BUENOS AIRES - Gifted teenage playmaker
Erik Lamela, who might have followed Lionel Messi to Barcelona
as a young exile, inspired River Plate to a 2-0 home win over
Huracan in the Argentine championship on Sunday.
Lamela created and scored the opening goal in the 50th
minute and started the move that led to the second nine minutes
later as River took their tally to four points from two matches
in the Clausura championship.
The 18-year-old was at the heart of River's best moves,
lighting up a match that seldom rose above the mediocre as both
teams attempted to improve poor relegation averages.
Lamela, who has cemented his place in the side in the
2010/11 season after a 2009 debut, twice linked up with burly
striker Mariano Pavone for the goals.
Having started the move for the opener, he took a square
pass on the left from Pavone and chipped the ball exquisitely
over advancing goalkeeper Gaston Monzon for his first goal at
River's Monumental stadium and third in 17 matches all told.
Nine minutes later, Lamela found a gap in the defence to
pass to Pavone on the right and the striker crossed for Paulo
Ferrari, who had made a diagonal run from his right back
position, to head home at the left post.
Seven years ago River, who had allowed Messi to slip through
their grasp, agreed with the then 12-year-old Lamela's parents
to pay him a monthly wage to stay and develop at the club rather
than take up an offer to move to Barcelona.
River's arch-rivals Boca Juniors, tipped as title
favourites, have three points after a 1-0 away win at Racing
Club on Saturday helped them recover from the shock of a 4-1
defeat by Godoy Cruz at home last weekend.
Title holders Estudiantes, who won the Apertura championship
in the first half of the season, are one of two teams on as
maximum six points after their 1-0 win over Quilmes on Sunday.
Olimpo have also won their two matches while Godoy Cruz can
join them with a victory over San Lorenzo on Monday.
Velez Sarsfield, runners-up to Estudiantes in December, were
shocked 2-1 at home by modest All Boys, who had two players sent
off in the final two minutes for fouls on playmaker Maxi
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