Our man for the Nacional B, Darren Paul returns to provide an update on life outside the Superliga…
Round eight is in the books and round nine is on the horizon in the Argentine Second Division and it is lead by Villa Dálmine for the first time this season.
Villa Dálmine had to wait until Sunday evening before taking the top spot of the table from Agropecuario, in a weekend that saw 29 goals across the 12 games.
Friday night kicked off the weekend with two draws, Atlético de Rafaela drawing one each at home to Almagro, with Jorge Velazquez’s 51st minute effort cancelling out Alan Bonansea’s 23rd minute opener. Almagro ended the game with nine men thanks to a straight red card for Matías Di Benedetto and a second yellow 11 minutes from time for their goalscorer. The result keeps both clubs in the playoff positions separated by one point but four positions.
The second game of the night was a goalless tie between strugglers Independiente Rivadavia and the promotion hopefuls Guillermo Brown. Brown are still up in fourth spot whilst Rivadavia are two spots above the relegation places in the Promedios desperately needing some wins.
Saturday added three more draws but plenty of goals and action. Aldosivi hosted Flandria in an exciting two-two tie at the home of El Tiburón, which saw the visitors twice pull the game level thanks to Sebastián Matos after goals from Arnaldo González. González got the opener in the second minute after a tremendous low strike from the edge of the area before Matos levelled in spectacular style with a low free kick in the 41st. Aldosivi took a second lead which would last just three minutes from the spot but once again Matos was on hand with a terrific header from a corner to take home a well earned point. Flandria remain entrenched in the relegation zone in the Promedios and are 24th in the league whilst Aldosivi are in the playoff places up in seventh.
Quilmes tied one-one with Nueva Chicago with Felipe Cadenazzi’s 37th minute penalty being being matched by Federico Fattori seven minutes into the second half, a point which keeps the hosts in the playoffs and Nueva Chicago just one spot and only goal difference from the playoffs.
Saturday’s final game was one of the games of the weekend with a back and forth three-three draw featuring six different scorers and two penalties. Deportivo Santamarina took a 29th minute lead away to Sarmiento from a very well taken penalty by Martin Michel, grabbing his fifth goal of the season. The tie was level nine minutes later Nicolas Rinaldi scored an outrageously beautiful looping volleying from the edge of the area as a corner wasn’t cleared properly by the Santamarina defenders, a higher quality finish you’ll struggle to see this year.
Patricio Vidal gave Sarmiento their first lead in the fifth minute of the second half after nice link up play from Miracco and Garnier sent Vidal on goal to round the keeper and slot home a simple finish. Brian Guille would make the tie level once again from the spot with an equally well taken strike as Michel took in the first half just after the hour mark. An absolute howler from Santamarina’s goalkeeper, Joaquin Papaleo, gifted the lead just eight minutes from time back to the hosts as he fumbled Gonzalo Bazan’s speculative effort from distance into the net. The stopper’s blushes were saved one minute into time added on thanks to late substitute Brian Perez’s header after some great individual play from Guille and a looped cross wasn’t dealt with by the exhausted hosts.
A thrilling contest has kept the two sides roughly where they started prior to kick with Sarmiento second bottom of the promedios and Santamarina comfortably mid table in the league picture. Sarmiento only need to pick up a few wins to improve their current standing whilst Santamarina are in a very healthy spot near the top of the three year long table.
The bulk of the fixtures of the weekend were played on a Sunday which featured three draws and 14 goals. Gimnasia and Riestra, Mitre and Juventud Unida played out goalless ties whilst Ferro and Brown de Adrogue were honours even at two-two sharing a penalty each.
The top of the table was also handled on Sunday. Villa Dálmine kicked off the day with a very solid two-one win over Estudiantes de San Luis thanks to a sixth minute goal from Pablo Burzio and a 27th minute goal from Nicolas Sanchez. Brian Cuello got a consolation goal in the 73rd minute for the visitors but that was all they got as Dalmine took top spot and eyes turned to events between All Boys and Agropecuario, the early season form side.
All Boys have struggled for consistency this season, and their last five games have ended in two losses, two wins and a draw with no same result two weeks on the spin. The inconsistency continued with a four-nil thrashing of the league’s form side and then league leaders Agropecuario. Facundo Castro’s diving header gave a 29th minute opener for the hosts which was doubled seven minutes later through a Matias Sandoval effort, hammering home a low cross at the back post. Martin Gimenez, in the 72nd minute, threw his body at a low cross at close range to add a third goal before Castro doubled his tally in the 90th minute with a well hit placed strike to the bottom corner after an abysmal Agropecuario defence failed to clear the ball.
Agropecuario have only themselves to blame for a humiliating defeat, through a complete inability to defend the simplest of plays and to protect their goalkeeper German Salort, who can take absolutely no criticism for any of the goals. Jose Bianco, Agropecuario’s manager, will have his work cut out to correct his team’s defence lapses which cost them top spot in the table before they host Mitre on Saturday afternoon.
The final game on Sunday saw Boca Unidos beaten two goals to one at home to San Martin de Tucuman, despite having taken a lead on the half hour mark thanks to Osmar Ferreyra. Sergio Gonzalez levelled in the 52nd minute and the points were earned by Juan Galeano in the 85th minute to give Boca their fourth defeat of the season whilst San Martin move to within one point of the playoffs. Boca Unidos ended the round as they started it, in the relegation zone and needing to get some wins to secure their future in the Nacional B.
Last night, Thursday, saw the final tie of the round played between Deportivo Morón and Instituto. The visitors took a 17th minute lead thanks to Guido Mainero and held it for the rest of the game to give Instituto their third win this season and within touching distance of the playoff positions.
The games to look out for in Round nine are Guillermo Brown hosting Aldosivi on Sunday afternoon as well as San Martín de Tucumán against Quilmes which has the potential to be a fantastic encounter. Ferro will have the weekend off and will hoping the rest can kick start their promotion push and inject some consistency into their football.