Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
For those with long memories and limited powers of forgiveness, news that this weekend’s round of fixtures in Argentina was overshadowed by three handballs will come as no surprise. All those and more in the Round 11 round up…
At the age of 37, Esteban ‘Bichi’ Fuertes is still finding the net in top flight. As just about the whole of Santa Fe and indeed the rest of the country could see via TV, however, the Colón striker needed a little helper this weekend to get his fill. Were it not for his outstretched muscly right arm, the ball would not have fallen for him to finish in some style to give his side an early lead over Estudiantes. The most important person at that time failed to see, or punish, the use of the arm and the goal stood.
When Martín Palermo finally decides to call it a day, his oeuvre will stand as a testament to the full repertoire that any goalscorer should aspire to. It’s neither here nor there whether he missed a few penalties for Argentina, or whether he ‘looks’ good or not, the Titán, the Loco, has scored 228 goals for Boca, from all angles and with just about every body part. His 228th came this Sunday, against Huracán - a stunning 180-degree turn on the edge of the box. The problem was that as he controlled the ball with his back to goal, it hit his hand and landed perfectly for him to turn and hit. Huracán were understandably furious, but the rules say handball must be deliberate, which it wasn’t.
This one wasn’t actually a handball, but was still given. Having twice thrown away the lead at Godoy Cruz, River Plate’s second half subs Ariel Ortega and Gabriel Funes Mori combined to score a late third. It would have been the winner, it would have brought to an end the four games without a win. But it didn’t stand. While Funes Mori appeared to try to use his hand to control Ortega’s pass with his outstretched arm, he failed. ‘I controlled it with the badge,’ he said afterwards. The referee, who couldn’t have possibly seen how the striker controlled the ball because of his positioning, blew up all the same.
The Gio Factor
The Crouch/Riquelme/Guti of Avellaneda, who goes by the name of Gio Moreno, returned to his stomping ground at the weekend. The Colombian returned from international duty and duly turned the game against Argentinos around, with a perfect freekick and cool finish to win the points for Racing. Having lost the clásico with Independiente, Racing ‘fans’ intimidated the players during the week, and after not applauding the supporters after this win, the player-fan relationship isn’t exactly at its highest ebb right now, but one man will be forgiven.
Goal of the weekend
To look at Santiago Silva you’d think his nickname would be El Loco. He plays like a possessed madman, and has the shaved head and build to go with it. But Uruguayan is, in fact, The Tank. Yet there was no brute force in his scooped lob at the weekend against Quilmes, just pure class.
Result of the weekend
Newly-promoted sides usually have to get on with it and accept their fate in top flight, which is to be the whipping boys and go straight back down. All Boys, however, are carving out a reputation as the giant killers. At the weekend Independiente joined Boca and Estudiantes as victims to the plucky upstarts. Having lost to Racing, they can’t claim a full house of the Big Five, but they look set to stay up and do so with a few famous scalps in the process.
River Relegation Watch: Huracán, Gimnasia and Tigre all lost, but River’s winner was ruled out, meaning the Millionaires only clawed back a single point on their relegation rivals. Four points from safety.
Quilmes Win Watch: The Brewers remain winless after their defeat to Vélez - that’s 11 games without a win, and unsurprisingly at the weekend they were coachless. Hugo Tocalli stepped down, and Leonardo Madelón, no stranger to relegation scraps, is set to take over.
RESULTS San Lorenzo 2-0 Tigre, Quilmes 0-2 Vélez, Gimnasia 2-3 Arsenal, All Boys 3-1 Independiente, Colón 1-1 Estudiantes, Banfield 0-0 Newell’s, Olimpo 1-0 Lanús, Boca 2-0 Huracán, Racing 2-1 Argentinos, Godoy Cruz 2-2 River Plate.
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