Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
Given that neither Arsenal nor Huracán are the most widely supported team in Argentina, let alone amongst the blog-reading gringos out there, this weekend’s round-up leaves the last game of the ‘weekend’ out.
Nobody will kick up too much of a fuss…
Here are the talking points from the 90% completed round 13:
Central – A man down after just 26 minutes, Che Guevara’s team pulled out the guerrilla tactics and held on to scrape a point against Argentinos - a point that makes the difference between safety and facing the relegation play-off for the boys from Rosario.
Independiente – Two games at the brand new Libertadores stadium, two wins for Independiente. So far so good. Shame there’s no running water at the stadium yet, but that’s for those wanting to wash their hands to worry about. Results. That’s what the armchair supporters care about. Not clean hands.
Chacarita – Back in the day, Fernando Gamboa looked more like an extra off the set of Point Break than a championship-winning defender. Now in charge of Chacarita, he’ll have put any title-winning aspirations on hold, but can take pride from masterminding the club’s first away win of the season against Lanús. It also explains why Negro will join Maradona’s coaching staff at the World Cup.
Racing – Claudio Vivas was told to give up hope of making it as a professional keeper as he didn’t have the talent. The man who told him that also took him under his wing, and so it is that thanks to Marcelo Bielsa, Vivas turned his hand to coaching. Racing fans may be cursing Bielsa now. A disastrous spell at Argentinos Juniors conveniently forgotten about, Vivas took over at Racing last week. Twelve minutes into his debut his side were 2-0 down, making the final 3-1 defeat seem like a reasonably good result.
Newell’s – Won their fifth on the trot equalling a club record and keep them on course in the title challenge. That said, they were only playing River, so winning was never in any doubt.
Tigre – Only Atlético Tucumán, who put four past them on Saturday, have a worse defensive record than the Tiger. Thirty-two goals conceded and five points won in 13 games = rock bottom of the table.
Banfield – Another clean sheet, another goal from a Uruguayan striker, another win… Looking at Banfield this season, you wouldn’t think that their leading challenger for the title Most Recent Moment Of Glory came in 2001 – in the second division.
Estudiantes – The men from La Plata were supposedly focusing on the World Club Championship this season, but trouncing Vélez keeps them in the hunt for the title. Braña finished off a 17-pass move will have made Pep Guardiola make note of who his Barcelona will have to beat in Abu Dhabi.
Boca – Before Boca-supporting gringos start laughing at River Plate – who are virtually out of the Libertadores next year – they'd better take a look at themselves. They're also virtually out of the Libertadores next year. With 18 points to play for, the Millionaires are 13 points from qualification to the South American Champions’ League – but Boca are 10 points off the pace, too.
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As someone who had the dubious pleasure of going to Huracán-Arsenal de Sarandi this monday I can complete the list. Freezing cold, pouring rain, no roof, fairly average game. 1-1 after Arsenal equalised with the last kick of the game, sending all fifty of their supporters wild with excitement! But good round up, as a paid up member of La Academia Racing's toils upset me so, not to mention my mate Lucho who made a 2400km round trip to watch them lose on Saturday!
Suerte, Dan, www.theargentimes.com/.../a-weeks-a-long-time-in-futbol-fecha-13-
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