxi Lugo was the second to be sent off and the floodgates opened. Matias Cahias poached one from close range and Gabriel Hauche pinched one off Moreno's toes in the last minute after the Colombian had danced through a very tired defence.

Just one sending off at the Bombonera where a Martín Palermo hat-trick helped Boca come from behind to beat Colón. Ivan Moreno y Fabianesi helped himself after an awful defensive mix-up late in the first half, but Palermo's dinked finish in first half stoppage time sent the sides in level. The veteran's second came moments after the restart as Colón failed to pick him up at a free-kick and the game was up for the visitors when Juan Quiroga picked up a second yellow card midway through the second half. A third had to come as Colón were penned in their penalty area for pretty much all the remainder and Palermo was on hand to eventually put the game to bed as the ball pinged around the box. Not so good news for their rivals River Plate who lost to Newell's in Rosario by a single goal, Ivan Borghello getting between two defenders to head home in the tenth minute.

Gimnasia pull away from the bottom with a much-needed win over fading Huracán. They were ahead on the half hour, Alvaro Navarro opening his body out to create the space for a curling shot into the opposite top corner. Hernan Encina got a late brace to seal it, the first a delicate lob with the outside of the boot, the second a tap-in at the back post. Tigre came from behind to beat Godoy Cruz who were ahead on the quarter hour through David Ramirez whose attempted through ball came back to him off a defender and he smashed it in from 20 yards. It remained 1-0 to half-time, but Tigre were level within a minute of the restart, Denis Stracqualarsi latching onto a long through ball that the defence couldn't cope with. Quarter of an hour from the end, Claudio Perez won it with a routine header from a corner that the keeper came for and got absolutely nowhere near.

Next week, Estudiantes have a visit from Boca as they look to brush off that defeat. San Lorenzo are at home to Colón while the last two champions - faring rather differently to each other - face off as Banfield travel to face Argentinos. River complete the round with a home game against lowly Quilmes.

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

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