Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
Much like rules and any window in the vicinity of a school playground, records are there to be broken, and round 17 of the Clausura saw two new records established.
First up were Boca and Independiente, who resumed play for the second half of their clásico a lazy 24 minutes after the first half had ended.
While this particular record can perhaps be blamed on absent-mindedness, the 20 (yes, twenty) minutes time added on in the Chacarita-Estudiantes clash – also another record - cannot.
And given the way in which it took place, it is not just another stat for the anoraks amongst us, but the weekend’s main talking point.
Everything else - from Racing’s fourth consecutive win to (almost) guarantee safety, to Martin Palermo’s impossible header, to Mouche’s ridiculous goal-and-red-card after coming on as a sub, to Banfield-Huracán kicking off at 11 on Sunday morning, to Pablo Migliore trying to break Ismael Sosa’s legs outside the box and then recriminating the striker for celebrating after scoring to keep Argentinos in the title race, to Central derailing Godoy Cruz’s title challenge in time added on – was by the bye.
Rather than extended bouts of time-wasting, feigning injury, prolonged substitutions and arguing with the ref, there was a different reason altogether that the second half between the Undertakers and the Students lasted over an hour.
That reason was a hose pipe.
Lisandro López (Chacarita’s 20 year old centre-back, not Lyon’s free-scoring striker) was given his marching orders on the half hour mark. Despite his best efforts to move his arm out of the ball’s way and watch Gastón ‘The Cat’ Fernández’s shot go wide, there was contact. The match referee awarded a penalty, ignoring the word ‘deliberate’ in Law 12, and sent López off to boot.
“It showed that Estudiantes had to win this game,” said the conspiratorially-minded defender afterwards.
López would soon be joined in his suspicions by Estudiantes old boy and legend José Luis Calderón. Just a few months shy of his 40th birthday, Calderón should be thinking about putting his feet up without a pair of boots in sight, but instead he is still doing the business up front for Argentinos Juniors – the side who happen to be the only team within spitting distance of Estudiantes in the title run in. ‘If they keep giving Estudiantes penalties,’ said Calderón, ‘they’ll be champions.’
Back to Sunday’s game, the penalty allowed the Students to draw level and ultimately take the win, but the spot kick unleashed the fury of the most furious set of fans around.
The first half stopped for eight minutes after ‘supporters’ threw various objects at hand onto the pitch. One such object looked suspiciously like a metre length of guttering.
These scenes, which usually provoke justified censure in the media, then veered from outright violence to comedy in the second half.
Somehow the Chacarita fans managed to get a hold of the fire brigade’s hose.
An almighty tug of war ensued – the ‘fans’ versus the firemen – but within seconds it was clear that it wasn’t going to be the men in yellow hats’ day. The hose ended up in the custody of the ‘supporters’.
Having had their cake, they then proceeded to eat it, opening the valve and spraying the police and the firemen in front of them. The hose, that at first had been pointed at the cheated and angry ‘fans’ to ‘cool down’ the atmosphere after the penalty decision, was now directed back at them.
By this stage, there were several red faces under the yellow hats.
The absurd situation and tug of war dominated the news from the weekend. This blog had hoped to analyse the merits of both camps in a battle that sprung up between Juan Sebastián Verón and River’s coach Ángel Cappa from the previous weekend. The old Menotti vs Bilardo, purist vs. resultadista argument was up and running again.
Estudiantes had scored a ‘lucky’ goal and played bad football against River, said Cappa, a man who should be quiet, according to Verón, as ‘he has won nothing.’
The argument between Verón and Cappa delved into the arena of a personal attack. But after seeing River beat Vélez at the weekend with such flair, comparing Cappa’s style with Estudiantes table-topping football seemed a fair subject to write about.
The Undertakers put paid to that. The circus took over. Analyzing the Pincha on a game in which the fire brigade were robbed and where they played an hour against a side, already relegated, with ten men, is impossible.
Given that Estudiantes are marching confidently on to win their fifth league title win, hopefully there’ll be the opportunity to talk about football, rather than hose pipes, in a week or two’s time.
ResultsArsenal 0-2 Newell’sGimnasia 0-0 LanúsTigre 1-2 RacingCentral 1-0 Godoy CruzRiver 2-1 VélezBanfield 1-0 HuracánColón 0-0 Atlético TucumánSan Lorenzo 1-2 ArgentinosChacaritca 1-2 EstudiantesIndpendiente 2-3 Boca
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