Nacional B weekend review: The lights go out on Crucero as Chacarita cruise to victory

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Darren Paul returns to bring us up to speed after another weekend’s action in the B Nacional….

Chacarita Juniors  1 – Juan González

Crucero del Norte  0

It was more of the same old Crucero de Norte on Friday night as they fell by a goal to nil to high flyers Chacarita Juniors. Kick off was delayed due to a power cut inside the ground, but that didn’t extinguish the home fan’s appetite for the fixture. Illuminated by phone light, supporters sang and danced with passion as they waited for power to return.

When the lights finally came on it revealed an away side in a truly awful kit. Orange and White horizontal striped shirt, white shorts and dull orange socks. The home fans behind the goal unfurled an incredible Tifo that stretched across most of the stand behind the goal.

Chacarita set up in a 4-3-3 with a very deep lying ‘5’ in central midfield, whereas the visitors set up 4-4-2. Chacarita came into Friday’s fixture fresh off a 2-0 away win against San Martin (T) lying in mid table having only played two fixtures. Crucero came into the game off a 2-1 home loss to Instituto and down the wrong end of the table.

The match started off a cagey affair with neither side taking a grip of the early exchanges with very few forays into either penalty area and no shots on goal in the opening 10 minutes from either side. Chacarita had their first chance when a goalmouth scramble was cleared without an attempt on goal. From the resulting goal kick Crucero launched a good counter attack and nearly scored, the slide of the forward attacking the ball taking it wide and the player hard into the post. A nasty looking knock, but he would recover.

Chacarita would have the next best effort, squandered by their 11 after a failed attempt at a clearance from a Crucero defense that looked for the taking. The next venture forward from Chacarita yielded a corner, that was wasted, but should have served as a warning to the Crucero bench and back four that they’d need to improve their play.

Chacarita’s ability to hold onto possession and string passes together and recycle possession after an attempt on goal was fantastic in the early going and this lead to their opener. Their first extended spell of possession and several attempts to create an opening lead to a corner. The corner was taken short to the near corner of the box and struck low and hard by defender Gonzalez. The ball sneaking through the bodies in the box and slipping in the near post of Arce, whose view was obviously obscured by the mass of shirts ahead of him. One nil to the hosts.

Chacarita were in the driving seat after the goal, but Crucero would have the next best chance to score. A ball from the wide area wreaked havoc in the Chacarito area but the Crucero’s 10 Molinas fluffed his lines, kicking the air as the ball bounced harmlessly behind him. Neither side would have many clear cut opportunities for the remainder of the half, as Chaca were able to hold on to the ball at will. Crucero on the other hand were their usual self, unable to string passes together with a porous defence.

Chacarita’s defenders were keeping Crucero at bay, but conceding free kicks in the process. They handled one potentially dangerous free kick but simply standing still as the Crucero forwards rushed into the area thus rendering them all offside. A simple trick not seen often enough.

It should have been a two goal lead at the stroke of halftime as Chacarita ended the period with a wonderful high paced attack complete with dummy passes, and a perfectly placed cross that was just missed by their on rushing captain, Rivero. That was the last action of a first half dominated by Chacarita, playing as an effective unit. Able to hold the ball and move it at will past the white and orange Crucero shirts, like they were training dummies. Crucero played as a collection of individuals, no one player with enough ability or presence to change the half in a meaningful way.

The second half started in much the same way as the first had ended, Chacarita working hard to create chances, and working equally hard to win back possession, through a very organised high press. It was the home side who had the first chance of the second half, a lofted shot from just inside the area taking a deflection which sent it into the side netting. Another warning shot, unheeded by the Crucero defenders.

Crucero del Norte, somewhat incredibly, were able to get some form of foothold in the game in the middle of the half. The visitors would start linking together passes and launching attacks down the wing, but they were met in the area by composed defenders and rarely by the target of their crosses.

Ignacio Arce, not for the first time this season, was Crucero’s best player. A commanding presence on crosses, a big clearing punch of his kick started one of their best opportunities of the match. A long ball down field, allowed to bounce by the Chacarita centre-back, the moment of good fortune was not capitalised upon as defenders were able to track back and snuff out the dangerous counter attack before it properly started. The home side started taking chances at the back, a severely under hit backpass from Lazarate, the full back, had stopper Fernandez sprinting back towards his own net, and barely able to clear the ball for a throw in before he was enveloped by attacking players.

After this scare, the home side began to invite more pressure as their concentration seemed to slip defensively mid way through the period, allowing balls over the top to bounce and more risky passing to and from their goalkeeper gave the visitors clear hope. Crucero were beginning to look a threat on the counter, as a quick thrown in proved, as Vera sprinted in on goal, only to undo his good work and foul the defender who had caught him up and challenge him.

Arce, once again, came the rescue of Crucero late in the game, with a diving challenge on a Chacarita forward as a cross placed along the ground was there for the keeper to clear. Arce then put on the burners as he popped up to his feet and sprinted out the area to clear the ball downfield. The ball eventually came back in and the shot from close range was blocked by the feet of one his defenders as Arce was getting back into position. A big let off, when the most sensible thing to do would have been to find touch.

Chacarita were still pressing for the killer blow late on in the fixture. It nearly arrived as a corner ball landed at the feet of midfielder Mellado. The number 5’s effort going just over the bar from about 12 yards out. They were nearly punished for the miss as substitute midfielder Ostrowski hit the post with an audacious chip crafted from nothing, from 25 yards out. Crucero had moved the ball quickly up the pitch, but it looked like the chance was gone, before the ball was played to Ostrowski who curled the ball beautifully, past a stranded Fernandez, onto the upright.

It was the last real chance for either side as the hosts controlled the final moments and the 5 minutes added time for a well deserved 3 points, that would take them third and would drop Crucero to the bottom of the league.

For 75 minutes Chacarita Jrs were a class above Crucero. The crisp one touch moves, their ability to string passes together, to keep possession and make several attempts out of one possession were fantastic to watch. Chacarita on this viewing, against an admittedly poor opposition, should fear nobody in this league this season, as they will surely be in full belief that this is their year for promotion. The prospect of fixtures with Argentinos Jrs, Ferro and Rivadavia are mouthwatering.

Those same fixtures for Crucero will be a sobering prospect as they still look for their first win of the year and, perhaps more importantly, their first cohesive performance of the campaign. For Crucero, a collection of individuals, one player’s moment of brilliance or good fortune is immediately undone by a “team mate’s” moment of wastefulness. A sloppy foul, failing to get back on side and lack of passing options are just three things that held back Crucero Friday. This being said, they started to make things happen late on in the game, and on another night could have taken at least a point.

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Ferro find new ways to drop points

Ferro were held to a one all draw away to ten man Santamarina Tandil on Saturday afternoon, conceding an own goal a minute into the second half. Ferro took the lead midway through the first half from a well worked corner routine that met the head of Gonzalo Castillejos to put away his fourth goal in four games.

Things got better for Ferro as former River Plate defender Martin Aguirre was shown a straight red on the brink of half time. Aguirre and Bay tangled as the full back Bay attacked down the left flank. Whilst on the ground Aguirre lashed out and elbowed Bay in the face resulting in a immediate dismissal. Aguirre’s conduct following the sending off was disgraceful, getting in the referee’s face and having several teammates having to pull him away. The veteran has let his club down hugely, and his reaction as well as the incident itself could lead to a lengthy ban for the defender.

Santamarina scored the equaliser a minute into the second half after a ball over the top of the back four was turned on goal as an underpressure Hernan Grana tried to clear behind, instead putting it past the onrushing Requena.

Both sides had excellent chances to find the winner in the second half, especially Ferro, who were dominant with the man advantage and attacked with venom down the flanks. This result leaves Ferro in fourth and Santamarina in 6th, at this early stage both sides should be happy with their current standing.

The remainder of the results in the third round

Gimnasia de Jujuy 2 – 1 Atletico Parana
Los Andes 1 – 1 Brown de Adrogue
Argentinos P – P Douglas Haig
Nuevas Chicago P – P Dalmine
Flandria 1 – 2 All Boys
Boca Unidos 2 – 0 Central Cordoba
Ind Rivadavia 0 – 0 Almagro
Instituto 1 – 2 Sportivo Estudiantes
Juventud Unida 1 – 0 Guillermo Brown

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Darren Paul is a UK based fan of Racing Club, most frequently found waxing lyrical about the first touch of Luciano Aued on a Saturday night. Fan of all tiers, all genders, all forms of the Argentine domestic game.

You can follow Darren on Twitter here www.twitter.com/auedstouch
He also does English commentary on various Argentine matches here www.rabble.tv/users/dfoulkes34/profile
And there is a youtube channel where he discusses the latest Racing news here youtube.com/auedstouch

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