In a bid to wrap up the Torneo Final early prior to the World Cup there has been a midweek round of fixtures in the Primera Division. Estudiantes continue to lead the way, Boca’s crisis deepens while Colon and Godoy Cruz start winning and making a fist of the relegation battle. To read/watch all about it continue here or to listen to an audio version visit the wonderful Hand of Pod….
Olimpo 0 – 2 Arsenal
Arsenal have not had the most auspicious start to the season with back to back league defeats sandwiched either side of a opening Libertadores loss. A visit to Bahia Blanca to meet the in-form Olimpo represents one of the more difficult fixtures in the Primera and so there was a degree of pressure on Gustavo Alfaro’s side.
Those fears it appears were misguided as Arsenal once again proved what a good side they are and perhaps brought Olimpo back down to earth. Julio Furch gave Arsenal the lead just before the break when he finished off a brisk passing move and minutes from full time, another break resulted in Ramiro Carrera smashing in the second.
This should be the starting point for Arsenal’s season but they must find the way to juggle their Libertadores commitments if they are to mount a challenge. Olimpo must now bounce back from this defeat and despite still being susceptible to the threat of relegation, their usually strong home form should provide enough points to remain safe.
Velez Sarsfield 3 – 0 All Boys
The league’s top scorers so far, Velez are beginning to look dangerous particularly as Mauro Zárate’s influence continues to grow. It was Zárate who opened the scoring in Liniers against All Boys and just after half time, his layoff to Jorge Correa to rifle a shot into the bottom corner from outside the box. All Boys were never really a threat and so it came as no surprise when Ramiro Cáseres added a third.
All Boys have picked up a solitary point so far and are beginning to look slightly doomed as they get sucked deeper in the relegation mire. They remain outside the drop zone for now but with it being difficult to see where their points are coming from and those around them starting to win, this could change quickly.
Racing Club 0 – 1 Tigre
Depending on your standpoint, Racing were dreadfully unlucky to lose a game they dominated or Tigre snatched a well executed, defensive win in Avellaneda.
The fact was Tigre took an early lead benefiting from some awful Racing defending which allowed Ignacio Canuto to volley in from close range and from then on Racing pushed and pushed but without joy.
With Tigre getting back in numbers, Racing did not have the invention to break them down and when they did they found the usually calamitous Javier García in inspired form. Four clean sheets in a row for García is a career best but I have a feeling it won’t be too long before he reverts back to form. For an excellent tactical breakdown see Rob Brown’s piece here….
Quilmes 0 – 2 Colon
A real relegation six pointer and an indication to new Quilmes manager, Caruso Lombardi just what a job he has on his hands. Colon had not won in an age before last weekend’s win over Argentinos Juniors but they managed to repeat the feat in spectacular fashion in Quilmes.
Gabriel Graciani blasted Colon in front with the goal of the round. From a position more suitable for crossing, Graciani unleashed an unbelievable strike that left Sebastián Peratta motionless. Minutes later, Lucas Landa nodded in a second and Colon held on for a valuable victory.
Having previously looked dead and buried, Colon are now showing signs of life. Caruso must improve the fortunes of Quilmes fast as with 3 straight defeats to start the season they find themselves slipping towards danger.
Argentinos Juniors 0 – 2 San Lorenzo
Following the weekend’s win over Racing, champions, San Lorenzo are now up and running. A dominant performance over albeit a poor Argentinos suggests El Ciclon will be the team to beat once again.
Angel Correa showed good awareness to square the ball for Leandro Romagnoli to roll the ball in and give San Lorenzo the lead and he repeated the act in the second half, this time pulling the ball back for Mauro Matos to curl in his first for San Lorenzo. With Blandi and Matos now among the goals and Cauteruccio still to return, El Ciclon have plenty of options up front.
Estudiantes 2 – 1 Lanus
It would be a surprise if Estudiantes maintain their current run but regardless they have started the Torneo Final impressively. Not the most attractive side, Mauricio Pellegrino has created a solid team who concede very few goals and in Guido Carrillo, a striker who can find the net.
Carrillo’s brace was enough to defeat Lanus in La Plata and keep them on top of the league. The first a scrappy close range effort was cancelled out eventually by Santiago Silva in spite of Geronimo Rulli’s efforts but even with 10 men after Jonathan Silva’s red card, Estudiantes claimed all 3 points. Carrillo’s second half penalty was enough to see of Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side, who have started the season poorly.
River Plate 1 – 2 Godoy Cruz
River are showing far more attacking intent this Torneo Final but are still finding goals hard to come by and their failure to score more than one was punished on Wednesday night in El Monumental.
Fernando Cavanaghi gave River an early lead with a simple finish from Carlos Carbonero’s assist but the lead didn’t last long as Leandro Grimi equalised minutes later.
The second half was affected by some dubious refereeing decisions. Firstly, River defender, Eder Alvarez Balanta was shown a very harsh second yellow card and then Godoy Cruz were denied a legitimate second for offside. Undeterred by this Godoy Cruz pushed on and in injury time, Julio César Rodríguez snatched the winner. As the players celebrated Grimi was struck by a piece of wood hurled from the stands and so we wait to learn what AFA will do with River. With so many clubs already punished with matches played behind closed doors it would seem logical that at the very least River will be hit with the same sanctions. However, where AFA and River are involved perhaps it is foolish to suggest logic will be used.
Belgrano 1 – 1 Newell’s Old Boys
One for the purists in Belgrano, as Newell’s continue to pass the ball around for fun with no suggestion that they will actually shoot.
Maxi Rodriguez was completely pole-axed by Juan Carlos Olave midway through the second half but recovered to take the resulting spot kick and not only give Newell’s the lead but register the only shot on target in this match.
The lack of goal scorers in the Newell’s side is proving to be a real issue but Maxi’s solitary goal would have been enough had it not been for a comedy own goal by Gabriel Heinze. The former Manchester United defender expertly headed the ball into his own net to give Belgrano a share of the points and extend their unbeaten run to six.
Rosario Central 3 – 1 Gimnasia La Plata
A closer game than the scoreline suggests, Central managed to claim all the points against Gimnasia despite falling behind early to Ariel García’s smart finish.
Alejandro Donatti’s powerful header brought the home side level before Federico Carrizo’s fine curling strike from outside the box gave them the lead. With minutes remaining, Walter Acuña added a third to ensure Central remain in the group at the top who are undefeated.
Atletico Rafaela 1 – 0 Boca Juniors
Due to the nature of Argentine football this victory over Boca Juniors is still a major event for Rafaela but in truth was completely expected. Boca Juniors, minus Juan Roman Riquelme look dreadful and so Rodrigo Erramuspe’s headed winner was completely deserved.
Undoubtedly, Boca and Carlos Bianchi are now under real pressure, after a summer of defeats and now a winless start to the season, the decision to build a side around the fragile body of Riquelme is looking like a huge error. To everyone outside La Bombonera this seems obvious but the short sightedness to persevere with their legendary number 10 is now costing them. It is understood that he may return to the bench for this weekend’s match with Estudiantes even if he is fit to play for 5 minutes. Desperate times for Boca.