A hectic month of Argentine football has seen the Primera División pass the halfway mark, witnessed several managerial changes, a couple of hefty clásicos, the Copa Libertadores really heat up and the national side return to World Cup qualification duty. Golazo takes a quick look back over March and as always make the difficult decisions over the Manager, Player, Team and Goal of the month.
The often cut-throat world of coaching in Argentina claimed a further handful of victims this month taking the tally of clubs that have changed managers just eight games into the season to NINE. The big one obviously being Boca’s decision to replace double winner Rodolfo Arruabarrena with club icon Guillermo Barros Schelotto but that aside there was a reunion between Banfield and the gargoyle-esque Julio César Falcioni; Gimnasia called time on Pedro Troglio’s tenure replacing him with former Tigre boss Gustavo Alfaro and so Troglio popped up a week later with Tigre after they dismissed Italian World Cup winner Mauro Camoranesi; Newell’s ran out of patience with Lucas Bernardi and took Olimpo boss Diego Osella leaving the Bahía Blanca club to appoint ex-player Cristian Díaz; Argentinos Juniors and Atlético Rafaela also thought a change in management might bring improvements (it hasn’t) and Sarmiento opted to bring street fighting man, Ricardo ‘Caruso’ Lombardi back to the Primera (The fiery journeyman has not disappointed, already brawling with barra bravas at a petrol station).
Barros Schelotto’s first Primera game in charge happened to be the superclásico but intent on avoiding defeat Boca appeared pretty content with a point and thanks to River’s wasteful finishing left the Monumental with just that after a stupefying goalless draw. And while this fierce Argentine derby was GBS’ first as Boca coach, the clásico Platense proved to be Pedro Troglio’s last as Gimnasia boss. El Lobo’s recent record against Estudiantes is woeful and another humiliating defeat prompted the axe to fall on Troglio.
Away from the Primera, Argentina clubs are finding this year’s Copa Libertadores tough but at least four from the six participants should still qualify for the knockout stages. River, Central and Racing are all well placed in their groups, Boca and Huracán are still in control of their own fates while San Lorenzo require a result from their next trip to México.
And finally, Argentina have their World Cup qualification back on track after victories over Chile and Bolivia. Neither were the types of performance to send a warning sign to the rest of the continent but it does put Gerardo Martino’s side back in the automatic qualifying spots and looking ahead now to a busy summer of Copa América and Olympic football action.
That was March and this is the Golazo Argentino awards….
Manager of the Month
Following the bus crash in Venezuela that left several first team players injured, Huracán were looking in real trouble as they sat rooted to the bottom of the descenso table and with a squad that looked ill-equipped with dealing with the strains of the Primera and the Copa Libertadores. With three league matches postponed while the squad recovered March has seen El Globo play six times rather than three but manager Eduardo Domínguez has overseen a remarkable turnaround. Five wins and a draw in March has seen Huracán go from relegation candidates to title contenders. Built on a solid defence that conceded only three goals from the six games and spearheaded by the goals of Ramón ‘Wanchope’ Ábila, El Globo look in far better shape than they did some weeks ago.
Team of the Month
Player of the Month
With the international break in the middle of the month, most Primera sides were restricted to just three games but Huracán were forced to play catch up and over the course of their impressive five victories and a draw, the club’s iconic number nine stood out. Six goals in March for Wanchope, including a hat-trick against Temperley has put the powerful striker just one behind Fabián Bordagaray in the race for the league’s leading scorer. Ábila can be a bit hit and miss but almost certainly when Huracán enjoy success it is when their centre forward is on his game.
Goal of the month
As much as I would like to edit together a goal of the month video, Youtube often delete them so I won’t bother. Instead, here are FIVE to choose from….
A) Damián Musto – ROSARIO CENTRAL v Banfield
B) Miguel Almirón – Racing v LANÚS
C) Joel Amoroso – OLIMPO v Belgrano
D) Marco Ruben – ROSARIO CENTRAL v Sarmiento
E) Lucas Janson – TIGRE v Newell’s Old Boys
…And miss of the month goes to
Daniel Imperiale of Quilmes for this stellar air shot against Vélez.