Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Old hands and new boys forge ahead

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

The second round of fixtures are done and dusted in the Clausura and we're already down to two sides with 100% records. No surprises for reckoning on Estudiantes being one of them, but it's Olimpo who are up there with them. Promoted last time around, they did OK in finishing fourth from bottom in the Apertura, the worst of the three promoted clubs, but ahead of implosion victims Independiente, Gimnasia and strugglers Huracán. And it was Gimnasia who copped it from them last weekend in La Plata. Federico Dominguez put Olimpo ahead moments into the second half, turning a flick-on from a corner in as he was left unmarked at the back post. Gimnasia equalised through Jorge Cordoba, but though they forced Laureano Tombolini in the Olimpo goal to do far more work, they couldn't find a way through. Olimpo could and went back in front with twenty minutes left as an audacious lob came back off the bar to Ezequiel Maggiolo. Gaston Sessa's red card a few minutes later left Gimnasia with ten and Olimpo sealed a fine win with Martin Rolla's free-kick. Quilmes made a rod for their own back against the champions by having Enzo Kalinski sent off for a second booking just half an hour into their game and Gabriel Mercado's lovely swivel and finish on the stroke of half time was enough as Estudiantes bounced back from a Libertadores thrashing in midweek.

Premier Sports viewers watched Boca get off the mark against Racing thanks to Pablo Mouche's goal early in the second half. Very route-one, he latched onto a long through ball, his first touch was good and his second dinked between the keeper's legs. That was enough despite Diego Rivera seeing red late on for a second caution. The other TV game saw a bit of an upset as Vélez went down at home to All Boys. Ariel Ortega came off the bench for the visitors late on for a debut, but Sebastian Grazzini was the hero with a goal in each half. His first, in the 25th minute, was a cracker from the edge of the box into the top corner after some neat approach play, but it was cancelled out ten minutes after half time by David Ramierz's towering header. Vélez were level for barely two minutes though as Grazzini struck, again from the edge of the box after a goalmouth scramble broke down and the ball found it's way to his feet. First time, no backlift - bang. The game ended badly for All Boys though as they finished with nine, Carlos Soto picking up a second yellow and a straight red for Emmanuel Gigliotti as all order broke down.

Newell's got their first win by beating ten-man Lanús on Sunday. They were ahead seconds after half time through Claudio Bieler's terrific shot on the turn and though Diego Valeri equalised for Lanús, they were reduced to ten shortly afterwards when Santiago Hoyos saw yellow a second time. Newell's seized their chance, Juan Cobelli latching onto some defensive hesitancy and firing in the winner with a couple of minutes left. A first win too for River Plate, against the hapless Huracán, with two quickfire second-half goals doing the damage. First, Erik Lamela started and finished the move that cut open the Huracán rearguard far too easily before slipping it through the keeper's legs and Paulo Ferrari's diving header followed soon after. Huracán are awful at the back. Awful. Arsenal got off the mark against Tigre, who didn't help themselves by having Roman Martinez sent off on the half hour. They were already one down by then - Lisandro Lopez looping a header over the keeper from a deep free-kick - and conceded a second late on when a corner was cleared only as far as Jorge Ortiz on the edge of the D and he rifled it into the bottom corner. Arsenal were dominant throughout, no matter how many Tigre had on the field.

San Lorenzo put their first mark in the W column by beating Godoy Cruz who are brought to earth with a bit of a bump after tubbing Boca in week 1. In a game of few chances, the difference was the ability of Los Azulgrana to convert theirs. Juan Carlos Menseguéz was played in by a wonderful Pablo Velazquez flick pass to open the scores just after the break and Nahuel Benitez made it two deep in stoppage time, a long punt from the keeper right onto his forehead and in. It doesn't get more route one than that.

No goals and not many chances between Argentinos and Independiente and a draw too for Banfield and Colón. Jorge Achucarro put Banfield ahead in the sixth minute after showing great strength to engineer space on the edge of the box for a shot, but they were pegged back on the stroke of half time by Esteban Fuertes who was allowed a free header from three yards out.

There are some tasty clashes next weekend, nowhere moreso than at the Bombonera where All Boys are the visitors. There's as-live delayed coverage of that one on Premier Sports on Monday at 1:15am for all you night-owls. Estudiantes roll gracefully onward at home to Banfield and fellow leaders Olimpo welcome Godoy Cruz to Bahia Blanca. The other TV game sees River Plate away at Independiente and that's live late on Sunday.

Colón v Gimnasia La Plata
Olimpo v Godoy Cruz
Lanús v Quilmes
San Lorenzo v Racing Club
Boca Juniors v All Boys full delayed coverage on Premier Sports TV, Monday Feb 28, 1:15am
Tigre v Newell's Old Boys
Estudiantes v Banfield
Argentinos Juniors v Vélez Sarsfield
Independiente v River Plate LIVE on Premier Sports TV, Sunday Feb 27, 23:15
Huracán v Arsenal

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